Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Are SAHMs Setting Themselves Up For Failure?

I was curious to read reviews on Amazon regarding a new book on motherhood called "The Feminine Mistake" by Leslie Bennetts. I had heard that it's quite a controversial read. After reading the reviews, it peaks my curiosity even more.

The basis of the book is that if moms give up their careers to have children, they are setting themselves up for financial disaster. She seems to feel as though moms must keep their high-profile jobs because the likelihood that they'll divorce and be responsible for themselves is extremely high. From the reviews that I read, she references women who are in extremely high paying jobs and probably wouldn't have a financial problem even if they did quit their jobs. She also appears to say that stay-at-home moms are lazy, unfulfilled, and needy.

I myself do work outside the home. I also work inside the house. I chase around a three- and two-year-old, I have dishes to clean and laundry to do as well as picking up countless toys. I see my part-time cashier job as a break from being at home with the children. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being home with them and I love the fact that my part-time income at least keeps food on the table, but I also love having the time away from home.

Did I quit a high-powered career? No. Did I quit something that would have been financially secure had I stayed at it? No. If my husband and I ever split, I will probably have to work two jobs to make ends meet; before or after kids. So I wish that I could be home with them full-time? I practically am now; I only work 20 hours a week. I do know that sentimentally, I'm glad that I spend the time that I do get with them. I've been able to see my daughter use the potty for the first time and my son mumble his first word (amazingly it was tickle!). Had I been off at a full-time job, the day-care provider would have been there for that. Somehow, to me, that's wrong in so many ways.

Maybe what's wrong with this world today is that not enough parents (moms or dads) are willing to give up their "identity" to raise their children. When I became pregnant with our daughter, I knew I would no longer be the same person that I was. I am defined by who I was and who I am now. I was (and still am sometimes) a very free spirit with her own thoughts and did pretty much as I pleased. I am now a wife and mother of two. I'm proud of that. When I married my husband, I gladly took his name. Taking his name didn't change me...it became a part of me. When I gave birth, I dreamed of the day that my child would say "mama". That is also a part of me.

Having children changes all kinds of things. Ninety-nine percent for the better. There is a small part of me that misses the freedom that I had pre-kids and the jobs that I held. But then, I look at my two beautiful children who are smart, creative and, most of all, ACTIVE and realize that all that I gave up is worth it. I turned out OK. My mom was stay-at-home and she went on to go back to school and have a new career at age 55 from which she is retiring from today. If I can do half the job she did...

1 comment:

Expecting Executive said...

I believe that the key is "balance". I think that Leslie Bennetts book was more for women who have completely given up their careers to become full-time, unemployed and unemployable mother. I felt like she was speaking directly to me. If you are interested visit http://blogspot.expectingexecutive.com

Thanks for the comments...and many congratulations to your Mom!