Growing up my mother was a tour de force. She taught science, music, theatre, and art. As a musician she rocked on guitar and piano and wrote music for children's theatre. As an artist, she sculpted and sketched, our house wallpapered with her framed oil paintings. She worked and stayed home with us. As a mother, she attended every one of my school plays, all of my sister's flute concerts and brother's sporting events. She was always there. There to bust me when I did something stupid (which was often). There to comfort me when I was angsty and depressed (also often). She was the personification of comfort and safety. When I came through the double doors of our home she was always there to welcome me with a kiss.
My sister is going away to college in the fall and my parents will be alone for the first time in 25 years. Last baby to leave the nest, first grandchild born. We were discussing her future. Whether she would start working full time. Whether she would devote her days to her painting, concentrate her efforts on her music.
While most of my friends and other women my age are just beginning their careers, I am home with Archer. I am happy at home with Archer, with the life I have chosen, my spit-up soaked days, working when I can, trying to do it all. Like my mother, I do not feel deprived of an independent life (she never once regretted the fact she ended her career as a Biologist to hang with her kids.)
Because the point that seems to be missed with all of the mommy war bullshit is that the mother who chooses to raise her child(ren) herself, at home is not the antithesis of the "independent, modern woman." Beyond the tired stereotypes of women who define themselves soley as "mommies"(which I think is fine, btw) and the women who look upon children as "sacrifices" there is the happy medium of women, like my mother and a great many of you who crowd the space in the oval of the Venn diagram. I am inspired by these women and I believe our children are as well. I was. Still am.
It seems to me that through the history of society it has been proven time and time again that the ripple moves farther than the splash. It rippled from my mother, and her mother before her, still working full-time, writing books and touring the world at nearly 80. I come from a long line of working women who stayed home with their kids all the while. Perhaps we were all just lucky to have the flexibility to do so. Making a living while raising a child, making a life raising children for a living. All I can speak from is experience, my childhood and the life I lead the best I can. I do know that I am glad my mother was home for me and I hope I can be home for Archer as well, because for me it made a difference.
I suppose all little girls want to grow up and become their mommies, but I have grown up and nothing has changed. I look upon my mother for the same support and guidance. I look upon my son with the love passed to me through her eyes.