Wednesday, April 30, 2008

questions and answers

Maybe some of all you SAHMs out there can help me with this.
I've been "not working" for 3 months now. We're out of the "newborn" phase (although we have moved into a strange new land of random fussiness). I'm getting "the hang" of this Mama thing. (And apparently, I'm "loving" using quotation marks for emphasis).
The question I get a LOT these days goes something like this:

"So what else have you been up to?"
or
"Does it feel strange to not be working anymore?"
or
"How are you filling your days?"
Folks, I just don't know what to say at that point. There are hundreds of sassy responses that run through my mind - but I'm thinking that might not be the very best way to go, especially since it doesn't really offend me. And sassy responses generally give that impression.
On the other hand, everything polite sounds awfully lame. For the sake of whoever is asking the question, I feel as though I want to give a glamorous, interesting answer. To fulfill the fantasy that exists in their minds' eyes of "Staying At Home."
Plus, most people aren't consciously trying to insinuate anything or to make me feel small. They don't mean anything by it. Just that they don't really understand. I know I didn't really understand this job before I was living it every day.
It's not glamorous. It's not all that exciting. It's repetitive. It involves things like "chores" and "housework." At the end of the day, my accomplishment is this:
(note that the pile on the left is Mark's, the pile on the right is mine. I'm just saying...)
And this:I am not ashamed of the way I spend my days. It is slow and busy, small and huge, calm and rambunctious, quiet and noisy. But mostly, it's meaningful. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. Somehow, the time flies. And even though I don't have a great answer to all the questions, I know there is value in whatever it is I "do all day."

4 thoughts:

Bethany said...

My favorite one is when they say, "Oh, so you're not working?" Um. Hello. Yes! I am working harder than I have ever worked before.

It's the most under-appreciated job on the face of the planet. If I can just KEEP UP during the day, it's a huge accomplishment. Shower, put away a load of laundry, fix lunch, clean up, fix dinner, clean up, try and go POTTY BY MYSELF! In the middle of all of it, we dance, play, sing, change diapers, eat, rock, read books, snuggle, bottles....it absolutely never ends. I have the most awesome hubby in the world, and I don't think he even knows how demanding it can be. But, the days fly, my boy grows up, and I don't even see it...unless I look at old pictures.

A year ago yesterday, we came home from the hospital. It seems like forever ago. What in the world did we do with our spare time before? We must have wasted a lot of it on nice dinners out, movies, weekend trips...

When they say, "Oh, so you're not working?" I simply let out an audible snicker and say, "Harder than I ever have before." Most of those people sent their kids to daycare to be raised by dumb teenagers working for minimum wage...don't forget that!

Hang in there!

Tiffany said...

Well... Im not a mom yet but I watch my friends daughter (since she was 6 months now she is almost 2) and I take care of their two dogs and home. So know exactly where you are coming from! You put it so much nicer though!!! What a wonderful job and I wouldnt trade it for anything! Have a blessed day!!!

Julie said...

I try not to let it bother me. It's mostly just small talk anyway. How else would one diferenciate with words between mommy work and a paid out of the house job?

Now that my kids are a just a bit past the baby stage I find myself thinking back to those early years. I wonder myself how I filled my days. In some ways they seemed easier than these days. There were more naps. Now I feel like I never sit. Sometimes I'll time myself and I'm lucky if I can sit for 5 minutes straight. But, each stage has it's trials and blessings and all are worth it!

It also reminds me of how I acted around people with children before we had children of our own. I didn't have a clue what they were going through. I can tell the difference in my conversations with other parents vs. people without children.

Julie said...

Oh, yea, I would always scoff at moms who took their children to school in their jammies. How could they leave the house like that!?

Now, I totally understand! Getting other people ready and out the door on time is more important than me changing my clothes before 8:00. And way more time consuming than I ever thought. Sure, there's days when I do my process before I get the kids moving, but I like to sleep so that doesn't happen everyday :)

At least I actually do shower and get ready for the day when there's friends of mine who stay un-dressed like that all day.