Sometimes you can experience things and be far from expert on them. Sometimes you may be part of something, but it is never really you. That isn’t to say you don’t have something of value to add to the mix, but it can be disconcerting.
I feel this way as I think about this blog, what to write, what I promised to write, things like that. I want to continue the SAHM subject, but I have to have some disclaimers. I am not your everyday person- I am a little odd, and sort of misfit. Not in a weird stay-away-from-me sort of way, but misfit just the same. I am as surprised as anyone by the fact that I’ve been the homeschooling, homebirthing, mom of ten, upstanding citizen sort of person that I have been.
Sure, I took belly dance lessons, sashayed into pagan forums and pushed the Virtuous Christian Woman envelope… but I live a close to home and pretty ordinary type of life. And I am an older woman, older with children. I used to laugh when my husband worried that I’d run off with someone from the internet. Yeh, …here’s my personal ad: mother of ten children-five still at home, likes to homeschool and get dirty in the garden, often exhausted at the end of the day- but may be able to work you in. He doesn’t worry anymore, he just read too many of those silly magazine expose’s at some dentist appointment or something.
All that to say: I am no poster mom.
Oh well here goes…. This SAHM
There are lots of good sites and books on the subject of “why you should stay at home with your children” or something along those lines. I just have a few things that I feel are really important: for children and mothering there is the question of time.
Oh I know that it is old to view the quality vs. quantity thing, but anyone who is familiar with children knows that much of what a child needs and much of what one gives them involves lots of time. It takes time to get to know the personalities, and it takes time to adjust if they are very different in their approach to the universe than their parent, you.
This need is exacerbated by our culture which leaves young women clueless as to what one should expect from a child. They aren’t little aliens or dear little pets. Children grow through a pattern of development and it helps to have some familiarity with the different age groups. This isn’t something easy to acquire in a peer oriented environment with most families too small to provide much else.
Not so many teens even baby-sit anymore, although that is nothing like fulltime motherhood. So it can be a steep learning curve when one has a child.
And often the SAHM mom is isolated. Some have groups of contemporaries doing the same thing, but you tend to be on your own.
When you are home with more than one small child, getting out can be a major production, carving time out for personal interests is challenging, and the swipes from both the well-meaning and the snide can be a little hard to take.
But these things are very temporary, it takes a new point of view, a sense of the importance of the job at hand, and creative sense of making one ‘s own life, rather than living up to lots of hyped ads on what makes life worthwhile.
Because most of that is bunk. That is one of the great difficulties for someone in our culture- to break free from the hype of what life even is supposed to be like. It is like we never learn. Or we do, but so late.
The play, The Death of A Salesman, was a powerful illustration of the emptiness of the carrot on a stick scramble for material success and the value that was promised for the loyal, talented, hard worker. Do you hear any bells ringing anywhere? Any deja-vu like mirage on the horizon?
And that was written in a more idealistic time. When the fast lane life is passing you by, is it what it seems? Or is it a carrousel that you are seated within, all the much ado of the flash and mirrors amounting to lots of nothing- in the stretch of a lifetime.
There are lots of types of Stay at Home Mothers, but they all have to take some time out to actually raise their children. That will put them at a disadvantage in a career system that would demand first place.
Maybe you have lots of energy and resources, enough to be ‘super woman’- but most women are not super women, and they will have to make some hard choices and realize as they go into their thirties that making choices on the one hand diminishes those on the other hand. The Road Not Taken.
We all have roads not taken, and the challenge is to be realistic to assess the longterm values in our choices.
Your children – and other’s children- will be the force of greatest impact upon the future. It is a worthwhile calling, and it is fulfilling if you will allow it to be.
But it isn’t always easy, it often is despised, and you will need support to do it well.
But that is true of some most of the worthwhile endeavors of humankind.
In a way, I think Stay at Home mothering is the same as the concept of breastfeeding…it is best for you and your child, but if all you can give to it is a short amount of the usual time, at least you give ( and get) that. If you can give more, that is excellent. It will benefit your relationships, it will give a base for greater healthiness than nothing at all.
The American environment is not exactly condusive to it, though. That is my warning, but women are endowed with a stubborn inner strength to sacrifice much for what they truly value in importance. Their families would benefit if they decided that their homes were what they were determined to build in this life, and the SAHM choice opens lots of doors for making that happen. I think that is why many of these women are going into entreprenurial businesses from things they developed in their at-home experience. They took time to explore their abilities and add to the richness of their personal and home lives, they translate that into things that they know could benefit others.
I think lots of home life cultivation is along that line. I believe it is something that benefits the culture as a whole, and for Christians in particular, it is something of increasing rarity that fills the needs of people more than many grandstanding ministry efforts.
That’s just what I think. To raise your children is but one season in life, but it seems a shame to miss it.