About a week ago I was at the gym, on the elliptical, minding my own business when my phone died and so did my music. I was forced to eavesdrop on the very loud conversation that the two girls in their early twenties were having next to me. From what I gathered, they are home from college for the summer and they’ve been going to work out regularly.
Most of their conversation was about the people they see at the gym and how one group in particular appears to not have anything better to do with their time. That group was mine! They were mocking “the moms at the gym” who must get tired of cleaning the house so much that they need to bring the kids to the daycare in the gym to get some rest. -Can you imagine how boring it must be for them not to have a career?
WTF! Seriously? I totally wanted to chime into their conversation and set some things straight, but since I couldn’t, then I will just vent right here:
- Yes, cleaning the house is extremely tiring -especially with two little rascals who do everything they can to keep taking toys out and spilling blueberries and water in the most bizarre places- but that isn’t the reason why I’m at the gym. Did it occur to them that us moms also enjoy exercising?
- Speaking about cleaning, that was not why I stayed home for, but it came with the territory. Kids are messy, yet they thrive in a clean environment. What is a stay-at-home-mom supposed to do? The circumstances forced me to also take the role of (I hate to say this) a homemaker.
- Not having a career (at the moment) is frustrating but a sacrifice that the women who chose to stay at home to be the primary care giver of their children are happy to make in exchange of being there for all of their important early childhood milestones.
I feel like even though our society has evolved tremendously since last century, there is still this misconception of what women who stay at home with their children do. It is surprising to me though, that our own gender attacks us. Are they comparing us to an outdated version, to someone like Marge Simpson? Do they think that we stayed at home because we are uneducated, because we have no other choice? Do they think we are home to be the ideal homemaker and the perfect wife? Do they picture us watching soap operas while fanning ourselves with trashy magazines?
Well, not all of us! In fact, all the mom friends I have, have a college degree or even a masters. They had careers before they had their first baby. They made the choice to stay at home with their children so that they could hear the first words, help out with the first steps, help them develop their personalities and instill the values that are important to their families. After all, research shows that the first three years of in children’s lives are crucial to their development.
I signed up to be at home with my children and take care of their needs but learning laundry tricks and adding new recipes for dinner were some of the skills that I gained as a result. I guess it is natural for it to happen -especially since I had a high-paced job where I spent the whole day multitasking before becoming a mom. I needed to put my energies and creativity in a completely different area: the area of family life.
And so like many other stay-at-home-moms that I know, I schedule our family activities, I plan educational opportunities that could be something as simple as helping with dinner or to go to a story hour, I go food shopping, I’m in charge of keeping my children clothed in the right size clothing (most of the time), I read/sing/dance/talk with them, I explore parks and investigate ant hills, I prepare what it seems endless meals a day, I look for enrichment classes, I plan playdates, I do laundry and clean the house, and bake cakes and throw birthday parties.
So yes, I don’t have a career at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that my life is boring or that I don’t have anything else to do. I just don’t have anything “better” to do because witnessing my children make their first sentences or conquer the stairs is the most rewarding accomplishment than a job could give me.
I’m a stay-at-home-mom right now, my career can wait a little longer.