Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Did You Just Say That?... Really?

My husband and I were in a local restaurant the other night (a very nice restaurant, that I frequent... frequently) and it was late we were the only customers.  As will sometimes happen, this created an opportunity for the staff to strike up conversation amongst themselves while cleaning up.  We were not talking and so it was that I heard every word of this conversation and am confident that I didn't misunderstand.  There were three girls with zero male input.  I would guess they were in their early to mid 20's. 

Girl #1 said that her boyfriend wanted to get married and that she was not willing as she was confident that he wanted to have children and it was important to him that she stay home.  She said that she would never do that as her time was more important than that and she was too intelligent to waste herself that way. 

Girl #2 said that she wouldn't mind being a stay at home mom but knew that she would have to join some committees and non-profit organizations to keep her mind working as there is no way that she could just sit at home like that watching children like some daycare worker. 

As Girl #3 piped up, you cannot imagine how I hoped that she would be different... but she was not.  She said that she would love to have the freedom of being a stay at home wife but not if there were children involved.  She was working for her degree and had no intention of wasting all that work just to get stuck with the kids while he got to have a fulfilling career and accomplishments.

Oh how I wish it had ended there but it did not.  They then proceeded to talk about how that was a job for women who weren't educated or creative enough to do anything more.  They laughed and joked about how sad it would be to have so little self respect or prospects.  I wish I could say that I stood up and set them straight... but instead I sat there trying not to cry. 

They were saying so many of the things that I feel.  Most days of being a stay at home mom make me feel like my brain is turning into mush.  Picking up the same toys, washing the same dishes, folding the same laundry while my goal is to keep life fun and challenging for everyone else... but me.  I know that what I am doing is important but I don't feel important most of the time.  It was so hard to listen to other women say these things.  I think if it had been men I would have been in their face in 5 seconds flat. 

Why is that?

Who taught them these things?

How do we stop it before my daughters grow up?


Lilah Belle said...

I think those women's conversations were a result of ignorance to people's particular taste of lifestyles. Many modern women have come to believe that their accomplishments are measured in the amount they are paid of career they possess; but what they do not realize is that sometimes the simple satisfaction of playing with your child is the greatest accomplishment of all.

As the daughter of a woman who worked far too much, I can tell you that someday when your children are older, they will recognize all you have done for them and be impeccably grateful. Your children are very fortunate to have their mother around when they need them, so just forget what those ignorant women said and focus on the joys of raising your children to be better than those women talking.

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zuccazu said...

Take great confort that you are in the priviledged position of being a mum, and that you can snigger at their ignorance! I was that person in my twenties, but nothing has been a greater blessing than having children (in my thirtie!) and the accompanying wisdom that comes with them...could still do with fewer nappies to change tho.

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Heidi the Fair said...

I am so sorry...for my generation, I guess. I don't know that they were silly for saying those things, though certainly misinformed and thoughtless. I think you would have heard those same girls 60 years ago snickering about what kind of woman would even WANT to become a doctor or an engineer, that kind of woman is barely a WOMAN, she must be some kind of....etc. It's all hype and glamour; you know, it used to be the glamour of a perfectly-kept house and kids, now it's the glamour of money and power.

I think the only cure is knowledge...really, REALLY what are the pros of a career sans kids? Kids sans career? Trying to keep up with BOTH? What do you sacrifice along the way? (And for my money, Why do the magazines and media promote one path in one generation and the opposite in another?) Honesty from real women to young girls, that's all there is to it, in my humble opinion...which, of course, requires those real woman to first be really honest with themselves (not that it's my place, but maybe their insensitivity has hit a nerve for you?). I doubt the girls at the restaurant have been blessed with any such honesty but seem to have gotten a fair amount of The Hype.

The Keevy Family said...

Thank you for writing this post. Being a SAHM myself I feel like the devil is always attacking me with these crazy thoughts like "after raising these kids there will be nothing left of me", or "anyone else could do this job better than me", but the truth is that God is molding me into who hewants me to be, he preselected ME just for my children, and this job matters greatly to Him. I have been forced to become more disciplined, patient, compassionate, consistent and creative in this job as Mom more than any other job I've had. And it's the hardest job I'll ever love!!