Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What if believing is the difference

A few weeks ago, I decided to rededicate myself to the whole "stay at home mom" concept. I decided it had gone on long enough, all the angst and anxiety over whether I was fulfilled or if I was throwing away my life or whatever. Basically I decided rather than having one foot out the door all the time, I was going to be the best damn stay at home mom I could be. And I think it's working, at least as far as my own level of contentedness is concerned.

What I realized I needed to do was to focus on the "mom" part. This may sound really stupid and obvious to you, but I think it's really hard to see sometimes when you're in the throes of it. I am not staying at home with Marlo so that I can get the laundry done or the internet surfed. I'm here to help her learn how to be a person. Hopefully a good one.

What this has meant in practice is that I have had to try and reconcile with my old nemesis, patience. I am horribly impatient. I have exploded in rages of blind fury over such minutiae as the speed with which my husband fills his tacos. Guess how pleasant that extreme lack of patience makes day to day life with an almost 18 month-old? But since my rededication, I have worked at being better. I have tried to enjoy helping Marlo learn to walk down the stairs - rather than think oh my god hurry UP - I repeat this mantra to myself: what do I have better to do? Yeah, maybe I'm heading downstairs to get the laundry, but helping Marlo learn to walk down the stairs is actually my job, now, isn't it?

I don't mean this as some pious report from on high about how I am a better mother than you are. I'm just sayin' - I found the first 17 months of being a stay at home mom to be more of a challenge, more detrimental to my self esteem than I thought it would be. Over the past couple of weeks I've flipped the script. I rock with Marlo at naptime, her little head on my shoulder, still smelling like peanut butter and jelly from lunch. And I think to myself how grateful I am, how amazingly fortunate I am that I am the one who gets to be there in that moment with her, every day. At first I was only telling myself - but it didn't take long for me to believe it.


Layne said...

Well, this is the single most illuminating piece of parenting advice I've gotten in a month of Sundays, maybe longer. It's like that stupid "Enjoy the Journey!" phrase, only actually helpful, and not maddening or patronizing. Thank you.

tipsybaker said...

I agree with Layne, this is a great post. Do you ever feel that there's something depressing about the "stay at home" part of the term "stay at home mom?" Because SAHMs can and do sometimes leave the house.

Tori said...

Thank you both! It means a lot to me. This post has kind of been tumbling around my head for a while and I was proud of the way it finally came out. And there's definitely something depressing about the term. It implies a "lesser than" status. Kinda like how people always phrase it "do you work or *just* stay at home?" even when they don't really mean any disrespect.

Ei said...

Good for you! I hate when people ask what I do, and I find myself apologizing for staying home with Charlie. Inevitably, the words, "I used to work," make their way into the conversation. I leave out the part about how much I hated office life, with its false cheerfulness, and how much happier I am now that I spend my day getting kisses from a 21-month-old, even if my face does feel like it's covered in slug trails by the time he's done. Unfortunately, my husband would prefer I spend a little less time mothering, and a little more time cleaning the house. It is a disaster in here. I can't blame him. ha!