This entry started (as so many of mine likely will) by responding to my friend and fellow Ninja Mom on live journal. If you've happened onto my journal in both places, feel free to ignore one or the other (although on THIS one I've learned to do some remedial tricks and it's prettier with music!)
Anyway, back to the subject.
Like Ninja, I have a problem with other sahm's. I can't seem to find any like me to hang out with. I always feel like I'm a pseudo-sahm and they'll call me on it one day. I'm sure there are other sahms out there who consider hamburger helper a legitimate recipe for stroganof, and call a cake from a mix their own design. Who allow their kids to watch endless tv to get a nap in, and find a 6 foot purple dinosaur a suitable babysitter for a colicy infant. Who still believe sometimes a kid needs a "good" spanking because the notion that you can rationalize with a three year old is the reason kids are so out of control these days. Who say things like, "When I was a kid we learned to fear (I mean respect) our parents." Who send their non-disabled kids to a preschool for MRDD kids for the sheer experience of accepting those with disabilities, rather than worrying their 3 year old won't get into Harvard later from lack of Montessori schooling. Who can lay on a healthy dose of mother guilt that would make any Italian, Catholic, Irish, Jewish, Greek mother proud. Who consider a household a monarchy where the parents are divine rulers and the children are to behave as loyal subjects. Who don't join the PTA even though OBVIOUSLY they have time, simply because they have no desire to hang out with the type of folks who ENJOY being on the PTA, the neighborhood association, or the church board. Who threaten every year at Thanksgiving to pass out meals to the homeless to teach their kids why they should appreciate that Turkey dinner, but still decide serve it up to whining and complaining because they lack the resolve to follow through on that threat. Who say things like, "Mom has her own flippin' homework! My mom and dad never had to help me with mine!!!" three out of four nights a week. Who's sons will surely end up in therapy one day, forever haunted with Oedipal complexes due to a certain incident involving a string of expletives that flowed from their mom's mouth, when the elastic cord on her jacket snapped back into her left eye one morning on the way to school/work. As a matter of fact... who can, when provoked by endless pushing of well known buttons,expose her kids to a string of expletives like a trucker with a sailor's thesaurus. Who then reserves the right to apply soap to their little mouths when they demonstrate their years of careful study.
Although I understand Ninja's perspective about it not being the most important thing many women do with their lives, I do believe it's the most important thing I've done and that I am (for now) best at it. I am a recently relapsed sahm. That's right, I have fallen off the type A over-achiever wagon. What I mean is...I was staying at home with my sons when I got divorced in '99. Obviously I had to work to support myself so I gave up sahm status in order to "better" our lives. Well, ok. To better my life. Since then... I just finished a degree, which I worked on mostly while a single mom of five years. I graduated with honors, which was no small task for me with everything else going on. During that time I also worked full time as an ophthalmic tech and experienced (became obsessed with) the first truly heartbreaking relationship of my life. Wanna know what I regret about those things?
Looking at my two year old and five year old sons one day and realizing they were 8 and 11. Having my youngest son forget to ask me recently if I wanted to come to his field trip or Valentine party because he's not used to the fact that I can. That gives me some perspective. So with Anna, I am soaking up every minute. It's like a second chance. My degree is an accomplishment. But in the end it doesn't love me, or want to share my time. Oh- and Anna's growing up so fast! She's eight whole weeks already!!!! Where has the time gone?????
Now... back to Ninja's other point about having good beer swiggin' girlfriends. I have a few. Actually Sat night I am going with one of them to a "high school reunion" of hers. Every year her 3 girlfriends from high school have a sleep over called "bitch" night. They drink wine and gossip and pass gas and get very silly. I am flattered they allow me (7 years older) in. But I secretly feel like a voyeur. I want my own group of bitches! The few I have are scattered across the country.
I do have a few things that help. I attend a writer's retreat every year with my mom. As a matter of fact they would thoroughly enjoy this post! The retreat experience is intellectual and creative and hilarious and informative and I look forward to it every year! Unfortunately THIS year I have to sacrifice for Anna and attend only the day seminar rather than the whole weekend. She's nursing and I can't be away for two whole nights. But...
Next year I'll be back! And bring my favorite bottle of wine :) I'm also one of the youngest women there, which is always nice. Not only can you learn from the wisdom and experience of the other women, but you get to feel like the "kid" again! Although, being a working mom and student the last two times I went, I found myself telling my mother, her friend, and my cousin to "keep it down in there! Some of us are trying to sleep!" To which there was a burst of girlish giggles from the adjoining room. So who's the kid, really????
Oh- and Ninja also mentioned the ultra conservative scary sahm's. I am a Unitarian Universalist. If I get into a group of bible thumpers I am SO in trouble. Either they've never heard of my religion, or feel compelled to lecture me as to why it isn't a "real" one. Usually I just smile and nod. Though at times I can't resist temptation (what's THAT about anyway? What kind of loving God wants to TEMPT me to do wrong????) Anyway...I digress. In the past one co-worker felt compelled to lecture me as to why living your life being a caring, compassionate, responsible person wasn't good enough. She said, "Well being a good person is no way to get an afterlife!" I said, "Well, I think those things matter more than anything else in life. And..since we UU's don't believe in Hell, I'm not goin' there anyway. So I really don't have to worry about that!" She was NOT happy.
Sorry to ramble. As Ninja mom pointed out sahm's need to have adult conversation. Staying at home IS isolating. That's why Oprah and Ellen become your best friends. I guess maybe even Martha for those more motivated sahms.
Thank God for internet! I have met some amazing women here!