Me? I’m Just A Mom(its a long one)

“I’ll take Professions for 400, Alex.” “The answer: least attractive profession to admit to in a conversation with a stranger. Yes, Joni” “What is Stay-At-Home Mom?” “Correct” ding ding ding!

I know what you’re thinking. I’m about to go on a rampage against a society that has broken down the idea of homemaking and stay at home momming as an honorable thing. Sorry. Not today.

I’d like to get past accusation and who is right or wrong and perhaps work on what the stay-at-home mom can do to make people feel more comfortable. What? Make THEM feel more comfortable? What about ME? Why can’t they accept me the way I am? Well, because they don’t know you and that’s not how a lot of people are.

I was a wedding guest where my husband knew most of the people. I knew some from here and there but they were occupied. Sitting at my assigned table, I decide to engage in conversation with a stranger so we could stop looking around the room playing with our place card and water glass. I do the basics, hi I’m Joni, Doug’s wife–which always gets the “ohhh” response and nod of comprehension. How do you know the bride/groom? And what do you do? Oh me? I’m just a mom. Cricket, cricket, cricket. More hideous words were never spoken. Don’t we tend to blame others for their cool reaction? I think its OUR fault for turning off the conversation. What would YOU say to someone who described themself as “just a _______”. How nice for you!

STOP SAYING “JUST A”!!!! Now the opposite and equally hideous reply would be “I’m a domestic engineer” or “I’m a full-time mom” Really, what mom isn’t a full-time mom? Can I get an Amen? A mom is an amazing privelege. Many women wish they could have children. Let’s not make it look like a sucky job. Many women wish they could stay home and for whatever reason don’t. Stop judging the working mom for working. Its none of our business why others do what they do until they ask for your opinion. Seriously. I’ve been thinking up ways to be more conversation-friendly in those awkward times.

Prepare ahead of time. It sounds silly but its a good thing. Know the situation you will be in. Will your husband/significant other be with you a lot or will you have to fend for yourself? Are there some questions you could think of that would open THE OTHER person to talk? For example:

THEM: “And what do you do?” YOU: “I’m a stay at home mom and yourself?”
THEM “blah, blah, blah” YOU: “What led you to that profession?”
THEM: “blah, blah, blah” YOU: “Do you have any children(or are you married)?”
THEM: “Yes” YOU: “How old are they, what are there names” OR if No, ask what they like to do in their spare time… you get the drift

And then it hits… THEM:”It must be nice to not have to work” ree ree ree ree (Psycho shower killer music)
YOU: “Yes I’m very grateful that I get to be home. Its got some ups and downs but generally its a good time.”
(as opposed to this response: Not work? Are you kidding? Do you KNOW what I have to do all day while he…..I’d love to dress up every day and talk to adults using multi-syllabic words. It must be nice not to have to worry about money! If you weren’t so selfish, you could stay home too. Just stop getting your weekly manicures.) Geez.

Let’s just get past it and be interested in them. Ask again about their job, family or what they like to do outside the office or wherever. Try to find some common ground. There’s an idea–ask them where the nearest Starbucks is. Coffee is a HUGE bonding agent. I’ll BET once they feel comfortable, they’ll let you in a little. Even if they don’t, you’ve made the moment a little less awkward. Try praying before the event that God would bring to mind some good ideas.

Note to Christian moms who meet homosexual couples with children: I don’t care how you feel about their situation, your job is to show kindness and interest as you would anyone else you “approve of”.

Sorry this turned a little preachy. I’m just a little frustrated that some stay-at-home moms(myself included) either downplay or over elevate their position–both out of insecurity. If you love it, say so. If you’re struggling, say so. Its ok to be a mom. Lets elevate our skill set — consider it continuing education.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Great post! A couple of friends of mine run the MOPS group at our church. This would be great for them to pass on to the moms!

    Reply

  2. Very useful information,thank you for putting this nice piece of info for us to read.

    Reply

  3. Posted by glandheim on January 7, 2007 at 11:33 am

    I think the stay-at-home-mom “stigma” is disappearing. As women enter the workforce with nothing on their resume but “Graduated, then spent XX years as a full-time Mom,” appear, the skills that are required to raise kids and manage a house are turning out to be very valuable in the workplace. Multi-tasking, dispute-resolution, budget management, whatever. These are marketable skills.

    Now we have a full-time stay-at-home-mom who is Speaker of the House. She didn’t start “working” until her kids were grown and she was, what, in her late 40s?

    That should change a few perceptions.

    Reply

  4. I hope that’s true. I suppose one day I’ll find out. I think the bigger rift can come between the moms themselves. I’d just like us to try to support each other because its a hard job and often lonely.

    Reply

  5. Posted by glandheim on January 7, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    That’s interesting. It wasn’t like that when I was growing up. It seemed we always lived someplace where there were lots of kids, and my mom always had at least one and usually two or three other moms who felt free to just drop by anytime and chat. Of course, nobody locked their doors then. Kids just wandered in and out of anybody’s house too. Anybody who had kids, that is.

    Everything is so supervised now. Kids seem to have to be driven everywhere, and all their time managed. No wonder the moms don’t have time to spend with each other.

    Sad.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Melody on January 10, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    I’m Rindy’s friend who’s involved in th MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group i.e. http://www.MOPS.org It’s funny how accurate your description of the wedding scene is to my own experience several times in the last few years. I appreciate your practical advice how to steer the conversation in a positive direction. I will forward this post to our group!

    Reply

  7. I Love it!… this is an awesome post!

    I am a working mom, however I gave the stay-at-home job a try with my third child. It wasn’t for me, I couldn’t keep myself mentally occupied while the older children were at school and such. And when they were out of school, I kept running out of things to do… but Bravo to those who can do it! It certainly isn’t as easy as it sounds…

    Anytime I meet a S-A-H Mom I applaud them I think it’s great that God has given you the ablity to be with your kids full time….

    By the way, I think this post is important even for those who do work FT, we should know how to carry on a conversation with S-A-H mom’s too. It should be up to us as well to make that Mom feel as if she has the better job, because truly she does!

    Reply

  8. Great post Joni! I have found it hard myself to talk about being a SAHM to others. I get a lot of, “Yes, that’s the most important job in the world, isn’t it?”, but seems very patronizing. I think I’ll try the “I’m very grateful to be able to stay home and raise my kids. It has it’s ups and downs.” That’s more realistic and not defensive or derogatory.

    Reply

  9. There is apparently a lot to realize about this. I assume you made some good points in features also.

    Reply

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