The Stay At Home Standard

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the whole insane Rosen/Romney thing. I don’t know why, I’m not even in the US! This stuff doesn’t seem to come up in our Alberta political debates, we’re too busy arguing about politician’s rights to free speech in their personal lives and conscience rights and similar insanity. Women’s issues seem to be under the radar, aka, ignored in our election. But I’m going off on a tangent. Back to my post topic!

In my reading I came across this awesome blog post from Abby off the record and I just had to share it and talk about something it made me think about (see Kathleen‘s comment especially). I have an ideal in my head of what a mom, especially a stay-at-home mom, looks like, and I don’t meet that ideal, and not because I work at home. I don’t clean, um, almost ever. I hate cleaning. I’m not organized or a volunteer type (well, I’m coaching soccer this year, but my kid had to guilt me into it!), I’m not always at the school helping with activities and in the classroom. I forget to book dentist appointments. I send my littlest to preschool for a break, not because of the learning experience. I try to make dinner most days, but if I wasn’t worried about my weight I would drop in to McDonald’s more than I do.

See, I realize the issue is that I feel guilty because I think I should want to live up to some spectacular standard of what a mom/wife is, but I just DON’T. I don’t want to feel obligated to be some kind of super cheerful, never minds giving more of my time, my kids are my life mom. My kids are a big, huge, amazing part of my life, but they still are just PART of my life. And I don’t care and don’t think it should matter if I (or other moms/parents) do paid work in the home, paid work outside the home, no paid work at all, blah, blah, blah. It doesn’t matter whether we get paid or not, except when it comes time to pay bills. As parents, we are important and valuable. And people who are not parents are important and valuable. In other words I’m not a fan of any wars, mommy or otherwise. I just want to convince myself that I don’t need to live up to my idea of what a mom is supposed to be. I want to just enjoy the ride and the messy house and all that part of being a mom, not get hung up on what is “best” and if I’m good enough and what choices other parents are making. I’m so glad I’m not alone in this. You all are with me right?!

*featured image © iQoncept –

2 Responses to “The Stay At Home Standard”

  1. Laurie, I’m glad my post gave you some food for thought. I can definitely relate to what you’re saying here. Making matters somewhat worse, I have a neighbor who is (or seems to me to be) that type of ideal SAHM you describe.

    But I think we have to ask ourselves WHY do we see that as the ideal? I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that children who grow up in messy houses are happier and more creative. I swear! My own upbringing is a testament to that. My mom could not have cared less about cleaning, even hired it out, and it made not a whit of difference to me that I remember. I’m glad she chose to spend her time with her kids or reading books or doing whatever she really liked to do, rather than keeping a perfectly tidy house and cooking gourmet meals. I’m sure she was happier because of it.

    • Hi Abby, thanks for stopping by! See, I think for me I partially want to attain a standard because my mom seemed to be that kind of mom. Well, the cleaning part anyway. She was pretty laidback otherwise. And I don’t think my kids care much, although it’s definitely possible that they think I spend too much time on my computer, but that is quite often work and I remind them that paid work = stuff for them.

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