All About My (SAH) Mother

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.

GGC

22 comments:

MrsFortune | 10:16 PM

*Sniff* You guys are all so lucky ... well no, it's not luck really. What an interesting take. And I too think the whole "Mommy wars" thing is total bullshit. Feminism is about choice (to quote Lois Griffin.)

Mom101 | 10:19 PM

My mother, the die-hard no bra-wearing feminist, also chose to stay at home with us, then went back to teaching so that she could be home when we were. While this doesn't seem to be in the cards for me right now, how could I ever condemn any woman's choice, whatever that choice may be? I hear you. As always.

And the three-generational photo? Love. Your mother is beautiful, as are you--"inside and out" as my mom would say.

rhonda | 5:13 AM

Your mom sounds like such a great woman. Love the photo of the three of you. Great post!

Mrs. Chicky | 6:55 AM

You're a very lucky woman - and Archer is a very, very lucky boy to have such inspirational women in his life. Not only is this a tribute to the women who came before you, but you're teaching your son to respect all of the choices that a woman has or should have.

That's a beautiful picture of the three of you.

reluctant housewife | 7:02 AM

Great personal take on a topic that fires me up.

I'm a feminist who chooses to stay home and raise my child. I refuse to fight the mommy wars. I know that not everybody has a choice, and those of us that do can't win either. There's always somebody out there to make you feel like you're doing the wrong thing. So I have to do what I think is the right thing, knowing that there are consequences. And there are consequences to any decision.

I loved the link as well.

Amy | 7:43 AM

OK. I dont want to become part of the mommy war b.s. but I feel slightly slammed by your comment (and maybe I'm misinterpreting you so please correct me if wrong) when you write "women who choose to raise thier kids by themselves, at home...". Are you saying that women who dont stay home arent raising their kids? That's not fair. Of course they are. Its not about how much time you spend with your kids. You can stay home 5 days a week and still not connect with them. If you want to say that mommy wars are bs and clearly write a post that states which option works for you, be balanced. I want you to stay home if that's what works for you and your family. That's great, but dont women should have the choice but really one is better than the other..

dawn | 8:25 AM

The saddest part of this whole mommy wars to me is that a lot of the time the women who choose to work often justify it by saying, "I can't possibly afford to stay home." What they are really saying is, "I can't possibly give up cable t.v., a new car, dinner out, new clothes, starbucks, a huge house, etc", because those things are far more important than being at home raising my children. I grew up with 2 siblings and a single mom who chose not to work until I finished school. I thank my mom everyday for the sacrifices she made so she could be there any and everytime we needed her. We always had the best homemade halloween costumes and school projects. Thinking back it doesn't matter that I didn't have the REAL rebok hightops with the velro straps, because not being like everybody else has made me a more creative and better person than I would have been if I had to come home to an empty house everyday after school.

gingajoy | 8:25 AM

sometimes i think that the whole "mommy war" thing is something utterly fabricated to try and divide us. i am not a SAHM, but have an all-too healthy respect for the amount of work it takes. the problem is not that women are staying at home, the problem is that this work is not valued as equal (if not superior to) other choices of career. it's the same old story, unfortunately.

don't know if you read "Brain, Child" magazine, but it has a great editorial that completely debunks alot of the whole "mommy war" spin.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 8:59 AM

Amy,

totally misinterpreting me. totally not hating on moms who work. just trying to say that we decide what is right for us and that instead of bashing each other we should understand that we are just trying to do the right thing. "raising my child myself at home" is no slam on working moms and i agree that there are plenty of people who stay at home and do a lousy job.

sorry to have offended you.

Sabra | 9:28 AM

The second wavers are just pissed that they worked their whole lives to get out of the typing pool and now that women are gaining increasing equality in the workforce, us third wavers are choosing to stay home and raise babies instead. Second wavers gave us the gift of choice, but they shouldn't begrudge us when we make different choices than they would.

Amy | 10:06 AM

GGC, it's cool. Thanks for the response. I know you dont hate on working moms, the point I'm trying to make, which gets lost in working mom/stay at home dialouges is that maybe you had a really great mom. (Judging from your post it sounds like you did.) Maybe that's what makes the difference, not whether or not a mom is or isn't working out of the house.

J's Mommy | 12:35 PM

love this post. there should be no war at all. women should be supportive of other women - regardless of whether they decide to work outside of the home. whose business is it anyway?

MIM | 12:58 PM

I see that "babedom" runs in your family!

War? What war? I'm Switzerland, man.

Noelle | 2:15 PM

What a great post! I wish my mom didn't live 1000 miles away, because I definitely feel the need to give her a big thank-you hug right about now.

And MIM is absolutely right - your mother doesn't look a day over "hot damn!"

kittenpie | 2:46 PM

I agree that the wars thing is stupid and unnecessarily divisive. Because whether moms who go back to the workforce have to or choose to, they are doing what they feel is the best for their family and their situation, while moms who stay at home are doing exactly the same thing. It's just that their needs and their situations are different. I think it's just because people on both sides feel that others disapprove that they get defensive and the discussion turns ugly.

Kell | 3:30 PM

Your Mum sound amazing. I do not regret giving up my acting ambitions to raise my family. Although I dont think I will ever go back to it. I want to be at home when my kids come home from school and i want to do that until they are in high school and beyond. I just havent discovered what I want to do when they are all in school. Acting takes too much commitment. I would be content to work any part time job because my main job is mum. I love my kids and love the job I have chosen but I definitely my own person, not just a Mum.
Archer is the coolest name ever by the way!

Mimimom | 5:19 PM

What a great story about the generations of women in your family - I love the way you have made the connections of the ripples running through. I also had my mom around all the time as she was an artist who worked from home and I so enjoyed having her there. I'm a biologist who quit my job a couple of years back to stay home with my kids and it has been wonderful. Now I'm working again part time on something totally different (internet related) and enjoying the mix of adult time and kid time - I appreciate both more now.
Obviously there's no perfect scenario, only what works for each individual woman. I don't understand why people feel personally attacked by posts like this!

Awesome Mom | 5:58 PM

Love the post!!! I totally agree that my choice for my family is the best one that I could make. What is right for me may not be right for someone else but I should not get crap for the choice I made. I really enjoy being a mom and I am glad I can be at home with them.

Her Bad Mother | 6:11 PM

Lovely; really, really lovely. What a wonderful mom, who is no doubt bust-out-of-pants proud of her daughter.

I was inspired by my mom around staying home, too. She gave up a lot, but gave us (my sister and I) the greatest, greatest gift of her undivided time and attention. She was, and still is, my greatest feminist role model.

I continue to do things outside the home, but my work as mom/mommy/mother is now the most important thing in the world to me, as it was for my mother. (Blubber... sniff...) And it rocks.

Thanks for putting it so beautifully. And? Awesome, gorgeous pic of rad ladies and boy!

sunshine scribe | 11:08 PM

Great post and what an inspirational mother you have! It sounds like your son is benefiting from a pretty amazing mom too!

Bridgermama | 10:15 PM

What a wonderful tribute to your ma! I hope you share this with her. It makes me want to call mine.

the weirdgirl | 11:44 PM

Beautiful post, girl! (And beautiful pictures too.) I think you've hit it exactly.