Kinda Crunchy Mom

May 26, 2008

Am I A Housewife???

Filed under: Mama notes — by mcadmom @ 8:46 am
I have been a SAHM (the internet abbreviation for a stay-at-home-mom) for three years now and I still hate that term.  The abbreviation is fine, but the clunky phrase it stands for is not.  The implication is that I do just that–stay.at.home., and although that is true to a large extent, it sounds more like an order than a lifestyle.  (“You there, mom–stay at home!”) 
“Working mom” implies that moms who don’t work are somehow not doing anything–remember the “every mom is a working mom” bumper stickers?  Full-time mom (used for SAHM) implies that women who work are somehow not parents while at work (we all know THAT’s not true).  So, somehow the unsatisfying phrases SAHM and “work outside the home mom” became the terms.  Ugh–they both stink.
Both phrases describe mothers in terms of where we spend our time, or what four walls we’re relegated to for much of the week.  This is as far as we’ve come?
So much of this linguistic controversey comes from the fact that our society does not value motherhood (Ever talk to a work-outside-the-home-dad?  I didn’t think so.), despite the many bumper stickers to the contrary.  Today on the news I saw that a study shows that mothers are 50% less likely to be hired for jobs.  The demands of child-rearing are seen as a financial burden for employers and, in many states, they can inquire about family status during interviews. 
To me, this shows how little our culture values children–I think they rank even lower than the moms. 
In any case, as a SAHM (ugh), I still feel the Donna Reed pressure every day.  I’m sure she was a nice person, but her TV character, along with Beaver’s mom and a ton of others, pumped the ideal woman into our homes for years.  Even though I know it is silly, useless, etc, I still feel a sense of not measuring up–especially since the last time I made the bed Jamie asked me if we were having company.
If I worked, though, I’d have to measure up to Claire Huxtable–and I thought Donna was a challenge.  Five kids, a gorgeous home, great career, and through it all she never lost her temper.  I don’t remember an episode where she sighed, “I just want five minutes to myself…!!”, while trying to help a toddler use the potty in the middle of her shower–dripping and soapy.  I work one day a week and we still have child care issues sometimes–how did a doctor and a lawyer avoid having to call every friend in their arsenal to watch the kids–at 6am?
I love being home–well, I love the idea of being home and I am glad that with Olivia’s health issues we didn’t have to worry about child care.  We do some neat stuff, but I was not prepared for the internal debate every time I get the paints out (Do I want to clean this up after?).  I don’t think Donna or Claire would ever ask that question.
And I still want a better name…
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2 Comments »

  1. Diane, I totally agree that society does not value children. Perhaps a very cute and quiet one that doesn’t spill anything, is welcome.

    This world has ‘me-itis’ and the thought of staying at home, changing diapers, losing an income, and possibly your mind does not appeal to the masses.

    We are soldiers for our children and God.

    And if this is any comfort I saw Claire Huxtable lose it one time with Denise. Denise snuck out to a concert and when Claire found out all H*LL broke loose 🙂

    SAHM’s UNITE 🙂

    Comment by mommy2mygirlz — May 27, 2008 @ 6:27 pm |Reply

  2. I join in the sisterhood SAHM. With seven excited children running around this summer, I am on anything but a vacation. 🙂 It is a joyous rollercoaster upon which I proudly wear my SAHM t-shirt, but I’d like something like “domestic goddess” or something exciting.
    btw,
    Thanks for the comment about the children. I tend to think they are adorable as well, but I believe I’m considered a bias source. lol
    I hope that Olivia can bypass and surgeries in her future. You know, I’ve been wondering what happens when our girls have children? I wonder about those complications. But I guess it wouldn’t do to worry, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. They’re only 3! 🙂
    take care,

    Comment by songwriterparents — June 16, 2008 @ 11:02 pm |Reply


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