Friday, January 2, 2009

Staying at Home and Loving It?

At least ten of you noticed the poll I had on the sidebar last week. Most of you voted that being a stay-at-home parent is the hardest job you've ever had, a couple of you voted that you have a love/hate relationship with it and a few others had comments in between. For those of you who voted (and those who didn't), I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Being a SAHM mom, for me, is the hardest job I've ever had. I like being a SAHM. I do not love it. There are times of tremendous joy and times of guilt and frustration. There are no coffee breaks, no quiet moments at a desk with a hot cup of strong coffee. No lunch breaks, no vacation or sick days. Your boss: Demanding toddlers, emotions flipping from wonderfully happy and loving, to whiny and miserable, often unable or not open to reason.

It can be very rewarding. You are there for all the firsts. First smile, first time rolling over, first words, first steps, and so on. You catch all the really endearing and smart things that come out of their mouths. You raise your kids your way. You know exactly what is going on in their daily lives, which isn't always the case when they spend nine-ten hours daily at a daycare. You have the freedom to go where you want with them, when you want. They grow before your very eyes and you feel pride in knowing it was all you.

On the other hand, as a fellow blogger recently wrote, "It's like being hen-pecked." Often, you don't even get bathroom privacy. You find yourself trying finish your bathroom, um, duty, with kids trying to climb on our lap or running in to tattle. You are on call 24-7! You spend your entire day troubleshooting toddler antics, soothing, wiping, feeding, entertaining and sometimes, you find yourself wishing nap time would come already - just so, you can have some private time and room to breath. Surrounded by toddlers day in and day out, there are times when you feel trapped in your own home, mentally unstimulated (due to lack of adult conversation). Especially when your spouse is away and it's a rainy or snowy mess outside. Again, it's all on you. All the time. And, when you don't make a good decision about something or find yourself yelling at your kids, that's all on you too. Your patience and sanity are always being tested.

It's just not always a fun job and I think we deserve the luxury of complaining (venting, whatever you want to call it) about it from time to time. That's why we have blogs and networking channels online. When stay-at-home parents blog about the tremendous joys and trials, we find an online community of support. Blogging helps us feel better. We can laugh and cry along with other parents. Do you know how good it feels when someone blogs about the very thing that's been on your mind? You find relief and comfort in knowing you aren't alone!

I've heard, through the grape vine, that some people feel that I complain too much about mothering on my blog. I thought about opening up a blog that was just pictures and cute quotes. However, I decided against it.

If you click on many of the blog links on my sidebar, you'll find that many of the bloggers share exactly what I share: Joys and trials. We rant, rave, brag. Some of us blog in great detail (me) and some are a bit vague or abbreviated when it comes to sharing their trials. That doesn't mean they are having an easier time. They just chose to be more private about it or don't use their blog as an outlet. Each blogger has his or her personal style. For many of us, our blogs are online journals of sorts. I'm one of the ones willing (and wanting) to share all the wonderfully happy times and the not-so-great times.

Embracing toddlerhood. One hug, one laugh, one milestone and one tantrum at a time!


The Dunns said...

Good post. You really got me thinking.

Yes, being a SAHM is the hardest job I have ever had (except maybe that truly awful job working in a granola factory in Eugene when I was 16, but that only lasted 2 weeks) and I do have a love/hate relationship with it. It has challenged my ability to live out the Fruit of the Spirit more than any thing else ever has. (Galatians 5:32 - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)

I think my biggest struggle comes not with the kids (they are entirely age-appropriate) but with me (why can't I be a better mother -- why is it this hard "for me")? But, thankfully, I know it is not just me. It is an almost universal condition.

I'm one of those bloggers who does not reveal a lot of struggles in my blog. It's partly because of my personality (as an introvert, I prefer to reveal myself carefully, face to face, only to a select few) and partly because the purpose of my blog is more like a family Christmas letter and less like a journal entry. But I appreciate and enjoy your blog and the way you make your life (joy & struggles) available to us.

Keep it up!

Angie said...

Some days I think I must be the worst mother ever and wonder why it seems so easy for everyone else. Some days I think I have the world's best job and really I just get to dork around at home. Some days I want my kids to just grow up and start school already. Others I want them to slow down darnit, because before I know it they are going to graduate from high school.

I don't want to put everything "out there" on my blog, in part because it is public and anyone could read it and partly because I really just do it so my family can see photos of my kids. But, sometimes I just need to write what I feel. Also, I want to show a realistic view of our life.

Katie said...

Yes yes YES!!! Sing, it sister!

I started the blog as an OUTLET. When I feel things starting to ratchet up around here and my sanity starting to go....I BLOG! And I feel better. Instantly. It makes me get a grip on the situation. It helps me process what is going on. It helps me laugh about it. Writing has been PROVEN to be therapeutic--over and over. And that is why I blog. It is my therapy.

And I agree about everything you said about parenting. I love my kids and love some of the really special moments I have with them. But I find being a SAHM to be a completely thankless and frustrating job!

And, the best part about blogs is that if people don't want to read what I write, they don't HAVE TO! I am not emailing it to people. I just put it out there FOR ME. And I love getting feedback from others in my same boat!

Tara and Jeff said...

You don't know , but may have seen me at Amie and Jay's wedding. I've been friends with them for a long while now and they are the Godparents of my son. Your blog really helped me this morning, I've been struggling with some fears and inpatience through my job as a SAHM . Though I love my child and my husband more than anything I can think of, I feel at times I fail them miserably. Thanks for blogging about this.

VermontMommy said...

Great post. I think everyone has felt highs and lows of being a mom. I think blogging is the new way to journal. I think it is great that you are able to open yourself up to the world. I go back and forth so it is nice to see someone that is able to share thier tales of motherhood.

Things that I repeat over and over...

"What does not kill you will make you stronger."

"This too shall pass."

"Keep calm and carry on."