I was recently informed that since I am a stay at home mother who, gasp, needs help from her hardworking husband from time to time with things like the lawn and laundry, I am lazy. According to the feminist narrative, since I do not work outside the home for money, my husband should really put his foot down with me. The assumption is that beyond feeding and dressing babies and cooking, I do nothing besides sit back and watch my cash cow of a husband provide for my every whim. And while my husband is very generous with his help and has been known to do late night cheeseburger runs, I know this is untrue. I know that I am making people, molding souls and ensuring that my girls have a happy place to call home. I know. Then why does it feel like such a slap in the face?
I suppose it’s because my interior monologue is riddled with self doubt about how well I’m doing as a Woman (TM). I don’t bring in any money, which we need. I can’t drive, though I am working on that. My house is not a showplace, but since I only have one small baby at home all day while big sister is at school, according to some it ought to be. The fact that it isn’t, and that I do feel badly that I hardly ever make myself write, despite the fact that I want to write, shakes me up when I’m confronted with worn out feminist claptrap.
Here’s the thing. I can talk the talk about how wonderful at home motherhood is. And it is wonderful. When I really think about it, there is absolutely nothing I would rather do. It’s hard work, particularly emotionally, but most things worth doing are hard work. My angst (and it’s definitely angst, not to mention agita) comes from the omnipresent prevailing narrative that choosing to stay home with your kids is less than good. It’s a waste, a second best choice, a symptom of patriarchy, the only option for loser women who can’t cut it in the real world, or who are just plain lazy and selfish. I admit, I am often lazy and frequently selfish. But not with my children. I could get the house spotless, day in, day out, if I restricted their movements and ignored their pleas for attention. I could have the worlds most immaculately kept yard if I could only keep them in their room for at least three hours a day. In the long run, though, while I love having a clean house and pretty garden, I think I’d be more upset at having children who wondered why Mama was so mad at them so often, or who didn’t pick them up when they cried. I don’t like to sound like something off of Sanctimommy, but I do like to think that their emotional well being trumps some disgruntled feminist’s ideas about what is appropriate behavior for women.
What do you do when someone in your life gives you a hard time about what you do? Chime in!