Monday, March 26, 2012

The Subversive, 2012 Stay-at-Home Mom

Last week my daughters were off school for spring break, so I was thick in the throes of busy stay-at-home mom-hood. Also, I've been watching a lot of "Mad Men" on DVD, musing on Betty Draper and her early-1960s housewife life. This is what the combination of those two things got me thinking about recently. Sorry it took me a few days to actually write about it.

Several years ago, I wrote an essay for Motherwords Magazine called "Confessions of a Contented Stay-at-Home Mom." It was about how I loved being a stay-at-home mom, felt fulfilled by it, and wished I could stay one forever. (Note: This is not the same thing as saying I love every part of stay-at-home motherhood. No one loves every aspect of her job, no matter what it is.)

I generally didn't voice that feeling aloud, though, because it didn't seem like a very common or popular point of view in the 2000s. But I really did feel just fine being a full-time mom and housewife, and I really didn't yearn to do something else, too, in order to feel fulfilled or happy or valuable. I already felt those things.

All of that is still true. During the Q&A at one of my book readings this past winter, a woman in the audience asked me if I'd ever wanted to return to work during my almost-eight years of being a stay-at-home mom. I answered "no" without a moment's hesitation, probably almost before the woman had completely voiced her question. We all talked about that feeling, and how not everyone (obviously) feels that way, and how it's fine if you do and it's fine if you don't, but I don't know how many moms in the audience felt that way besides me.

It's true that in addition to being a full-time at home mom, I am also a writer and a blogger and a (currently non-practicing but fully licensed) clinical psychologist and a wellness coach. And it's true that writing a book and getting it published was a lifelong goal of mine. So it's not as if there aren't other things that I enjoy and am good at. But if I had one magic wish in the world, it would be that my household be financially comfortable and solvent enough that I could happily immerse myself in at-home mothering without being constantly plagued by worry about the difficulties of living on one income, the bills piling up, and what I'm "supposed" to do once my children are both in full-time school. It's depressing how hard it is to survive with one parent home full-time in this day and age.

Can anyone out there relate to me? I can't be the only modern, postgraduate-educated feminist woman who loves being at home full-time with her kids and has no desire to resume outside work. Am I?

3 comments:

Mom and Kiddo said...

Here the thing: I don't want to go back to work right now, but I also HATE the fact that should I choose later to work part time, I will have zero work experience (related to my field) for many years (7 and counting). That stresses me out A LOT.

Rita said...

I started my job yesterday. I drove to work in rush hour traffic. I think it must've given me PTSD, because I had to dash home for a full-blown Ugly Cry before I went to get Paige from Mother's Day Out. It felt like the end of an era.

So, um, yeah. I like being a SAHM mom too. *sob*

Shannon said...

Rita, I thought you were going to be working from home! You poor thing. That sounds so stressful. Just remember is is PART-TIME. You are still a SAHM to Paige and William!