I have always wanted to be a mum. Always. Any job I ever had was just something I was doing until the time was right for me to have kids. I never really felt passionate about any particular line of work and I always struggled with figuring out what I wanted to “be”. I remember being in high school and feeling pressure to figure out what I would do after high school: university, college, travel? I was supposed to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Well, I knew I wanted to have a family but the overwhelming response to that was, “Yes dear, of course you want be a mother, but what do you want to *be*?” How the hell was I supposed to know?! In many ways I envied people who knew what they wanted to be. Honestly, when I think back I realize that I spent too much time and energy agonizing over the question, “What do I want to be?”
I have four children and I never went back to work after my first was born. A couple of years ago someone said to me “Why don’t you do something that *you* really want to do?” My response was, “I am doing *exactly* what I want to be doing.” Why won’t people believe me?
When I tell people that I’m a mum and that’s “it” and that this is what I want to be doing sometimes I think that people think that I am weak minded, or insecure, or “living in my husband’s shadow”, or that I’m bringing women down. Whatever. All this talk of the Rosin article (I refuse to link to it; that article got way more publicity than it deserved) and others like it has refreshed an always underlying, usually subtle suggestion: women who stay at home can’t possibly be feminists. Well you know what? I never considered myself a feminist until I felt like I had to defend my choices! Until I felt like I had to explain to people that I like what I do and I like where my path has taken me so far.
I was at a meeting of feminist mothers one day and the guest speaker was a well-known feminist; she’s an associate professor in the School of Women’s Studies at a local University and she’s written and edited a number of books on the topic of mothering and feminism. She said that SAHMs were “privileged” and got to go on “annual vacations” and made many other infuriating comments about SAHMs all being rich and spoiled. She went on to imply that people who liked being SAHMs were either being controlled by men or were too stupid to know that what they were doing was meaningless (those are my words but that was her message). She also implied that SAHMs who were university educated were wasting away at home and that they really “should” be out there putting their degrees “to good use”. She also made several demeaning comments about men and said things like, “having a husband is like have another kid around; just another person to clean up after.” It was horrible! Well, let me assure you sister, I am not “privileged”, or rich, or spoiled and I have NEVER had a family vacation (except for a two night stay at Great Wolf Lodge which was paid for by friends of ours) AND my husband does more cleaning around the house than I do…grr…the very thought of this makes my blood boil. I see her books around and every time I do it makes me crazy. I have absolutely no respect for this woman. These so called “feminists” are really doing a disservice to women; to all people for that matter.
I don’t feel weak minded or insecure. I feel strong and smart. I feel appreciated by the people that matter; unnoticed and undervalued by the people that don’t. I’m very happy. In fact, I feel like an earthworm. My husband always says, “Mothers are the earthworms of society.” The first time he said that to me I gave him the furry eyeball. He went on to explain that mothers are like earthworms in that we are absolutely essential; we work underground, so often going unnoticed and unappreciated. BUT society would crumble – come to a screeching halt if it weren’t for us. I like that analogy. I like being an earthworm.