Saturday, April 28, 2007

Excuse me? I'm...what...??

It doesn't happen often anymore, but still I get the occasional flaming email from someone feeling the need to judge me based solely on my decision to be a stay-at-home mom. That's right, you heard me. Based SOLELY on my decision to be a stay-at-home mom.

Apparently, according to this latest... ahem... person, I am not only completely undoing women's lib but I'm also validating men's beliefs that women are "no better than stupid brood mares not fit for anything but a life of sex and servitude". Apparently, according to this... person, I am giving up "all rights as an individual" and becoming "completely dependent on a male" to run my life for me.

Apparently this... person... doesn't know me. At all. Or any stay-at-home moms, for that matter.

I could go on a wild rant about this, but I'm not. I'm exercising my self-restraint, and rather admirably, too, because believe me when I say that this is a subject I can RANT about. I will, however, make just a few observations (for which I'm sure I'll be thrashed wickedly by someone or another):
  • Stay-at-home moms work. Anyone that doesn't believe this should shadow me for a week. And I'm on the "easy" end of the spectrum; I have only one child (which is limited to one "extra" activity a semester) that goes to public school, I live in an apartment, and I don't do near as much baking/cooking as some stay-at-home moms I know.

  • Most of the women that "give up" their "identities" don't see it as such. At most, they see it as trading one identity for another... when they bother to think about it at all. That's not to say that there aren't some rather resentful stay-at-home women out there, but they still make the choice to abide by whatever circumstances make them feel that way.

  • Stay-at-home moms aren't stupid. They weren't stupid before they made the choice to stay at home to raise their children and dedicate themselves to their family, so why is it that people think they're stupid after that choice is made? Our brains don't switch off or fall out, yet for some reason, once that choice is made, people - both men and women - treat us as if we are stupid, as if our brains have indeed fallen out, and our opinions and thoughts cease to matter, no matter what they may be. Surprisingly, this is an attitude we stay-at-home moms periodically have to battle against within our own homes, too. Surprisingly, there are some husbands that occasionally forget how smart their wives are.

  • Women that are so intensely critical of those women that do make the CHOICE to stay at home are no better than the men in our government today who are taking away women's rights over their own bodies. (naamah_darling has a wonderful entry here about those men, and just for the record, I am and always have been pro-choice... meaning that while I don't believe abortion is right, I will fight to the death for any woman's RIGHT TO MAKE THAT CHOICE for whatever reason she may have.) These women seem to forget that just because our fore-mothers fought so hard for women's rights and women's liberation, not all women want to be the all-powerful super-mom proving we can do it all. They wouldn't dream of forcing a woman to have a child against her will, or staying in a marriage she didn't want to be in against her will, or taking away any other freedom of choice rights women enjoy today... yet they're all too eager to condemn a woman for making the choice to stay at home to raise her children. How long, then, will it be before women actively aid in taking away a woman's right to choose to stay at home?

  • It's amazed me time and time again that so many employed women (whether they be married or single, have children or don't) find it offensive that another woman makes the choice to quit her job to take care of her family. As a woman that made that choice, I've been called "selfish", "a traitor to [my] gender", "stupid", and many more things. I've heard the same frustrated sighs (and occasionally confused sobs) from other women who have also had such words flung at them because they made the choice to stay at home. Yet no one - and believe me, I've asked - has ever been able to tell me WHY we offend these women so much. More than once I've been told I am too stupid to understand so they wouldn't waste the time and effort to explain it to me. Is it just because we don't hold to the same beliefs, ideals, and priorities that they do? Or is there something else going on there that I'm just not seeing?
There are undoubtedly more observations I've made over the past decade, but I'm starting to slip into rant-mode and that's not a place I want to go right now.


Mick said...

Excellent post!!!!! Bravo!!!!
I am employed as a hairstylist 12.5 hours a week. When the kids weren't in school sweet grandma watched them the 2 days I worked. To be honest back then we couldn't live without my pt income as dh made very little.

My kids are all in school fulltime now . My husband works crazy hours and I can't depend on him to be home at a certain time or to be able to get a kid somewhere. Working very part time works well for us.
I can't believe some of the hateful comments Dh and I have heard about this over the last 11 years!
Some of the most rotten comments I've heard have come from other women sadly.I'm less of a woman for putting my family first??? Heck no! Seriously being a ft SAHM is even harder yet. Women of an older generation have commend me.Seems my own generation doesn't get it!!!

Just last friday I had a work-a-holic male client imply I was lazy for working so few hours. Well lets just say we had a discussion on priorities.

I see being a stay at home mom as an act of love. Who on earth can raise your kids better that you???
Kids need parents not more stuff.
Kudos to you!!!!

Oh I followed Traceys blog like from FV and ended up here.


Seraph said...

Thanks, Mick.

Working "very part time" works for some. I've yet to find a job I'm qualified for that gives me that flexibility. Even if I did, though, there would be holidays and school vacations, not to mention sick days, that no one else could cover. Right now, this is the best option for us.

You're luck that you have the support of older women! When K. was very small and my MiL found out I was staying at home, she spent the entire time we were visiting her lecturing me about how I should be working and how stupid I was to be unprepared for my marriage to fall apart "because no one expects it to happen, but it happens all the time". Eight years later, she's still saying the same thing... even though her son and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary at the beginning of 2007.

And yes. Kids need parents who are around, not more stuff, not more time at day cares, not more activities. They need time with their parents.

Heh. Tracy is great. I'm Seraph at FV, by the way.

mick said...

I definately know the pt won't work for everyone. I sure hope I didn't imply that. When I interviewed years ago at the salon I told the owner up front my prioritys were family then work. No if and or butts. She was cool with it. Shes very nice about letting me reschedule clients for a sick kiddo, school thing etc. Since I only work thur/fri I very rarely need to.

Oh heavens that is terrible of your MIL!!!! What an awful thing to say. Besides that is her son shes including in this generalization.

Being home also gives you the time to do so many money saving thing you can't do working all the time.

Dh and I figured years ago that even with all the $ I lost we were not really losing much when you look at the big picture.

I also find it amazing that we seem a bit more stable financially than our 2 ft income friends. I think that is because I'm not to exhausted to pay attention to it. Oh heavens sorry to ramble!


Seraph said...

Ohmercyno. You didn't imply any such thing. I guess that was just another observation from me (LOL). No worries.

As for the MiL... yeah. It blew my mind, but I guess she was pretty damaged by her divorce years ago. We don't see or hear from her often so it's not something I have to listen to very much.

Hmm... you bring up a good point. More financial stability due to better vigilance. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with something the husband and I keep kicking back and forth: quality of life. Yes, we have less money and less things than people around us, but we enjoy what we have sooo much more! And the time spent with our daughter is priceless. The days I get to spend with her during the summer... I wouldn't trade them for the combined fortunes of Donald Trump and Bill Gates. And it makes my heart swell with joy when she tells me she prefers me being at home because she likes to spend time with me, too.

Ramble on! No need to apologize! Come back and ramble again any time you like! (I'm not one of those bloggers that believes everything short be short and sweet.)

Anonymous said...

Awww that must have warmed your heart immensly to have your DD say that! Actually reading you ladies blog has gotten me thinking about doing my own. Heavens knows I ramble enough.

Tracy said...

Well said Girlfriend! I totally know what you mean, some people though need to keep rude comments to themselves, how selfish of THEM! :) Keep your head high I am with you 100% :-)

Co said...

Oh yes. A day in the life of a SAHM is never without work, and I definately don't "stay at home" during the day. I don't know how women go to work and still take care of their home and family. Oh, wait, I work outside the home too. What am I thinking?

I keep wondering why I decided to go back to work and regret that decision, because now we like the extra income too much. I wish I would have stayed at home.

Great blog -