Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Why I am 'just' a mom (getting up on my soapbox)

Pardon my soapbox:

I was reading my friend Smart Mama's blog and she got me thinking about motherhood and being 'just' a stay at home mom (SAHM). I don't feel like it's a degrading thing, I don't feel like I've 'settled', and I definitely don't feel like I've done a disservice to myself or my children by not having a career. Being a SAHM is a choice I made- one that was more important to me then any other choice. It is also an important choice to my husband. Together when we got pregnant with our oldest child we decided that I would stay home to take care of our children. That it was more important then anything else. I feel that because we've stood by that decision that we've been incredibly blessed in numerous ways. (*Disclaimer- not saying that if you can't or don't SAH then you're not blessed- just that we have been).

I wasn't always planning on being a SAHM. When I was in college I was a biology major headed towards med school. My goal? To be a pediatric neurologist. The summer after my freshman year I took a job as a nanny for a family where the dad was a traveling juice salesman (not kidding) and was gone from Sunday night until Friday afternoons EVERY WEEK. Honestly I wondered if he was leading a double life. The Mom was getting her master's degree in counseling. She left for school at 6:30 in the morning and returned home about 7 in the evening. She had a full load of classes and had to put in X amount of hours a week doing counseling at their center. She'd come home, eat dinner and then kiss her kids goodnight (after I'd gotten them into bed and read stories ect).

They had twin boys that were 6 and a little girl who was 4. The kids were out of control. They couldn't keep a nanny for very long (because of the parents really) and they never saw their parents. When Mom and Dad were around (weekends) they indulged every whim because of the guilt associated with being gone all the time.

I only worked for them for 6 weeks. I wasn't ready to be a full time parent to three out of control children (and I wonder now if I'm up for that task daily) and the parent's were trying to parent me (I had a 10:00 curfew ect) and I didn't need a job like that.

But I'm glad I had it. It clarified to me the importance of Mom being home. I could teach those kids anything I wanted and they soaked it up. I didn't want my babysitter/daycare provider to have more influence than me in my children's lives. So I decided that summer that I could either be a fabulous doctor and not have children- or I could be a fabulous mom and not be a doctor- but that I couldn't do both. I've stood by that decision and it's the best one I've made.

Am I the perfect mom? No. Not even close. I'm striving to be a better mom on a daily basis- but I think that 'being' here is a good start. I plan to stay home and be a SAHM for the long term. I've made that choice. I'm glad that I had the choice to make. I realize that is a blessing and I'm grateful for that. I'm also grateful for a husband that sees the value in that.

*stepping off my soapbox*

Flame away.

25 comments:

smartmama said...

amen-- well written amber-- oh the soap box is fun i might have to get on again tomorrow!

Alissa said...

you biotch. how dare you say all the things i'm thinking! and state all my feelings so well! you jerk! :D

janice said...

I am clapping for you! Good soapbox speech!!

Now I am NOT against working moms - at all!

My mom went back to work full time when i was 7 and she was the GREATEST mom ever.(but since she worked for my dad she had very flexible hours to tend to our appointments, illnesses etc and could make up her work at other times etc) She also had a nanny for my twin and I when we were newborns for our first year because she had two other young ones, my dad travelled all the time and she had no family nearby - she and my dad recongized that she needed help! Her decisions worked wonderfully and we were always a top priority.

So i believe there are many ways to "make things work". And many working families are "making things work."

That family you nannied for were obviously NOT making things work.

Children do need both quality and quantity of time, so families need to figure out how that is going to work for them and their needs.

Congrats to you - you sacrificed for your children and that is wonderful. You have been blessed and so have your children fof that. And as you mention, you are blessed to have a huband that is there, supporting the family financially, and supporting you being home. Hurray for him too!!

It sure is working well for you!!!

PS if you were wondering - I am a WAHM

Amber said...

Oh, I'm not against WOHM either. I'm not against any moms. Being a mom is hard enough without all the judging. But I just get tired of the 'you're JUST a mom?' comment.

Nettie said...

I am so glad you are more than "just" a stay at home mom! I did the nanny thing, too, and although the family I tended for was doing things well, I still saw how much their baby bonded with me, sometimes preferentially over them. I didn't ever want that to happen with my babies.

Hope said...

Me too.

You know I would have stayed home in a second, and honestly still would if it weren't for that little matter of bills and food etc.

I think even older children and teenagers need TIME with their parents.

I am so lucky to have been able to get so close to my children even though they had to go to daycare. My children are so blessed to have a fantabulous mom such as I to mold and guide them in their lives.

Michael agrees! :)

HolyMama! said...

wow! i never had any aspirations as lofty as yours, but here i am, a sahm as well! you're right about it being a blessing that we can make such a choice!

Lei said...

amen sista... i do think it is awesome though that you have your cake business on the side... nothign wrong with being multidimensional. :)

it was good to "see" you again... thanks for stopping by!

Amber said...

Business is a very loose term. I've made three cakes for pay now- and as Steve likes to point out- I've spent more then I've made. :P

momofalltrades said...

Very nice post. We're never "just". I honestly beleive that some mom's are better mom's by working and having the kids in daycare, but for *me*, I've always known it wasn't the answer. I picked up my friend's child from daycare the other day, and I literally called my husband from the parking lot and thanked him for always encouraging me to stay home, even when things have been super rough.

Sugarmama said...

I get the "just a SAHM" thing, too, but mostly just in the attitudes I encounter, rather than anyone actually coming right out and saying it. Personally, I'm happy we're able to afford me staying at home with the kids. Both for the obvious reasons, and also because I was delighted to finally have a reason for leaving the professional baking world!

Traci said...

As a full-time working parent I have to say that I envy you as a SAHM. You are not "just" a mom. You are your child's whole world and that's amazing! Just as SAHM's are sterotyped, I feel I am sterotyped also by being a working mom. I've heard that I'm selfish for working. It's not like I am out here trying to climb the career ladder and be somebody, I'm just trying to make ends meet. I do enjoying working, but I would rather be at home with my 4 yr old, even though it would be a lot more work! I do have to say that daycare has been a really good thing for him though. He has gained so much from the daily social interaction and it will definetly make his transition to kindergarten much easier. He loves going to "school" and loves the wonderful teachers that touch his life each day. Anyway, I say all that to say... Just know that there are a lot of us out here that would give anything to be "just" a mom! Please know how blessed you are. Great post!

Traci said...

Saw this article today and it goes along perfectly with your post...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060503/ts_nm/life_work_dc

sheri said...

Wonderful post! I was a live-in nanny for 2 years. (they also gave me a curfew. 11pm. woo!) I had always planned on being a SAHM, but after those 2 years I KNEW that was what I wanted to do. As much as I cared about those kids (and I truly did), I can clearly see now that it was nothing even remotely close to my feelings for my own kids. There is no amount of money and no other person out there (well, perhaps Grandma, lol) that could care for your kids as well as you can. I'm so blessed as well to have the opportunity to be with my kids each and every day.

Heather said...

I don't use the term SAHM I use "Domestic Engineer"

Amber said...

I have actually put domestic goddess on things before. I don't think most people look- but at the chiropractors office they didn't just look- but commented on it. ROFL!

bon said...

I am still coming to terms with defining myself as a mother let alone WAHM, SAHM, full-timer or part-timer... WHATEVER! This is the hardest freakin' thing I've ever done in my life.

Thankfully I DON'T have to work outside the home, and thankfully Dadguy and I are on the same page in terms of being a SAHM if at all financially possible. Some days though... I feel as though the life is being sucked out of me... and it would be nice to have a paycheck to point to to say it was worth "this much" at least... or a real live "sick-day" that would be pretty cool too.

MOM said...

I was a stay at home mom most of my life. A couple times I've had part-time jobs, and was wishing I was home the whole time. Now I'm a grandma, and still have 2 teenagers at home, and still glad to be here. Soon I'll move closer to my grandkids, and will be glad to be a stay at home grandma. I can do that, and feel free to volunteer places that I couldn't do if I was working. I'm looking forward to it?
Mom

MOM said...

I am looking forward to it!!!!
Mom
It wasn't a question!

Anonymous said...

There will be time for a career later. The most important thing you can do right now is raise those beautiful children. In the end that is the most important. Don't ever feel bad about it or let any one else make you feel bad. You are very blessed. I enjoy your blog.

Amber said...

Whew! I'm glad it's not a question mom! :)

Valarie said...

I totally agree. Here in Utah it's a little different. I almost feel like I have to apologize that I've started a part time job.

Anonymous said...

http://swz.salary.com/momsalarywizard/layoutscripts/mswl_newsearch.asp

This is a link to figure a Mom's Salary. We are underpaid in so many ways but have the best job and the most benefits. You have made the right decidion to stay home!

ShelahBooksIt said...

You picked a good soapbox, Amber. I've been a WOHM and a SAHM and I think you just have to find happiness in whatever you're doing.

Stephanie said...

I love this post. Valarie, I am glad to here you say that. My DH works from home, and my two kids are here ALL the time. I never have time alone. I have been considering a p.t. job just to get a break from it all.