Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My blog: My opinion

I have something to say that has been stewing in my mind for a while now. I want to share it with you with the disclaimer that this is my opinion, so read it or not.

What is so wrong with a woman being a "stay at home mom?" It just baffles me that this has become such an "abnormal" occupation.

Two years ago, due to a lack of child-care, we decided as a family that I would become a "stay at home mom." What we thought would be a tremendous sacrifice has actually turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to our family! Those two years that I worked outside the home are a blur of events, sicknesses, tired days and night, and these two years I have been home are full of memorable family dinners, evenings spent playing together, and family celebrations that we weren't too stressed or tired to enjoy.

It is sad to me that all girls are expected to choose a career and earn a degree before they consider marrying or having children. There is a reason that some girls have the desire to marry and have a family is because it is the natural order of life on earth. Some girls even attend college, and just choose a career because it is what they are "expected" to do and what their parents want for them. They will "lose any support" if they get married before they walk that stage and get their degree. Why? The parents want her to have a "backup plan" or to be "financially independent?" This raises several questions. Did the parents not raise their daughter with the intelligence and know-how of choosing a husband? That then falls on the shoulders of the parents...they should have addressed that before college! As far as being financially independent, unless the daughter happens to make it all the way through a very high paying degree program, (mostly likely requiring overwork and overstress), then I wouldn't count on the "financially independent" thing to pan out. Have you ever tried to balance a family's budget on a teacher's salary? If something bad happens in the marriage or to the husband some years down the road, she is probably going to need your help what's the big deal about financial independence? It is feasible to make as much working as a fast food manager as it is working as a teacher or social worker, or even a nurse in some cases.
So...if a woman does not feel called to any particular degree program....why push away the thought that she could be best in her field of calling: motherhood!
It could be that all those years spent in college will take her past the best years for her "creating" a family for herself...thus all the reproductive woes that afflict many families.
Back to our situation. My husband's work brings him in contact with many people across the country. They usually end up "small talking" it a little. On more than one occassion he has been given responses of "pity" for me when he says I am a stay at home mom.
They wonder if I feel like I am "missing out" by not being able to work, use my degree, "contribute financially" What has caused the shift here? I think probably many years ago that the same response would have been given if he had shared that his wife worked outside the home. It would have been seen as if he was unable to provide for his family for some reason.
Why is it that women who stay at home are still looked down upon? Does there need to be a "women's lib" movement to "liberate" women to be able to stay home without criticism?

Families are so busy. They don't have time for dinner together, or time to keep the laundry clean, or the house tidy, or to sit down and talk to their kids when discipline is needed. They don't have "time" to create routines or to create memorable traditions in their family. This is what is accomplished through the simple of act of my staying at home. Not to say that it needs to be is just that in our particular marriage, this is what works for us. A women shouldn't be considered to be wasting her time or talents doing these jobs. It is rewarding. It makes for a happy home. What is your life all about anyway?

Now here is where I have a real problem and I may really light some fires if anyone ever reads this...I mean no offense, but I take offense greatly at this statement: "I couldn't stay at home with my kids all day, I would go crazy! It is good you can do that."
WHAT??!?!? If that is your opinion, then you shouldn't be having kids. If they are so annoying that you would rather be at work than spending every moment you can raising them, then please don't have kids! It could be that they annoy these people so badly because of the lack of time they actually spend with them. Maybe they behave badly or have all these annoying habits because someone else raises them while both parents have their careers and paychecks. I would rather have my family than a paycheck any day! If a parent will give it more than a week during school break, or more than a summer vacation, they could learn that they could be happy spending time with their children. It just takes time to establish the routines and relationships that make time together enjoyable!

Here's another excuse given for both parents working: we need the money, we couldn't make it on one paycheck.
I call that "crap." Anyone can make it on whatever budget they have with enough discipline. Maybe they couldn't support their "current" lifestyle with one paycheck, or afford the two nice cars, the expensive meals, etc. But, I believe that if a family is determined to have one parent at home to keep the family sane, then it can be done. It may take a bite out of their pride, but it CAN BE DONE. Now, debt is a major issue here. Some families may be so far in debt that they have themselves in a trap that requires both parents to work. I am not a financial advisor, so there.

I guess I should get back to the topic at hand: women being pushed too far. Why are there so many broken homes? Well, my opinion is that the family was broken far before it became official. Both parents are tired, the kids are crazy, there is no unity in the home, the kids allegiance is to school and their peers not to the parents and home, etc etc. The marriage is weak because the parents don't get any "time" together because they are so stressed, busy, and they never see their kids so they don't want to sacrifice that obligatory family time to actually have a date night.....
I strongly believe that if more families would "sacrifice" that career or paycheck for a while to actually raise their children and support their homelife, then there would be a lot more happy people in the world! Maybe there would be less angry teachers because they aren't giving up their families to raise other people's kids. Maybe there would be less mistakes made in hospital rooms because the nurses wouldn't be too tired from juggling too many responsibilities. Maybe there would be less children with stress related illnesses because their mom or dad is present during the formative years of their lives. Maybe there would be less teenage rebellion because the children have had support from parents, involved parents who have taken the time to form a relationship with them rather than "provide" for them in ways that aren't as important as they think. Maybe there would be less abortion because the girl wouldn't feel like it would ruin her life or her family would reject her as being a "mom" instead of a doctor, lawyer, etc. Maybe there would be less divorce because one mate would be in the position to support the other rather than play the "who does more around here" game. Maybe there would be less infidelity because the parents actually have time to nurture their marriage. Maybe there would be less debt because people would live in their means because they HAVE to. Maybe there would be more moral people in the world because someone in the family actually has the time to teach it, and live it for their kids.
I am not an expert. I do not claim to be 100% fool-proof. I do not claim to have the answers. As I said, this is my blog, my opinion.
Just think about all this the next time you meet a stay at home mom. Or, if one of your child's goals is to have a family and children, but to not go to college. Which would make a bigger difference in the world? Another underpaid teacher, overworked nurse, overstressed doctor? OR how about some well adjusted families? Now THAT is something the world definitely needs more of!

ANTI-FLAME CLAIM: I am sure there are plenty of examples of families in which both parents work and their kids are fine. They eat together every night, blah blah etc. Well, I would be willing to bet this is not the majority. If you think it is, then you have not been out of your house in a while.....


Amy said...

I love it! Great blog, Carrie! I am one of those women that felt called to being a wife and motherhood and waited on my degree! Once they are all in school, I will go back and finish what I started but honestly, I will probably never use it! God has blessed our family so much by me being able to stay home. I am so encouraged by what you stated in your blog! :O) You are awesome!

andysbethy said...

You are starting to sound like one of the Binkley girls now. I love it! Some people make it work, but I am certainly glad I am able to be a stay at home Mom, and do not feel the need for people to be sorry for me. That has been my life goal ever since I can remember, and my parents supported me completely. I did get my degree first, but that was just because I was waiting for "Mr. Right", and God didn't send him to me until I was a senior in college. Hopefully I will be able to stay home with my kids until they are grown. It makes me happy, and it makes my kids happy, and that is enough for me.

Amy said...

PS: I am glad I am not the only Mom who took a ton of pictures of my kids playing in the snow! Love the shots! They are awesome!

Aura said...

Woohoo! Now that was a good rant. You could probably guess my feelings on this issue, but I'll tell you anyway :) Anyone who feels their calling is to be a stay at home mom should do it - and give the "big mouths" an earful if they don't respect her choice! Same thing for women who want a career. Personally, I'm not ready to settle down and take on the responsibility of a family just yet, so my degree is providing some nice working capital for now. However, when I do get ready to have kids, I'll be dead before I let someone else raise them (i.e. daycare, schoolteachers, and other assorted strangers). I don't think I would have kids if I didn't know that either myself or my husband would be staying home to take care of them the majority of the time...