I have been struggling. It sucks. I hate struggling, and I feel mad at myself when I struggle in this particular way. I start to question my choices. Am I even on the right path? Did I miss a turn somewhere?
I’m a stay at home Mom. I love staying home with my children most of the time, nay, pretty much all the time. And yet, sometimes I get these unbelievably painful moments where I despair at not being valued in the way that our society puts value on things, namely…with a price tag. I can get hit with this seemingly out of nowhere. A new neighbor came over and introduced himself to me yesterday. He was nice enough. Sorta. And I’m sure he didn’t mean to insult me when I told him that my husband was a teacher and that I stayed home with our children. His response? “Oh yeah? My girlfriend is pregnant and she’s never worked a day in her life.”
It’s hard when all of a sudden I seem to see myself through someone else’s eyes and I don’t rate. I was already in a funk when he said that…and the comment just made it worse.
It happens every now and then when I look around me. It’s really hard to not look around and catch myself thinking….Wouldn’t it be nice to have what so-and-so has?
The next step for me is to then turn that dialogue inward…and scold myself. It’s terrible. It’s horribly ungrateful, and between the longing for what others have, and the self loathing for that longing, it’s pretty much all I can do to not curl up in the fetal position.
Being a stay at home mother is such a privilege. I get to be home for all of the milestones, the precious moments, and the tough ones.
And yet, being a stay at home mother is a loss of wages. It’s a loss of prestige. In many ways it’s a loss of relating with other adults. I’ve been at dinners before where the other person can’t think what to talk to me about so they ask me about Tommy’s job. I’ve been doing this job for so many years now that I didn’t think it could blindside me anymore, and then all of a sudden it does.
Comparison is so incredibly odious. I’m sure everyone feels undervalued, misunderstood and just downright frustrated sometimes.
It seems so simple to try and tell myself that my choices are my choices. I chose to have a family before a career. 99% of the time I LOVE that choice. I enjoy my work. I gain great satisfaction and enjoyment from the laughter and development of my children. I love knowing their entire routine backwards and forwards and inside out.
Before Tommy and I were engaged, I told him that I wanted to be able to stay home with our children.
He was concerned. “You know I’m a teacher, right?”
I told him it was fine, and that we would find a way to make it work…that it was worth it. And it is….it really is.
And yet, sometimes I think of the other side. The road untraveled. These are the times when I feel conflicted. We have to count pennies. We don’t take vacations, except to see family. However, the boys are still so much in need of my presence, and I don’t think that we could afford daycare even if I were to head back to work.
On Wednesday Grace asked me “Are we middle class or wealthy?”
I should remember that the children have no frame of reference for societal prestige right now, and to just enjoy this time…but sometimes that’s just so hard.
What do you struggle with in terms of your choices in life?