Monday, October 22, 2007

My Choice

Weird Google Search= "Babies with no arms and legs." Trust me, don't even ask.

Today's post has very little to do with writing, so feel free to skip it if you're not interested. I debated posting this at all, but it's been bugging me for four days now and as many of you know, writing something down often gets it to stop bugging you. That's why we writers are so calm. (Ha! Calm? Right.:))

Last Thursday I was checking my results on Sitemeter and someone had clicked on to my blog after Googling "I'm so tired of being a stay at home mom." (It says up in my banner that I am a stay at home mom and at some point I had a post entitled "I Am So Tired," that had to do with revisions.) It has been on my mind ever since because I am picturing some mother out there so desperately lonely and depressed they are sitting around on their computer looking for answers? Others to commiserate with? I'm not really sure what her goal was but it's pretty clear she is unhappy.

So why is it different for me? I love being a stay at home mom. I adore it. But maybe that's because it is my choice, not the situation I happened to fall into. I'm not unemployable--not in the least. I have a BA in Creative Writing and tons of restaurant management experience. (I could manage a creative restaurant, Ha!) I am a trained doula and I've actually worked for a small publishing company. At this point in our lives it would actually be very helpful for me not to be a stay at home mom. Law school ain't cheap.:) So why am I at home "wasting" my skills? Because I decided a long time ago--well before I got married and started having children--that this is what I wanted to do. It may be the only thing I've wanted to do longer than writing books. (Junior High on that one.) My mom was a stay at home mom and I loved that. Soon after I met my now-husband, he let me know that having a stay at home mom for his children was very important to him. A make it or break it issue, even. If I had expressed no interest in staying home with my kids, I don't know if he would have married me. Luckily, it was important to both of us.

Maybe it's different because I am more than just a stay at home mom. When I had my daughter (my first child) I wasn't quite so happy. I went from being the main breadwinner (my husband was in school and only worked part-time) to being the main money spender. I had a very easy baby who really didn't require much of my time and I'd gained quite a bit of weight during my pregnancy so none of my clothes were even close to fitting and I couldn't go out running because I had a baby I couldn't leave and my husband was rarely home during the daylight hours. When Aud was about three months old was one of the most unhappy times of my life. I had pretty much resigned myself to being a boring, fat, dowdy housewife. Honestly, I'm not sure what changed. But one day I was sitting around watching "Judge Judy" and my baby sleeping and the next, I was a different person. I decided that the only person keeping me from being who I wanted to be, was me. A lot of things changed at that point. I started writing my first book, I discovered Tae-bo and started dropping baby weight, I went for walks with Audrey, and read books instead of watching television. I am a stay at home mom, but that's only a part of me. I was letting that title take over my life, and one day, I took the reigns back. And I've never looked back.

I know women who are stay at home moms and would rather be working; I know working moms who would rather stay at home. I'm not trying to convince you of anything here or even say one is better than the other. There is a time and place for that and this is not it. All I'm, saying is that whatever you are doing, find a way to be happy. If you are a working mom who wishes she was home, bring your kids to work with you in picture form. If you are a stay at home mom who wishes she could work, find time to do something you think is useful. Find a hobby you love. Something.

Me being so happy as a stay at home doesn't mean I love my kids more than other moms. It doesn't mean my kids are better than other kids. In fact, it doesn't have anything to do with my kids at all. I'm happy because I took control of my life and found ways to make myself happy. It wasn't easy, especially not at first, but it was totally worth it. And now, I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's in the world.

*cough* In other news, Jodi is sending my YA out to editors sometime this week.



The Writers' Group said...

First, I'm sending good thoughts your way about the submission. Please, oh please!

Second, I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I expected to have a fantastic career (in publishing) and put my longed for children in excellent daycare. That was my plan until my daughter was born. Back then, I was chief-of-staff to a politico and my family needed my paycheck. But my baby needed me more. My husband agreed, so we took a vow of poverty and struggled through the ensuing years.

I've never regretted my decision, even when I feared I'd never have a room of my own. But you're right, Aprilynne, we create our own destiny. Here's to yours.

Amy MacKinnon

David L. McAfee said...

My wife, who spent five years (and six figures in student loans) at a very well known technical college to become the engineer she is today, would like nothing more than to be a stay at home mom when we have children. I'd love for her to be able to, but fiscal realities continue to ruin our best fantasies.

There is nothing wrong with being a stay at home mom if that is what you want to do (unless you are like my sister in law, who is a whole 'nuther thread entirely), and I think it's wonderful that you are perfectly happy doing the most important job of all: Raising your children.

Oh, and good luck with the submissions. :)

Michael said...

Well, I wouldn't know anythin g about being a "stay at home mom." If my son lived with me, though, I guess I'd be a stay at home dad, and I wouldn't mind that one bit - no matter how frustrating it can be at times. But it would be about the same as it is now, anyway, since he's in a boarding school at Maryland School for the Deaf and only comes home on weekends! And he comes to visit me just about every weekend.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear about the submissions. Good luck!

Liz said...

Wow, you could have been describing me there, except my first son was a difficult baby. Cried all the time for the first three months, and I was terrified to take him out anywhere because nothing I did would comfort him when he got into a crying jag.

I went from having the larger income while hubby was in grad school, to staying home with our son (something we had both decided on before we got married six years earlier). It was a huge change. But I did the same thing as you, and writing was a big part of it. Once I allowed myself to do something just for me, I felt so alive again, overnight.

Best of luck with the editors!

Liz (sinkfullodishes on AW)

Catherine J Gardner / Phoenix Rendell said...

What a sad thing to be googled? On site meter, google brings me everyone and his dog who types in frightfest (bored now!) and people researching multiple personality syndrome (name of one of my blog posts).

moonrat said...

see? sitemeter has changed your life...

Paula Reed said...

I stayed home for two years and wrote full time. I think that the key is you have to love what you do, whatever it is. Good luck finding the right editor for your writing! (And thanks for stopping by my blog!)

Anonymous said...

I'm a stay-at-home mom. I didn't have to give up a high-powered career, but I did give up a school that I started and ran (and taught at). But I knew that I wanted to be home with my children -- and although we've had some definitely lean moments, everything comes together in the end. Writing has made a huge difference in my own happiness levels! I had to find a place that was mine alone -- but I think that's true of any person :)