Where’s Miss Stevens?

Yesterday at church, when I dropped my daughter off in the nursery, her usual teachers weren’t there. There was a sub. She seemed nice and competent (and was) and Curly Haired Baby ran off to play. I went on my class.

A few minutes later, I heard her distinct screams. I waited it out, but she got louder. I was so far down the hall from the nursery that I knew she was loud for me to hear her. I couldn’t stand it and  went to check on her. She and another little girl were upset, they weren’t sure why. So I stayed and figured I might as well help out while I was there. I work in the nursery once a month during the service, so some of the kids are comfortable with me. One little girl in particular, who’s older than Curly Haired Baby and can actually talk so you can understand her, kept asking me tearfully, “Where Miss Stevens? Where Miss Stevens?” Miss Stevens is the usual teacher.

I started thinking about it and I wondered if that’s why Curly Haired Baby and her friend got upset. They wanted their usual teacher. Yes, the sub was great, but she wasn’t Miss Stevens. That lead to me thinking about daycares. At most daycares, the workers have a high turnover. (You would too, if you’re paid the way most of them are.) This has got to be confusing and distressing to the kids. If kids get upset about a new teacher they only see once a week, the constant turnover at daily daycare has to be scary. Only most of them are too young to be able to verbalize it.

This is the part that frustrates me about being a SAHM. I’m supposed to turn my precious little one over to a revolving door of strangers who are considered more “expert” than me to care for my own child. Yes, there are good daycares. I’m not totally against other people caring for your child (I wouldn’t utilize the church nursery if I was), but all day, every day is a bit much. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Why are we pretending? Why are we trying to convince ourselves that daycare is good for our kids? Yes, at times it may indeed be necessary, but that’s not the ideal. Why can’t we just admit that?

I realize we don’t live in a world where everyone can be a SAHM. But I do believe that a lot of working moms here in America can cut back at work, take a job with fewer hours, or even quit entirely. Not every mom. But most. At least consider it while your kids are preschool age. And for the record, we’re not rolling in dough ourselves. We have a hard time living on one salary, especially when Curly Haired Husband lost his job last year and was out of work for 7 months. But it’s important enough to us to have me at home that we’ve cut out things most families today take for granted. (That’s why it took me a year to get a working dishwasher.) Cars and toys and clothes are temporary. Kids are not.

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Published in: on April 7, 2008 at 7:41 pm  Comments (1)  

Resentment

I was reading some the of the sweet comments I’ve received on my posts and thinking about my Mercedes-loving friend, and I realized that I am resentful of the things I’ve given up to be a SAHM. I know I’m doing the right thing, but I would like a new car or a bigger house (or cable).

I wish the people who tell me how lucky I am to “be able” to stay home saw that. I wish they saw how much we don’t have; that it’s not easy. I don’t want to feel this way; I don’t want to be resentful. I believe what I’m doing is biblical. Curly Haired Husband is completely supportive, even though he’s having to work overtime and he’s had to give up things I know he wants (cable, anyone?). My family and inlaws are supportive. But I still feel somewhat resentful.

I’m trying to find the joy in homemaking, but our society in general belittles it. I guess I’m used to getting “rewarded” for a job well done: a promotion, a raise, a good grade. Those things aren’t coming for the SAHM. My final project won’t be complete for some time.

When I’m feeling the most resentful (usually when I’ve just run into a well-dressed friend with an SUV and a working dishwasher), I try to think about what it would be like to drop Curly Haired Baby off at daycare. Or worse, what it would be like without her at all. My mom has a good friend who has all the expensive toys: luxury cars, a beach house, ability to travel, money in the bank. But she has no children, by choice. Yet she can’t even look at photos of Curly Haired Baby without getting upset at what she gave up.  That’s what I need to remember.

Published in: on March 21, 2008 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cars vs. Kids

I’m going to rant about something here. I have a friend who has spent several years trying to have a baby. She’s had all kinds of fertility treatments and spared no expense. She and her husband recently adopted a baby. That part’s great. I’m happy for them. What aggravates me is that she’s immediately gone back to work. The baby has gone to a special “school” daycare. Because her husband bought a Mercedes.

I know there are situations where women have to work outside the home because of health, insurance, being a single mom, true financial need, etc. This isn’t one of them. They’d rather have a luxury car than their long-awaited child have his mother at home. That drives me crazy. Why are we pretending? Why don’t we just admit that a car is more important than the well-being of our children?

There are many times I don’t like being a SAHM. I miss having adult conversations; I miss not having sticky, gooey fingers on me at lunch. I get tired of cleaning up the same messes time and again. But this is what is best for my child. And I’m sure not going to trade her well-being for something as temporary as a car. I just don’t understand why someone would want something so bad and spend so much money trying to attain it, then immediately turn it over to someone else. Because let’s be honest; that’s what’s happening here. Why don’t we see that while daycare may always be necessary, it’s not the ideal? Let’s don’t fool ourselves into thinking it’s somehow better than Mom being at home with the kids. It may be necessary at times, but it’s not superior. Why don’t we see it as regretful that some mothers have to work? Why instead do we see it as regretful that some “miss out” or “fall behind” in the working world while home with their kids?

When we’re 85 years old, are we going to be telling the old ladies at bingo about how great our jobs were, or what luxury car we drove at age 30? Or are we going to be bragging on our kids? Shouldn’t that tell us what’s important?

Published in: on March 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Where Have All the Housewives Gone?

Recently I attended a bridal shower for a relative. Out of fourteen women, I was the only one home with my child. Most of the attendees were teachers. The older ladies eagerly discussed retirement and how bad their working lives were. The younger ladies, including the bride, were just starting out in their careers and surely couldn’t have been encouraged by that.

I found myself with absolutely nothing to talk about. I had nothing in common with any of them. I was asked by an older lady if I worked. When I replied that I stayed home with my baby daughter, she asked if I enjoyed it. I said I did, but sometimes missed my lunch break. She immediately reassured me that soon my Curly Haired Baby would be in school and I could go back to work. At this point, my mom spoke up and said excitedly, “She’s going to homeschool.” The silence was deafening.

Yes, I realize that these were teachers, whose jobs depend on people not homeschooling, but really. They had just discussed how bad the schools were, how much they hated their jobs, how they wished they could retire, etc. Yet, they’re totally threatened by homeschooling and someone doing something considered “counter cultural.”

It’s depressing to me that I have nothing in common with anyone I encounter in Real Life. I know other SAHMs. They’re all talking about how much they can’t wait to get back to work. I know other Christian women. They’re not much encouragement. Where are the Titus 2 ladies? Oh, wait, they’re at work. I believe in being a helpmeet (not a doormat, a helpmeet) to my husband, to being a full-time, at-home mama to my kids, dressing modestly, and living frugally. My house isn’t spotless and my kid isn’t perfect (although my Curly Haired Husband is pretty cute). I’m not Supermom and I don’t want to be. I just want to have something in common with someone!

Published in: on March 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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