Mothers are truly interesting creatures.
You just never know with us. One moment, we’re all “hey I’m not giving up my career just because of my kids!”, and the other, we’re screaming at our husbands, crying, “I have to work eight hours every day and come home to still find the time to nurse, cook AND clean the house so DON’T YOU TELL ME YOU WANT A BREAK!”
I heard on the radio today an interview with a demographer about an MSNBC article on how working mommies are spending more time with their kids compared with SAHMs of the 70s (first clued in by the wonderful Jenn of Breed ’em and weep). What’s interesting is that this is a statistic partly driven by ‘mommy guilt’.
Ah. A useful little motivator, guilt. And the people who do the motivating? They’re none other than us SAHMs. I am guilty myself of bitching jealously about women who hold on to their careers and abandon their poor, unloved kids at daycare centers because I couldn’t. It is a natural response, this sort of bitter cattiness. Why fight it?
Seriously, why do we do it? Stay-at-home dads don’t snort at working dads and neither do working dads justify why they need to be working instead of staying at home with the kids. In fact, most of the time, they’d rather be doing pretty much anything else than working OR parenting.
“We just don’t care,” my own dear husband would say. But when asked if he would stay home if I got a better paying job than him, he looked as though he was about to throw up. And true to form, I’d probably still feel that he didn’t contribute more.
“I’m already at home all day! Gimme a break!”
“I have to work eight hours every day and come home to STILL find the time to nurse, cook AND clean the house so DON’T YOU TELL ME YOU WANT A BREAK!”
So why do we feel the need to judge women who choose to work even when they don’t need the money? Why do we ask the question, why DID you become a mother if you didn’t want to have to deal with your kids all the time? What business is it of ours?
To make ourselves feel better, that’s what.
Not a day goes by that I don’t read something somewhere that makes me feel that I’ve completely lost my facking mind by doing this SAHM thing. Not a day goes by that I feel that I could be out there, reaching my potential doing something where I am renumerated by something other than hugs and kisses or chunks of yellow hardened egg yolk on the carpet.
Ironically, this is less of an issue back home in Malaysia.
Where I come from, not earning money when youâ€™re educated and have both your hands and your brains intact, when youâ€™re still young, when youâ€™re still strong, is considered irresponsible.
Irresponsible because you never know with the future. Your husband could lose his job. Tragedy or illness could strike. What about your retirement? It is also irresponsible to rely on your children in the future to care for you and so, you must accumulate enough wealth to make sure your money can last as long as you can.
Bonding and closeness with your kids? Developing emotional security? That’s not true love. True love is securing your child’s college fund and future financial security!
But really, who can say for sure what is more important? To make sure your kid has an education or that he can be a compassionate, loving human being when he grows up? To ensure he will become a successful individual or a useful one? Child psychologists will tell you an absent father is better than a present abusive one. If you know you’re not going to be a good full-time mother, then perhaps you can be a great part-time one.
So to you ladies who have and do it all, I salute you. Cast away your mommy guilt and show the world what we women are truly capable of.
Especially to those working dads who can’t stop whining!