Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coming to terms

When I was small my mom didn’t work outside the home. She stayed home and raised up the four of us little girls. She cooked and cleaned and wiped noses and bums. She sewed and mended and did oceans of laundry. She planted and harvested an enormous garden and we raised chickens, pigs and had a milk cow. We didn’t have much in the way of material goods, but we managed to survive on Dad’s earnings, because that’s what you did.

She did a good job. We are all grown now and are all productive members of society, not an axe-murderer or druggie among us. I’m not saying Dad had nothing to do with it, he did, but that is a story for another time.

My husband’s job takes care of the lion’s share of our living expenses. I am able to work part-time from home and make up the rest. I work 16-20 hours each week. The rest of the time I devote to raising our son and keeping up with household chores. When I tell people I am able to stay home and be with Liam for the most part, they tell me how great that is and how much better it is for Liam and how lucky I am.

So my question is this: If I am so lucky, and what I am doing is a good and honorable thing, why do I feel as though if I don’t accomplish something absolutely concrete each and every day, I am being lazy and useless?

The benefits of reading, teaching and playing with Liam will not reap rewards for many years. It is impossible to visualize what, exactly, if anything, I am accomplishing today.

Why am I so conditioned, so attuned, to production, production, production? Has today’s society convinced me if my occupation is Mom and my goal in life is a strong, confident kid that that is just not good enough? I must have loftier, more concrete and career-minded goals. If that is indeed the case, why? And why do I as a wife and mother buy into it? Why do I, an intelligent, thinking human being, belittle my own aspirations of raising a child who is more confident, intelligent and creative than I?

It seems I am constantly questioning our decision for me to work part-time and spend the remaining hours each week with our son. Oftentimes I feel as though I should be toiling away at a full-time job, barely bringing home enough to pay for the childcare that would make necessary. Then I stop myself and think; this is ridiculous! Why would I do that and let someone else raise my son?

I play this mind game every day. I force myself to let go of this craziness and do what I need to do and want to do and say the hell with anyone else’s ideas of what I should do. Thankfully CJE is here to keep reminding me of the value of what I am doing and the reasons we made these choices in the first place. Somehow I need to stop this insanity I am putting myself through. I know it is stupid and nuts, but for some reason each morning I am right back where I started from the day before.

I wish I knew the answer that would ultimately give me peace with my choices, but until I do . . . I’ll just have to keep battling down the demons every day.


Doozyanner said...

Hang in there. What you're doing is so very important. These years with a toddler will fly by--and when Liam is busy with music and sports and teenage angst, you will be glad you had this time with him. (I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Since that wasn't to be, teaching in a small town gave me the second best option.)

WV: quitzat
Quitzat worryin'! You're doing a great job!

Odie Langley said...

Yes please hang in there girl. My youngest daughter is able to stay at home with my 2 grandsons and it has made their developing years so much better having her there for them each and every day. What you are doing is soooooooo important.