Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Stay at Home Mom

I've  been a stay at home mom now for almost three years.  I have noticed a lot in these three years.
1. Some mom's I talk to or follow on facebook seem to use house chores as a way of feeling accomplished and
2.  Most stay at home moms think that the house chores are all of their responsibility.

I've heard things like 'oh finally the kids are  napping I can actually get something done' or listing off this large amount of chores they will or have accomplished that day.  Some moms have mentioned that they have to clean so they can justify staying home (along those lines).  As much as I sometimes fall into that mind set I feel that it's just not right.

As a stay at home mom, my role is to take care of the kids.  That's why I'm staying home.  If I worked, kids would go to day care.  The day care people would not be cleaning my house.  They would only be caring for my kids.  So, if I were to send my kids somewhere else the house would still be messy.   So how did the stay at home mom some how get the all day task of watching kids AND cleaning the whole house?

Now, I will admit that its easy to do some chores while at home.  And that some times it's a matter of that it's the deal between the husband and the wife-- I'll clean the bathrooms if you mow and water the lawn.  And sometimes for me anyway, its easier that I wash the diapers or start and do laundry because I'm home. And sometimes I have time to do more and do it because it needs to be done.  But that doesn't mean that my husband shouldn't also have chores too.

Once and a while I feel that if I finish cleaning the kitchen or clean the bathroom I can mark the day as productive.  But the reason I feel that mind set is wrong is because as a stay at home mom my job is to take care of the kids.  Did I take care of the kids?  Did I play with them?  Did they get fed?  Did I take care of their needs?  And are they alive?  Well, yes, then your stay at home mothering job is COMPLETE.  Seriously.  That is the accomplishment of the job.  Anything else is extra!  I just don't like that thinking that chores equal a successful day.  Moms should more often think about what quality of life they are giving their kids and feel accomplished! 

For me lately, I have been measuring my accomplishments by opportunities to serve my vocation.  What can I do to become a better mother?  For me it's working on being more patient.  So I can ask myself questions like... Was I patient with my kids today while they were learning?  Was I patient when they thought something wasn't fair?  Then if I answer no I could think of ways I could change.  Now, that's accomplishing something. 

What are your roles at home?  And what helps you feel accomplished?


Lisa C said...

I feel being a mother is a very well-rounded job. It's playing with children, it's feeding/bathing/clothing them, it's teaching them a million things. What we teach them depends on our own values. One of the things I want to teach my kids is that we each do our part in keeping house. Of course the best way to teach is by example, so cleaning is a priority for me. I am teaching my child that it's important to clean. I can't ask him to clean up his messes if they rest of the house is a mess.

Clutter and messes also reduce my ability to stay calm and focused, and also makes cooking and eating meals less enjoyable. Clutter also affects the way children learn because it's harder for them to filter out all the extra junk they see. So yes, I do consider cleaning a part of my job as a parent. I'd love if I could have some help though--I don't think it needs to be all my responsibility, but we can't afford help, and Phillip is such a workaholic that I figure if he is actually relaxing, it's a good thing.

I don't, however, rate my day based on how much I got done. Sometimes it's all I can do just to survive. The best days are the days I feel good and have been able to interact pleasantly with Michael all day. In fact, the way I relate to him and Phillip are the most important indicators of a successful day to me.

Lisa C said...

I just want to clarify/add to my comment. You are right that our children's needs are the most important aspect of our job as mothers. There is no need to justify staying home to be with our children. Being there and interacting with our children is the most important thing we can do for them. If there are mothers who think they need to do chores to make their day successful/productive then they should reevaluate their priorities. I think raising the next generation is plenty productive! We should feel really good about ourselves for doing the most important job on earth.

Sheila said...

I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, my husband does not. Don't get me wrong, he's always willing to help out when asked, but I wish he had more of a sense of ownership about the housework. He just thinks being responsible for the housework is part and parcel of being a stay-at-home mom, and I was the one who wanted to do that, so why don't I "own" all the housework? Whereas I feel I "own" it during the day while he's gone, and when he's home in the evenings and weekends, it's for both of us to do -- just like it was when we were both working. Somehow, we found time. I HATE washing dishes on weekends. On weekdays I don't care because they're mostly my dishes, but on weekends I do find myself resenting that I am the one to do it, and that I have to *ask* my husband to help out -- as if it were a special favor instead of just what you do when you live in a house and use dishes.

Lately I've been buying into the SAHM=housecleaner idea a lot more, and trying to get more done during the day so I can say I made progress on it, but it does stress me out and it's important to keep in mind that alive kids at the end of the day means I'm doing fine. The downside to this is that whatever I don't do, no matter how awful the day, I'm just going to have to make up later. And I do like living in a clean house. It just seems there's no winning sometimes.

Brenda said...

Well, I can't respond to this as a mother, but I can respond to it as a wife.

I often feel the same way about my home. That 1950's mindset of my home somehow represents how good a wife I am is pretty ingrained in me. My husband is also of the mindset that the housework and all cooking is "the wife's" job, regardless of the fact I am working full-time and enrolled full-time in grad school. Sometimes, I judge how good of a wife I am by asking myself at the end of the day, "Is my husband still alive?" LOL

He is getting better. This term was very stressful for me, and after a couple times of leaving the house at 6:45 in the morning and coming home at 10:00 p.m. to find him sitting on the couch, having done no housework, and then he turns to me and asks, "What's for dinner?" I may have, uh, said some uncharitable things, loudly.

But I do feel like a messy house is a failure. Despite that fact that I am great at my job and excelling in grad school, that fact that the dishes are dirty and there's a huge pile of laundry gets to me as a wife. I feel like I should be able to do it all, happily,and without resentment. Even though I know that it's not a realistic way to feel.

Right now my wifely goal is to be more patient with my husband. I know that the women in his life haven't really even expected him to take care of himself in a domestic sense, so I am trying to guide him to have a little more ownership of the housework, and seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

It is a tough one-I guess I do think that part of being a stay-at-home mom is doing at least some housekeeping. I think partially because that is how I justify in my mind the fact that I plan on continuing to be a "stay-at-home-mom" even once my kids are in school and grown and gone. Lol.

But mostly I take care of my son, and if I get some cleaning done too, I consider it a bonus at this point!