Friday, January 6, 2012


Over Christmas break, I got the luxury of some time by myself... in the waiting room of a physician's office. Having a UTI is absolutely NO. FUN. AT. ALL. While waiting to give a sample in the lab, I sat down and glanced at the (short) stack of magazine offerings: Road & Track, Working Mother, or Golf Digest. I don't golf. I do drive a car but I'm betting they don't cover Cheeto-laden minivans in Road & Track magazine. So, since I'm a mother, I figured I was half-qualified to read Working Mother.

Staying home with our kids has always been the right choice for our family and thankfully, it has always worked financially. I'm so glad I have had the opportunity to be a homemaker. But at the same time, I have always been keenly aware of the loneliness that can go along with having companions under 4 years old.

Reading the Working Mother magazine, I saw articles about women who were mentors to their peers, made time for developing their professional skills, and learned (and practiced) a healthy balance between work time and family time.

I suddenly thought, "who are my peers?" Gulp. Do I even have any? I don't think the grocery checker counts, even though I see her more often than I see any of my friends. I know I help my children and I'm proud of most of the decisions I make as a parent, but I have to ask myself, "Am I really developing myself personally or otherwise?" The skills I practice: folding towels. Organizing the board game closet. Making baloney sandwiches.

This introspective bit is probably born out of the time of year. The beginning of a new year always makes me, like so many others, think about my goals. I make new plans for the upcoming year but I also think about whether or not I reached any goals that I set last year (I didn't). Then I look back on the last 2, 5, or maybe 10 years and ask myself: how have I grown? Have I changed for the better?

I want to make the lives of the people around me better. I really think I do that. I know I have certainly grown as a MOM and WIFE in the past 12+ years. But what kind of example am I setting for my daughters? Am I teaching them that they when they grow up, they can aspire to be an amazing.... towel-folder? Or they can be really great at the concept, "go along to get along"?

I don't think my life is bad at all. I have a sweet, faithful, honest, and hard-working husband. I have intelligent, healthy, beautiful, friendly children. We have enough money to buy what we need, but not so much that we forget to be humble. And certainly, what I have is enough. No, it's more than enough. I just keep wondering if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing with the gifts I've been given.

Sometimes I just don't know what I'm chasing.

Texan Mama


The Bipolar Diva said...

you're doing the most important job of all jobs....raising the next generation.

Gigi said...

What jumped out at me here was the phrase "...they can aspire to be an amazing....towel folder."

No, not as long as you encourage them to follow their dreams. And remind them that they have choices. You made a choice (a great and noble choice, I might add).

I've done both - stayed at home and worked. I stayed at home when no one else I knew did - I really had no peers. Luckily, you DO have peers - even if they are only online; we didn't have this luxury when I stayed home. Maybe one day you will go back to work; but in the meantime - enjoy your children (as much as they will let you) and the time you have.

Bridgett said...

Like Gigi, the part that got me was the amazing towel folder.

Someone has to fold towels. This is not our vocation but it is something that must be done. What I hope I give to my daughters (and son) is not the goal of becoming a mender of clothing, tidier of the living room, cook of all meals, but the idea of making choices that make sense for your family. It only made sense for me to stay at home with kids for a time. It will only be a time--my teaching certificate is up and ready to go in the autumn--but I believe, truly, that there is a time for everything. It is not my time to be in the classroom. It is not my time to be gone 10 hours a day at a job that sucks my life away and leaves me with nothing but worry and stress. It is not my time to sing in the church choir nor is it time for Mike to switch career paths. Our time is best spent how we are living now--me at home, him at a safe job--and one day that may change and I may sing in the choir. But for now, I wrestle Leo in the back vestibule at church, I fold towels, and I don't teach.

Jennifer said...

I think if you aren't sure then what you need to do is sent down with a blank sheet and come up with what it is YOU want to achieve. Not what you think you are supposed to or what other people think you should do, but what it is YOU want, and then that is what you set goals to work towards. From what I know about you I would expect that one of your goals would be to raise happy, healthy children that are good citizens. That's a great goal. Don't let your goals be discounted because they aren't the same as someone else's.

Who are your peers? Why other moms of course. You mentor the young ones that are just starting out with advice and encouragement. You are mentored by the ones that have already traveled down a road you are traveling now.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I have never, ever been a stay at home mom. I've also worked, been a student, worked two jobs, been a student with a job and vice-versa.

It was never a choice, always what I had to do.

I've also never read Working Mother magazine, or anything similar. Just an FYI there...

Lately, especially after a really nice, calm winter break, I've found myself a little jealous of SAHM or at my age SAHW. Truth is, it won't happen until I retire, and even then I'll probably have to work somewhere.

You reach people through this blog. Your life is probably busier than mine. And you're showing your girls they can do anything even choose to be a stay at home mom.

Nothing wrong with that.

Heather said...

I think we always need to remember that all moms are peers whatever our "job" is.

I think you are a role model for your girls in the most important things: working as a team with your husband and finding joy and fulfillment in whatever work you are doing.

January often makes us spend more time thinking about what we are not doing than we are doing!

Jennifer said...

Your peers are other moms- and even if you don't see them often in the real world, perhaps some land on your blog. And you are a seasoned mother and can offer tons of advice.

I was having a moment a while back of wondering if I would ever be able to get back in the work force when the kids are older. And someone mentioned something to me- to write down all the volunteer work I have done. I didn't even realize, I have been on the executive board of my non-profit community band that provides money and some service to the community. I co-chaired a scholarship committee for that same organization. I have also been secretary of my son's PTO and treasurer of my daughter's PTO. I have actually don't a lot of "organizing", "volunteering" and "spearheading". And I bet you have too. Keep track of it all.

Chy said...

I was told years ago that if I stepped away from my career as a mortgage officer to have a baby and stay home, I'd "never, ever" come close to getting back into the work force with a decent paying career job. I decided to take a chance when our precious baby was in our arms and I couldn't let her go.

Twenty-six years later, after twenty years at home and with my husband covering the last six years until he went back to the corporate world this past year, I haven't regretted a single moment.

And what did I do in between nursing babies and folding towels? Took classes, volunteered, often with kids in tow, and created a family resource centre from scratch. Created an amazing CV and six years ago, my husband was ready for a break and the most amazing position came up that I couldn't resist. I make more money than I ever dreamed of, I have the most incredible position that everyone else wants and although I'm fulltime, I get to decide when I will work each week. It's amazing and worth all the wonder and hard work when my kids were small. I spent the time with them that made me feel satisfied as a mother and now this time is for me and I'm satisfied as a woman.

And all those people who said I was stupid to give up my perfect job never really knew that in the end, mortgages was not my dream but helping people recover from trauma, grief and loss, and using my background in the arts, would be my dream.

Keep up the good work and know that what you do now is important and your future will unfold as your children grow.



Liesl Garner said...

Thank you! I love your blog. Just this weekend, I was thinking about needing to set up a Girl's Night with some other women. I love your writing style!

Bear and Bones Mama said...

Hey G - my mom was a SAHM and I am a working mother. She was the best role model I could have asked for - for both parenting AND my professional life. She taught me follow thru, decision making, and how to stand firm. She also taught me how to love, show kindness, disipline, show kindness during disipline (could use more lessons on that), cook, and of course how to fold fitted sheets and towels. You ARE a great role model, whatever your kids - the boys or the girls - end up doing when they are adults.

nicole said...

I've been feeling some of the same things. I'm going to Blissdom and plan to spend most of my time on the Life track, or whatever it is called. I'm hopeful for some clarity.

anymommy said...

I think it's human nature to strive and wonder and doubt ourselves. Your work right now is incredibly important and thinking about what else is out there, well I do it all the time.