Several years ago, when I quit my out-of-the-home job, I had visions of daily darling craft projects with my children while fresh, homemade bread wafted through the house. My voice would remain calm and in the normal decibel
range for an average housewife. Where did I get such an image?
When my first week as a working stay-at-home mom (SAHM) started with my locking myself out (with children and cellphone in hand), I realized I might have to re-evaluate some of my expectations. Once I decided to leave the office world, I have carried a vision of what I anticipated a SAHM could and should do. And what I could do for my family.
I’m working outside my home again and as I finished a big project this week and spent time meeting deadlines, there was no fresh baked bread. Sure, I managed to fix (or help fix) three meals (daily, mind you, not over the course of the entire week!). But the laundry has remained unfolded, heaped in a pile where passersby might see from our window.
When I can, I pick up my children from school, often stopping long enough to speak to their teachers,
but not necessarily long enough to make playdates or enjoy the camaraderie of other parents.
It’s not that I don’t want to be more engaged. I’m trying to focus on keeping the projects under control.
But when you look at taxes and monthly bills, there is that regular squeeze that one needs to do more to
make ends meet.
Other mothers I know struggle with similar dilemmas whether they work or not.
I’m sure I misunderstood what my parents went through raising me and my siblings until, well, now. And, I
suspect, my kids won’t understand until a few years down the road what is a recession or what it means to
pay bills (instead of buying more toys).
Fortunately, I’m comforted by my memories of a content childhood, full of fun with friends and family. And
not once do I recall the smell of bread baking.
What do are some of your distinct childhood memories you try to recreate for your kids? What non-memories
do you have that you want your kids to have? What expectations do you have for yourself as a mother?