Friday, February 15, 2013

This is not about me

Monday I start my  journey as a full-time stay at home mom...I'm very excited, slightly anxious, and also a bit frustrated. Why frustrated already, you may ask? Well, it's nothing about the kids or the mess or the mundane, although I'm sure that will all come soon enough. 

I've actually re-written this post about a dozen times now trying to define for myself what exactly it is that I'm so bothered about. It's been comments like these that originally sparked my frustration: "If staying home makes you happy, that's great. I'd go insane staying at home all day." or "Good for you! I'd be bored to death being at home. I need that mental break at work." or "Wow, I'm always ready for Monday. My kids drive me crazy." and so forth.

The first couple of times other mama's responded to me like this, I mostly shrugged it off as a simple difference in personalities and didn't think much more of it. But for every "There's no way I could handle that!" comment I got, I also got a "That's wonderful! I'm so happy for you and your family. That will be such a blessing to your children." sort of comment. At the same time, my husband was getting a similar array of feedback at work. As we spoke about it the other night, we noticed a pattern - almost always, the ones saying, "That's wonderful. What a great decision for your children!" were in their late forties or older. Alternatively, almost all the "I couldn't take that!" comments were from the younger crowd. A generational shift in values??


I know I may step on some toes by writing this, but I feel it's really important to say and I'm hopeful it will start a conversation where we can all understand each other and our own worldviews a little better. I've done my best to express myself authentically and with respect for others {so please comment with the same courtesy}.

Here's what I have to say: I'm shocked and honestly saddened by the level of selfishness inherent in the way my generation makes decisions. Even mature, loving people still seem to go through a strong {ME} filter while making any decision. This is what has bothered me so much about half the feedback I've heard. It's been automatically assumed that my decision to be a stay at home mom is just another step on my own path toward personal fulfillment. Why else would I be choosing it?

I'm going to be very honest right now. Quitting my job was a long, hard decision for me, largely because it is so re-defining of who I am. I've struggled with the fear of losing my identity or becoming completely unhireable. I'm anxious about the mess-filled, adult-deprived days ahead. I'm worried that I won't find that balance of self and serving. But, my decision to stay at home is not because it will make me happier or healthier or because I just love being at home. I think "homebody" is about the furthest description from my personality as you could get. I've always assumed I would work full-time, out of the house throughout my life. I am ambitious and a "go-getter".

I'm not staying home because I think it will be easy or fun. 
I'm not staying home because it makes sense financially. 
I'm not staying home because I hate my job or have no career prospects.
I'm not staying home because I think it will be mentally stimulating or energizing.

This is not about {me}. 

I have no intention or interest in placing judgment on mothers who decide to work or on those who don't. I've been in both shoes myself. The bothersome thing about this whole business to me is what is motivating us to make either decision. Is it an honest, selfless love for our children and what is best for them? Or is it a {ME} filtered view of life that is tainting our perspective?

I'm afraid our world is losing something real and meaningful: selfless love for others and a deep value in raising our children. And I want to figure out a way to get it back.





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3 comments:

  1. Very well written and thank you for giving stay at home moms a voice! Enjoy your choice and learn... that's all we can hope for. Sometimes it's hard to be a stay at home mom for personal reasons, but those little giggles I get make my own reasons disappear.

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  2. I agree! Thanks for the feedback, Lisa. I don't imagine I'll ever regret this decision. These babies are far too precious!!

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  3. A great read. I am a stay home mum and often have felt like a lesser being because i chose to give up my career. so thanks for your blog

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