Thursday, November 18, 2010

So glad I asked!!

One of the big benefits of this blogging business is the collective wisdom available from a very unique and diverse community of individuals. Besides that, we do not have a specified meeting time with children to be farmed out and picked up at a certain time, and a set topic for consideration when we do get together. In what other context would I feel free to take the time to ask a group of wise people to help me figure out how to answer "The Question" (of how my time is spent as a stay at home mom of school aged children) when it arises?

And wise people, you did NOT disappoint! Thank you so very much for helping me process my thoughts about how to speak intelligently to people about my chosen occupation. Your comments make a better post than I could ever write.

Givinya (a.k.a. Kate): "I often think that people's minds would BOGGLE if I were to write a list of the tasks I complete in a day - I am rarely still, I rarely sit down, and I rarely have time for myself."

I know! I often think that, and I don't even have kids at home during school hours like you do. Plus, I don't want to reduce what I do to a list of household chores and task management. It is so much more than that.

Melissa Mae (my dear "Real Life" friend who I truly would talk to face to face about these things if we weren't watching the time and the kids): "I do it so I can spend significantly more time with my children, so I can spend time needed to make healthy meals, so I can proactively engage with their schools, our church, and community, and so I can *try* to keep up with the house and the housework."

I love how this gets to the heart of the matter! I also love that you pointed out the fact that it is a blessing and privilege to "stay at home", and a choice that isn't available to everyone. That's why I think it's so important to answer "The Question" with respect, and also with enough substance to let people know why we would make financial sacrifices to do it. Because yes, our husbands are blessed with great jobs, but we could have a lot more cool stuff and fancier vacations if we chose to continue in paid professions. There maybe people asking the question who don't think they have the option...but who, in reality, might think differently if they understood how the benefits stand up against the cost.

Stitchin' (a.k.a. Marlene): "I do the things others only dream of..."

Your list made me absolutely smile. You are such an encourager. I do a lot of similar things, things that are a blessing to both myself and others. They are precisely the things I would be reluctant to list in response to "The Question", because I LOVE doing them, and I feel as though I am living in the lap of luxury to have time for them. Maybe there is a little part of me that is ashamed to admit how spoiled I am. I probably just need to get over that, huh?

Skeller (a.k.a. Susan): "I'd bet big bucks that you're not a woman to let any dust collect under your feet while you eat bon-bons and watch soap operas."

That makes me laugh! I cannot have sweets in the house because I would TOTALLY sit around eating bon-bons if they were available! We're headed into baking season and I can already hear my jeans stretching. But you're right about the soaps. I don't even know how to operate our TV. You are very kind!

You made a great point about change in acceptance of the stay at home mom since a generation or two ago. Staying home with your kids was the default option back then, so of course it was rarely if ever questioned. Those of us who choose this occupation today may have to go a little farther out of our way than next door to find a support system. I think it's challenging to not sort of band together to fortify a defensive position toward the "outside world". As more of a minority, we have a new position as people who have chosen thoughtfully from a variety of options. While I completely agree that it's precarious to be asked "The Question", it affords me a rare opportunity to influence someone's assumptions about the role of the stay at home mom in family and society, if I am prepared to do so in an engaging manner. Instead of sitting there with my mouth gaping open with nothing coming out like I was the other day. ;-)

Betty: "Me? I could never do it, be a SAHM. I was always at a "job" part time. It was something I needed and brought a balance to my life. I admire women who stay home full time for their family!"

This is a beautiful comment. It acknowledges the fact that we need to know ourselves and our families well and intentionally choose pursuits that bring balance to our lives. That's exactly why I want to be able to articulate my reasons for my choices. The fact that we choose differently doesn't make one any better than the other. I'm SO thankful for the moms who are the teachers at my kids' school. They have blessed us in immeasurable ways through both their educational expertise and their parental wisdom. I'm very glad they have chosen differently from me.

Thanks again, ladies, for giving me such excellent feedback. For the record, I just spent about 90 minutes of my day processing all of this. With only minor interruptions from my telecommuting husband. And a little laundry. In case anyone wants to know. Spoiled, I tell you. Absolutely spoiled. (But I did not watch Oprah.)

UPDATED:  "The Answer" to "The Question" (for me anyway) is now posted here.


Joy said...

Hey Tracy, I must have missed this post. Talk about stay at home mom who isn't home much. My blogging time is really getting away from me lately.
I enjoyed the responses too. Thanks for sharing them. I tell Keith all the time when he ask me what I did today. I tell him "I don't know but it kept me busy!"

♥ Joy

StitchinByTheLake said...

Love your responses to the comments...and the comments themselves. blessings, marlene

Givinya De Elba said...

What a great post, I loved the perspectives everyone else brought to the topic!

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I REALLY wish I could be a stay at home mom... I admit - I'm jealous.

Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun said...

I'm a stay at home mom too and its amazing what all there is to accomplish in a day. I can see how some people don't quite get it, but if they lived a day in the life of a SAHM...most would be crawling back to their every day jobs.

Crazy Sister said...

Women really do make the world turn round. We're so amazing.