Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Stay-At-Home Shame

Lately, I have been on a tyrade about the stay-at-home gig. People are not acknowledging enough, obliging enough, or even proud enough of me or whoever they know who stays at home. I have bellowed on and on about how the stay-at-home housewife is the shame of society. That if I could only "Contribute to society" enough then I could be of some value. I could label myself by that noble venture, and leave the humiliating kid wrangling to someone else. I could even get acknowledged on Women's Day, because I'm so "successful". If only I had it all, a thin body, a burgeoning business, CEO of some NGO, and a mum of the fashionable 2ish kids, people would "ooo" and "aahh" about how I've got it all, the SUPER-MUM. Our celebs, the icon of "Super-mums", are people who burst babies forth from their perfect, unmarred bodies, then show up the next day for their runway show or movie. The rest of us who don't escape our jammies due to sleepless nights and days, dealing with our own children have a lot to live up to.
In the midst of this angst, I have realized how ashamed I am of my own job choice. I introduce myself as "just" a stay-at-home mum, awaiting the sound of crickets. I don't acknowledge my job enough, nor am I obliging enough to what I do. Being a mum of three is a choice that I made. I decided not to abort two surprise pregnancies, so I ended up with 3 under 3, an amount of children that seems preposterous to many sales clerks, and an irritation to everyone else in the shops. I feel the need to apologize for living, all the while resenting everyone around me for "making" me feel like that.
So, I am now beginning my journey toward accepting the true and inherent nobility of the job I do. It is a worthwhile one. I am raising my own children, doing the hard-yards, being bored sometimes, stressed other times, lonely, and tired at all times towards a noble end. I am doing it because it's right, because it's the best thing for them. It's the best thing for me. I've been given children, and it is my duty, privilege, and honour to raise them. I, and not some child care center, am meant to be the catalyst, good or bad, to help them become who God wants them to be. To teach them to love humanity, live with humility, and serve a mighty God. After all, that's a pretty big deal. So, Hello, I'm Erika and I am a stay-at-home mum. What are YOU doing to change the world?


Beth said...

You should talk to my Mum about this. It was her choice too.

Rebekah and John said...

AMEN! Preach it sister!!!! Woohoo for stay-at-home-mums! Was SOOOO angry last week when all that budget stuff came out and 'everyone' was talking about the dignity of work for mothers - implying that we should all be working (and of course, we lay around all day eating chocolate watching Oprah). That we can't have self-esteem unless we have a job, and that childcare centres are the best and only place our children can learn 'socialisation' (don't you hate that term - as if they're dogs that need to learn to sniff other dogs butts and not bite people), and that I should be spending most of the day, every day, away from my kids earning moolah for my big fancy house and extra-curricular activities for my super-socialised kids to lead a fulfilled life. What a load of crap. And a big load of guilt.
I think you're an AWESOME mummy, and I wish we lived next door so our kids could play (socialise - ha!) while we sat around all day staying-at-home.

Jen said...

Powerful post Erika. I completely value the job you do and only wish I could do the same in my pocket of the world. Your job is incredibly valuable, say it with pride and confidence! :)

You have made me think quite alot about my role in me childrens lives as a working mum vs my role as a stay at home mum in years past and I have decided to blog about it. It will be up on the blog on Friday. Do you mind if I link back here to your blog from there? as you were the inspiration :).

Chareen said...

In one word: Brilliant

wondering_sheep said...

Awesome. Just going through some of your posts. 3 under 3... *sob* totally been there!!! Totally felt all that. Thanks so much for sharing, you are such an encouragement!