I don’t need to defend my position as a stay-at-home mom. The fact is, I believe in it and nothing anybody says is going to change my mind one iota.
But I still feel a little chill run up my spine when I hear people say silly things like, “Yes, I know you’re busy, but I work.”
Implying, of course, that I don’t.
Then there’s, “I just couldn’t stay home and do nothing like that all day.”
Seriously? Why would you say something like that unless you’re just trying to be mean?
And my personal favorite, “I think it’s wonderful you stay home with your children. I would love to do that, but we simply can’t afford it.”
I love this one, especially when it generally comes from someone living a far more extravagant lifestyle than my own. Of course people are free to spend their money however they wish and I have no desire to interfere, but I’m always amused at the ability of some to look me in the eye and overlook the obvious discrepancy in our lifestyles to argue that staying home, while reasonable for someone like me, would be a financial hardship for them. Really?
Most SAHMs are passionate about their decision to stay home, not because they are militant “mominists” who think everyone must mother their way in order to be a good mom, nor because their decision to stay home so frequently and blatantly brings their very value as individuals into question. (And the latter happens often, believe me.)
Stay-at-home moms are passionate because the decision to stay home with their children requires a great deal of sacrifice. We don’t do it because we’re lazy, oppressed of men, or lacking ambition. Nor is our decision some fluke of circumstance. For most of us, staying home is a serious and carefully calculated commitment. And in a society that all-too-frequently devalues children as a nuisance and a hindrance to life success, a dive into full-time mothering can mean an exhausting swim against the very current of the culture.
So if you engage a stay-at-home mom in conversation and somehow the subject of her stay-at-home-itude comes up, don’t be surprised if you find her to be a zealot, of sorts. It’s only because she truly believes in what she’s doing. She couldn’t stay home otherwise.
So here’s my shout-out to stay-at-home moms everywhere. I don’t claim to be a poet, but I wrote this several years ago and though I realize it’s a little rough, especially the first couple of stanzas, do me a favor and keep reading.
The Young Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
There was a young woman who lived in a shoe;
With so many children, she knew not what to do
She worked from dawn to dusk without stop,
And still her housekeeping skills were a flop!
For round and round her feet everyday;
A band of mischievous munchkins would play,
Ask questions, make demands, and, of course, they would fight
Until her frayed nerves had left her a sight!
Just then the oldest in the carpet would spill
Two quarts of red kool-aid just put back to chill;
And pausing to mend a knee skinned in a fall,
She discovered the mud fingerprints on the wall!
And finally when all of that had been cleaned,
She found the huge spill of paint that was green!
And from there it continued into the night;
One mess and another, some laundry, a fight.
And cooking, then dishes, babies to feed,
And exhausting job for one woman, indeed!
And then, a knock at the door! A guest!
She welcomed her in; Wait till you hear the rest!
Glancing around, shocked by the mess,
The guest then spoke thoughtlessly, rudely, no less!
“I guess you’ve been reading a novel,” she said,
“Maybe surfing the web, shopping ebay instead.
It’s certain you’ve not worked on your house, I must say.
Tell me, what on earth do you do all day?”
Exhausted and flustered and ready to cry,
She choked back the tears and held her head high.
“What I do with my day,” she said, “is this.
I nurture a future generation and kiss
The boo-boos of children who someday might be
Most respected in American citizenry.
I work as a teacher, a lawyer, a chef;
A counselor, psychologist, physician, and ref.
I do it all and do it quite well, I think,
Though the house is a mess and the bathroom may stink;
And the laundry is piled up to the sky
And the dust on my dresser measures this high.
I work long and hard, take meals on my feet,
And still it seems no project’s complete.
But none of that matters, not really, you see;
For my life’s work my alter society.
If I raise one child who will stand for right
Who knows God and His word, one who will fight
For what’s good and what’s true, if he fights all alone
Then I’ve raised a hero in this messy home!