Thursday, April 9, 2009

Suck it Up You Whiners!

I'm pretty sure I'm going to upset some people with this post but quite honestly I really am not too terribly concerned.

Apparently I missed the announce ment that this is "Poor Mom" media week. It started with Oprah and her show on Monday. I didn't see it but a friend was texting me all the nitty gritty. Apparently it was the secret life of moms and the challenges mom's face. Then the Today show got on the bandwagon with ways mom's can take care of themselves and the relationship with husbands and wives.

Here's my stance. Unless you are the mother of special needs children, your job isn't really any harder than any other job on the planet. You just have issues with work ethic and prioritizing.

Did I just hear a collective rising of blood pressures? Wow! That was cool! I guess I should explain myself.

We don't have it any harder than any other mothers in history. They had to work farms, handwash clothing, bake their own bread and other food stuffs, store their own food and love, bathe and feed children. In other words they had full time jobs and were mothers. They didn't have the luxury of tossing a load in the washer, starting the dishwasher and and then posting a blog while clothes and dishes were getting clean.

They didn't have the luxury of starting a movie in another room so that they could run the vacuum without children pulling the plug out of the wall. Oh wait! They didn't have power much less a vacuum.

No, they didn't have soccer practice and gymnastics and playdates and doctor's appointments and mothers morning out. They lived a pretty solitary life unless you count the trip to church every Sunday.

So here's my deal. If I have an issue with how "hard" my job is, maybe I need to sit back and look at what I'm really doing. For example, right now I'm supposed to be upstairs shampooing my livingroom carpets. I'm on the computer. Is that my job or am I allowing my priorities to twist in the wind of selfish endeavors?

I just took 15 minutes and actively coached/helped my children clean the playroom. I hate the playroom but if I expect my children to learn to clean on their own shouldn't I model it for them? Instead of pointing and saying "do it" and then whining about them not working, maybe I should take an active supervisory role.

We fuss and whine that we just have too much to do all the time. Ever think about committing to a little less? We complain that we have to work and clean and cook and still have time for parenting. Have we turned off the TV? Have we given our children chores of their own? Have we asked for help?

I think sometimes we over commit and let things slide so that we can blame our children and husbands for not helping. We want to be martyrs. We want to lament our position because we don't want to resolve it and tough up. And don't get me started on asking for help. We don't ask for help because we have set the standard so high that no one else can do it "right." Just one more way to make ourselves martyrs.

Motherhood is no harder than any other job. You have expectations imposed on you. The difference in motherhood is we are self employed. That means we are setting our own expectations.

Here is what I want to achieve in my position as a mother and wife.

I want my children to learn how to be responsible for themselves, their actions and their future.
I want my house to be clean.
I want to make sure that my marriage lasts and is full of love and fun.
I want my children to learn that love, friendship and the intangibles are more important than any "stuff" they can ever accumulate.

How hard is that? It looks like I have great job security and a lot of opportunity to have a huge impact. I just have to prioritize.


Oh Boy...Oh Boy...Oh Boy said...

I agree AND disagree with some points. As a working mom I often want to smack SAHM's who whine about not having enough time in the day, especially ones with all their kids in school, when I still have all the same stuff to do but have 9 hours less a day to do it in. But even as a working mom I think you're 100% right that I'm the one screwing things up most of the time. I make time for things for me, I play the martyr card by not spending much $$ on me, so I let my hair & eyebrows get out of control in order to do for my kids. But I do allow myself entirely too much screen time.
But I do wholeheartedly disagree that its exactly like any other job because I no one who's job is 24-7-365. When you're "dying" from the flu, you call in to a normal job, in fact they'll usually ask you to leave if you go in with some gross enough symptoms. This will never happen as a mom. Especially a mom of small children! There are times when I'm sick that I actually go to me "real" job because at least its quieter there. No I can't sleep all day but I can't do that at home either. No matter how hard I try.
So while I agree, many of us complain too much, we shouldn't totally dismiss the weight of our responsibilty.
As for today versus previous generations...there are MANY ways I thank God I don't live in the "old days" but there are some things that were great from back then too. I'd give anything for it to be completely acceptable to correct someone else's child's misbehavior! And when children had respect and it was ok to expect it.

Ok enough of my rant for today.
Appreciate your post!!! Gave me some things to think about for sure!!!

Sarah said...

Thanks Lisa! I appreciate your response. And I agree that we can't dismiss the weight of our responsibility. For the calling in sick debate, I am very guilty of not asking for help even in those times too. My hubby is capable of taking care of the children if I have to crash due to illness but I won't let him because "I can do it better even if I AM sick." That's my martyr card. I understand that not all women have that support system to count on and I applaud them hugely! So I add single parents to the list of people who do have it harder than average.

Thank you for giving me even more to think about!

ForHisGlory said...

Sarah I love your line about "priorties to twist in the wind of selfish endeavors." How true is that!

I agree with you and Lisa. I was a SAHM for a short time and I loved it and felt blessed to be one, so I worked hard and had my priorities straight for the most part. Now that I am working full time I realize what a luxury it was to be home and am one of those mom's that fumes when a SAHM complains about it. I don't think being a SAHM is hard at all if your priorities are right.

I find it much harder to keep my priorities straight now that I am working, figure that out. You think I'd have to be even better at prioritizing, and your right. Sad thing is I'm not and everything is suffering because of it, but it's something I am working on.

Thanks for giving us all something to think about

Oh and the martyr card, I never thought about it that way and boy was that a punch in the stomach. I have OCD and NO ONE can do things good enough for me, so I just do it, then complain about having no help.

I promise I am working on

Thanks for sharing.

Amanda said...

I do agree with you. It is about priorities and time management 9 times out of 10. My only complaint is when my husband doesn't really understand why I get burnt out on being a mom every now and then and I have to point out that even when he has long days, he still gets to leave, come home, and sleep in a different location. I don't get that luxury, and with 2 high needs kids, it can wear a person thin sometimes.

I've done both the SAHM and working mom thing. I definitely prefer SAHM even with being on call all the time and the crappy hours. It's not so bad once all kids are sleeping through the night though.

Lisa = mom2twoboyz said...

I agree with you! you have some very good points. I would much rather do things myself even though "M" is capable of doing them. I just prefer it my way lol I am the one home with my boys all day and we're in a routine and I'd prefer to keep it that way...even when I'm sick!

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Around my house the kids have chores to do before they can go "play" with thier friends or go to the movies or anything else they want to do. Just as I have to get my things done so I can relax and surf the net.

Jenni Jiggety said...

Can't we all just get along???

I love being a mom so I am usually pretty surprised when I hear people find it so difficult. Sure, I have my bad days, but nothing is perfect!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this post ! I completely agree...I have to especially thank you for acknowledging moms of children with special likely is harder, in one sense, but i think for me its just "different" than others because I have had to learn a different style of can maybe be a lot more emotional at times...but I think we too reach a level of acceptance and do what we have to do...but I do still very much appreciate your acknowledgement! Thank you.
Tammy (FXmomto3)