Saturday, February 23, 2008

Soapbox Time

Everyone has their pet peeves. Things that drive them crazy. Jared can't handle if you stand over him, especially if you are eating something. I know because I do it to him all the time! I hate when people use apostrophes where they don't belong. I edit everything I read without really being conscious of the fact that I'm doing it until I run across a grievous error and realize that I am bugged. But today's soapbox is not going to be about grammar.

Something I hate more than grammatical errors are destructive attitudes about motherhood. Since there are so many of those in society today, most of us have bought into some of them, whether we realize it or not. Recently, a girlfriend came to me, troubled about what to do. Here's the situation:

She and her husband had some financial issues arise due to the current economy and housing market. They had gone round and round about how to fix the situation. She currently stays home with their three children; at times she has worked part-time, but they made the decision last year to keep her at home. One of the possible solutions to their current crisis was for her to go back to work--and she even had a job offer. They tried and tried to figure out a solution that would work for their two schedules in order to meet the needs of their kids, and in the end decided that her going back to work was going to put a lot of additional stress on the entire family; among other things, her husband was going to have to move to the graveyard shift at work. So, they decided instead to look at ways that they could reduce their spending in other areas to make up what they needed. After doing this, they determined that the sacrifice of giving some things up and spending less was a better one than the sacrifice of the mommy going back to work and the family making the necessary adjustments.

So far, so good, right? Not everyone can make that scenario work out, but they were grateful to find that they could have what they valued most. Now comes the part that makes my blood boil. Her mother-in-law finds out and reams her. Being a stay-at-home mom is a luxury, she says. You are just being lazy because you aren't willing to do what it takes when your family needs it. It is your responsibility to send those kids to day care and get a job if your family needs the money. Etc., etc. You get the picture.

My friend was left feeling confused and angry, and began to wonder if she was being selfish. Thank goodness she called me.

My dear friends, there is NOTHING lazy or selfish about being a stay at home mom. The very idea is ludicrous to me. How many of you get to sit around being lazy all day? Is it all about going to lunch with your friends, getting manicures, and catching up on your favorite shows? In my life, those things are rare. On the contrary, SAHMs have hard work to do, have hard sacrifices to make, and they do it for the good of their families.

Yes, it is a blessing to be a SAHM. I am grateful for the life that I have. I am blessed to have a husband who supports and shares my desire to have our children be raised by their mother. But it is not the selfish choice. We have had to make many sacrifices, most of them financial, in order to have me stay at home with our children, and I'm willing to venture that most of you SAHMs out there can say the same thing. And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Since when is it selfish or lazy to go without some materialistic things for the sake of your family's well being? Of course, the underlying idea is that what your children need more than a mommy is the stuff that money can buy. And that is a dangerous, destructive thought.
So if you are battling with the idea that being at home to raise your children is a lazy or selfish luxury, please let the battle be over. Remember what is most important--and it isn't the things that you can buy at the mall (although those things are really pretty, I know!) It is the relationships we have, especially with our family. It is about raising children who are confident in our love, who have learned how to treat others with respect, who have learned the values that we work hard to teach them. It is about keeping our family unified and providing them with an environment that fosters love and learning. It is about showing our children that they come first.

And if you happen to be a woman who values all those things, but whose circumstances will just not allow you to be home with your children, regardless of the sacrifices that you might make, know that the Lord sees your heart and will bless you accordingly. I watched my own mother go back to work against her will when her youngest was 8 years old, because she was suddenly widowed. She was thrust into single parenthood and was forced to provide for the needs of her family by working full time. And I know that Heavenly Father blessed her family and made up the difference because circumstances would not allow her to do what her heart desired. I guess that my point is not to trash working moms but to validate those who make the choice to be at home.

You go, girls!

30 comments:

david mcmahon said...

I honour all SAHMs and SAHDs because they work harder than anyone in a regular (paid) job.

Kimberly said...

That was so perfectly put! Nicely done!

Rebecca said...

Michal, I have nothing to say but a big "AMEN!"

Well, ok. A little more. Wonderful post. I feel EXACTLY the same way as you do. Women in the church are letting Satan influence them that being a mom at home is not worth making sacrifices for.

scrap chair potato said...

Make some room for me on your soapbox!
I know that I was judged when my husband was working three jobs when our oldest was a baby and I stayed home. It was very important to us to have at least one of us at home with our child. My sweet hubby always said that if we were going to have to arrange schedules to have someone at home at all times he might as well be the one working all the jobs anyway. He is such a hard worker and I know that he will do whatever it takes to allow me to be home with our children. I am grateful for that. I hope my boys appreciate and learn how important it is to have parents that are willing to make sacrifices for their children.

Please, don't, judge, my, grammer I, know, how, bad, I, am, at, it!

Anonymous said...

With tears in my eyes all I can say is THANK YOU...
Mandy

Jen H. said...

Amen. SAHMs deserve all the support they can get. There is nothing easy about this job. But I am so grateful I can do it.

Side note re: misplaced apostrophes--they irritate me as well. Just this week I saw a hilarious license plate cover. It read, "Education at it's best...XXX High School." I am not kidding! I am pretty sure it was not meant to be ironic.

Macy said...

Misplaced apostrophes and incorrect spelling of words are the two things that make me crazy.

Great post. Staying at home is more work than I realized, but it's been worth it for our family so far. I'm glad you were able to help your friend.

Andrea said...

That was great. Kids grow up fast enough. I don't want to miss any of it. It is definitely not easy.

Michal said...

scrappy,
i promise not to judge you for your grammar! i've never noticed it to be bad, anyway, and i know that i'd notice if it was.

Michal said...

jen,
rofl! i can't believe that the license plate actually said that! it never ceases to amaze me when i find things that were clearly done professionally and yet not edited. why would you pay good money to have something printed or made and not ensure that the grammar and spelling are correct? baffling.

mindyluwho said...

I'll comment after I've had my leisurely bath and when I've finished eating my bonbons...

Just kidding.

Beautifully said Michal. I'm so grateful to be able to stay at home with my children.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

When my husband was unemployed (for 8 months, two weeks after buying our first house) I spent SO much time looking for a job, and trying to come up with money making ideas. In the end I came to the same conclusion: it was cheaper for me to stay home and for us to live frugally enough that it saved the same amount as I could have earned. Plus, had I gotten a job, my husband wouldn't have been as free to look for (and finally get) a job. Now that we are more comfortable financially and the kids are getting a bit older I am making plans to go back to school. I know that I need to become prepared in case of emergency to be able to provide for our family, but I know I made the best choice at that time. That woman's MIL owes her an apology!!!

P.S. Please forgive my constantly bad grammer ;-)

nickandstaci said...

What a great post! Everthing was so wonderfully put. It is a shame all the people that do not realize how hard it is to be a SAHM. I am truly greateful that I am able to stay home with my little one. Even on the crazy days:)
So sorry about all my terrible grammer in my post! Glad you still read them!

Cornfields, children and waterballet said...

AMEN Sister! Oh no, that would be AMEN NIECE! Very well put!

It has been such a blessing for Daren and I to be able to raise our children with the schedules we have. The Lord has been good to us and has seen the desires of our hearts.

I believe that being a wife and a mother are two of the most important jobs I will ever have!

Bon-bons and soap opera's...that's what it is all about. :)

Yvonne said...

I am right there with you, thank you for putting it all so elloquently. (hmm, did I spell that right?) I have had the unique experience of working part time (two days a week) so that I can have the "luxury" of being a SAHM and do my full time job the rest of the days. I must say, that sometimes I think of going in to the office as my "days off". But I have also been on both sides of the fence...This year may be my last that I get to work part time and it will be a very tough adjustment for me and my family to have me gone every day, but it is one that I feel we must make. Either way you do it, working everyday INSIDE your home or OUTSIDE your home, it is a tough job and it is a juggling act!

Nicolette said...

Such an awesome post! It was so neat, and to see all the other posts in support. SAHM are amazing!

I too have to apologize for the grammar. At least there is spell check on these things, that helps a little:)

Martin said...

Please seperate your paragraphs to avoid the dreaded wall of text :)

Ferris Bueller reference:

If you can't be a stay-at-home-mom, be a stay-at-home-mom supporter.

Michal said...

yvonne,
thanks for sharing your perspective. i am so glad that you've been able to be home with your kids for most of the time. i know that it isn't a choice for everyone out there to be at home, and i'm glad that you didn't take offense, since my point was not to bad mouth working moms (i should say moms who work outside of the home as well!)
good luck with the juggling act. it's not easy, but devoting your best to motherhood will always be worth it.

Jenera said...

My hubby is a truck driver. We hit a point where I actively looked for a job and daycare because of our finances. But with him being for a week at a time, I was unwilling to put my son in daycare for the majority of his day-taking essentially both of us out of his life for the good part of everyday.

Sometimes, it's not cost effective for both parents to work. That does not mean that I'm a lazy bum-me and the boy are quite busy everyday.

Thank you for writing this post! Every mom needs a reminder of what is really important in life.

Suldog said...

You are RIGHT ON, Michal. Staying at home to raise your children should be honored, not denigrated.

It is my personal belief that nobody with the opportunity to do so should ever enter into parenthood without planning to have one of the parents be a permanently-at-home presence.

(Sometimes, circumstances dictate otherwise, of course. Death of a spouse, for instance. But, if you plan on having a child, you should plan on being there for it. Period.)

Anonymous said...

The only thing better than a SAHM is a SAHGrandma. Even more fun! I often wonder what I was thinking when I decided to work semi-fulltime. But since it means that I help my "daughter" to be a SAHM it's worth it. And besides, I see my g-kids regularly here at the office.

Cheers to your smart friend...M&M know what's right and I admire their courage in the face of adversity.

By the way, folks, don't worry so much about your grammar. It will never effect your friendship with Michal. She will be apoplectic in private and understand and appreciate you anyway.

Myrna Mom

Melissa said...

Michal- Thanks for this post. I really needed it. These thoughts are going through my head constantly right now. I have alot in common with your friend you were talking about in your post! Thanks.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Most excellent post! I am glad you took the time to write your thoughts on this manner, because I am sure a lot of women needed to hear this.

I am so grateful that I have been able to be a SAHM, and it has been hard, full of a lot of sacrifices, but also full of a lot of joy. My husband has been in grad school the entire time I have been home with kids, but the Lord has blessed us to make it work!

An Ordinary Mom said...

yeah, manner = matter ... that is what I get for blogging with my three year old pulling on my elbows :) !!

Rebecca said...

I can remember an exact quote spoken to me when my husband was laid off and looking for a new job. In regards to me working in lieu of being at home with my then 13 month old, "Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do it." Some people just stick their noses where they aren't wanted or needed!

I have been in this exact position and it's not fun. It isn't always cheaper to pay someone else to be "you" while "you" work. I did work for 9 months and made $8 bucks an hour. After I worked part-time and finished up my bachelors degree, my husband decided to go back to school full-time and it was time for me to quit. Otherwise I would have been paying to work because daycare is more expensive than what I was making...plus gas for my car, adequate clothing for work, and all the taxes they take out. Just silly. Sure, I could have found another job now that my degree was finished, but I wanted to be with my child and we took our bills and necessities down to a minimum and stuck it out until jobs and finances improved.

Good luck to your friend. It was a very trying time in our lives and it made us stronger, and more frugal.

Anonymous said...

Wow! what great support, what a great blog, I support SAHMs, and as a Papa I support, my wonderful daughter, and all, daughters-in laws.( Too many , s?)I know you still love me.

Papa,

Anonymous said...

Michal,

I know that this is WAY late, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your post. As a mom who has been both a "working Mom" and a SAHM, I can honestly say that it is much EASIER to work and be the mom than to stay at home and be the mom. However, the rewards that I receive from staying at home far outweigh anything I could ever get from working outside the home, regardless of the financial sacrifices that we have to make. Thank you again for posting something that really needed to be said, and as always, you did it so wonderfully.

Love,

Jana

Golightly said...

Don't hate me because I'm grammar-challenged! Seriously, very good post, thank you for speaking truth to your friend. She needed you at that moment. Ugh, I'm on the soapbox. It's hard, I work part-time because I have to at this point, but I work where my toddler attends school and I leave the office when I take him home (without extended day programs.)

Daycare is NOT the best parent, it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a family.

I came over from David Mcmahon's blog. Glad I did.

Maggie Mae said...

i pride myself on proper punctuation, but lately i defy all laws of capitalization. i hope you're ok with this. frankly, shifting every few words is a waste of my time, and probably energy too.

as a stay at home maggie, i support all types of lazy and irresponsible sahms. meddling mother in law, get a job. wait. no. that's not right.

so i felt like i should give back some of the comment love, but i didn't realize there would be such a long line. maybe that's why evan ventured over to my blog. shorter line.

Michal said...

maggie,
lol! when it comes to internet writing, i generally avoid capitals as well.
good luck with your stay at home maggie job.:) i look forward to your next post!