Sunday, November 14, 2010

What do you do all day?

I was sitting at a dinner in a large room full of people, most of whom I didn't know. The woman next to me was in her mid- to late twenties, I suppose, married, no kids yet. We had never met. She was an accountant. She asked me what I do. I told her I used to be a teacher, and retired to be a "stay at home mom". Which I was. When the kids were little and we didn't go much of anywhere. Now the "stay at home" part of being a stay at home mom is totally invalid.

She asked me if I home school. I told her no. But that's not entirely true. We definitely home school our kids. It's just not while they're at public school. Well, except when it is. Because I'm over there quite a bit helping out.

So she dared to ask The Question. She asked it in a very respectful way, because she sincerely wondered...So what DO you do with your time?

It's a fair question. It's one I ask myself all the time. I cannot for the life of me imagine where the time goes. After all, my kids are gone almost seven hours a day. You know what's interesting? I can always tell you what kept me so busy this week. It's rarely what kept me busy last week. Often I forget what kept me busy last week. I think to myself that this is just an unusually busy week in what is normally a very cushy schedule.

I'm too exhausted from my weekend right now to try to think of everything that got me this way, but I'm going to start working on my answer to "The Question". People deserve to know. Because seriously, I have the best job in the world.

Are you a "stay at home" mom? If you are, how would you answer "The Question"? If you aren't, what do you wonder about those of us who are?

UPDATE:  "The Answer" has now been posted!  Also, great discussion in the comments to this post, with follow-up here.


Givinya De Elba said...

This is a great idea - 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.

So - what about it? Why DON'T I write that list, get it on paper, and sit and marvel at how productive I actually am?

Well, I don't because ... I'm too busy. Say I decided at 7:00am that today is the day I will write the list. I am guaranteed to be so busy that I completely forget to write anything down until ... ooh, approximately Next Thursday.

I should put my mind to it and try again.

Melissa Mae said...

I, too, have trouble answering this question until I remember why a changed from a working mom to a one that (rarely) stays home. 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.... Speaking only for myself, I had a really hard time keeping up with it all when I was working and I still don't keep up with it all when I'm not (especially when extra "things" have snuck in), but I feel like I'm getting more of the important stuff in that was lacking while I was working. Like you, each week looks fairly different but has the same footprint - taking care of my family and our home and intentionally sharing myself and my values with my children and others around me. I feel SO BLESSED to be able to make this decision of staying home. I know there are many that just don’t have the option. It is gift that I cherish.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Am I a stay-at-home mom if my kids are grown? I think so! I do the things others only dream of...I clean my house/not the surface but the bits and pieces, I plan my grocery shopping and clip coupons and save tons of money doing it, I make quilts and other things that I gift to others or to myself just because, I study and lead women's Bible studies, I read books because they entertain me or teach me or call my name, I call friends who need to know someone's thinking about them, I hand write cards telling people I love them and am thankful for them, I read blogs and make more friends than I ever dreamed of having, I write my thoughts and my dreams in a blog where my bizarre sense of humor will make others smile, I pray and read the Bible on a regular schedule as well as in spontaneous moments, I walk in my neighborhood and watch God change the world around me with the seasons,...I could go on but there's too much to put in a comment. I am happy and I tell Him all day long because I am not surrounded by work and people taking my attention away. blessings, marlene

Skeller said...

I guess I just get bummed that the question even gets asked. My Mom was never asked that question when she was raising me. "Homemaker" was considered legit. Now, it's somehow not. For whatever reason, choosing to stay home (not "work"), live on less income, and intentionally take care of the day to day "business" of my family is questionable. "What DO you do with all your time?!?"


Go ahead and pull together your list if you like. But, Tracy, even "knowing" you from afar and not in person, 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 (as if). I'd also bet a whole lotta people are blessed by your everyday "work".

Betty said...

I agree with Skeller. I´m sure you don´t sit watching soaps.
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 woman who stay home full time for their family!