Scary stories from a lovely place
Earlier this year a bible teacher whom I respect wrote an article about mothers who work outside the home. He is a pretty conservative guy and so I expected his article to paint the picture of working mothers in deep black and white tones. I was wrong; he went wild with the grey. The article was brief and basically said that a mother’s decision to work or to stay at home with her kids is a very difficult, emotive one, but that it is personal. The author warned women, (but he also included men), whether or not they were parents, of pursuing or prioritising career at the expense of family.
It was a good article, and I was happy that it wasn’t black and white, because the issue can’t be dealt with in this way.
Careerism is indeed a trap, but career stay-at-home mothers are also at risk. There are many traps in the realm of career motherhood, such as gossip, gluttony, materialism and laziness.
This is my biggest problem when it comes to staying at home with my kids, just pure and basic laziness. I find it too easy to drink endless cups of tea, eat delicious baked goods and read or do housework or cook or just watch my kids and talk to them. I’m not good at the whole stay at home mum thing. I’m rubbish at craft, I don’t have great ideas about how to grow my kids into little developmental geniuses and structured routines make me nervous.
This is a problem, because there’s a whole stay at home mum sub culture, which I can easily access on the internet, that I am therefore excluded from.
To survive the long gaps between waking and naptime and naptime and bedtime we have to get out of the house. The more time we spend outside the better. The park is my best friend. The rain, my enemy. The TV, a technological Judas. The pram, my partner.
I’ve often considered going to work because I wonder if my kids would be better off in the hands of someone more qualified and resourced. Indeed, I know some mums who feel they are better mothers because they work. Others who work part time say that their time at work provides them with much needed sanity. My decision to stay at home is a purposeful one, and so I stay.
But I’m doubting my decision at the moment. Obviously coming back from Dublin was always going to cause a bit of melancholia. And we’re potentially on the cusp of some big changes. I really like change, but only in hindsight. The process makes me feel childish. I’m also conscious of the daily way my kids are changing and growing. I feel sad when I realise cute things they do will be outgrown. I want them to hang on to those traits and curiosities forever, because they amuse and entertain me. Cutting Silas’ hair on our last day in Dublin was painfully emblematic of the unrelenting march of growth.
At least I can relish each moment that Silas wants the cow to jump over the moon, or Oisín needs to cuddle and not let go until he bites my collar bone. Beach, garden and hose time occur in abundance, sometimes all three in one day. Occasionally we enjoy a visit from someone lovely. Today Silas and I made scones while Oisín slept. While Silas slept Oisín and I built towers out of dominos. We did some productive gardening (amazing). I just have to keep away from those silly SAHM blogs.