It's not what it looks like. I assure you. I'm not selling out on my SAHM squad. Just listen...
I love being a SAHM. It's something I've always known I've wanted to do. Never questioned it. And that's why it works for me. It's a labor of love.
Whenever you do something you truly love, it's that love that gets you through the hard times, the frustrating times, the OMG-somebody-please-come-and-get-this-baby times. Women that do not have this same love are the ones that should not be SAHMs.
Women that feel obligated or forced to to stay don't deal with the stresses as well. If you don't feel like it was your choice, and if you don't have a genuine connection to it, it becomes more of a prison sentence rather than a bonding time.
You've heard the saying: If moma ain't happy, nobody's happy. That's so true. An unhappy mother who feels trapped in her own home will only yield unhappy children and an unhappy husband. It's far better to be a satisfied mother with a traditional job than a depressed mother that stays home.
It's not always that easy, though. Some women, out of expectation from their family or requests by their husbands, feel like they have no choice. Some people are so attached to the idea that the mere suggestion of something else seems outrageous. What’s really outrageous is that mothers are suffocating and taking it out on their children. It's outrageous that marriages are being stamped out by resentment and deserted dreams. I see it in some of the blogs, women trying to mask their bitterness with jokes and folly.
Some people are extremely gung-ho about women getting out of the house and abandoning traditional roles. Others cling desperately to the conventions they feel are 100% necessary for families to thrive. I wouldn’t put myself in either group; it’s too dangerous out there on those poles. I’d rather stay safely in the middle, protected by the shades of gray.
I wouldn’t say that a woman has to stay home or that she should work. I’d only say that she has to take care of herself and her family, that she has to have peace of mind so she can spread it throughout her home. That’s about the only thing a woman has to do. Everything else is up for negotiation. At least that’s how it works in my mind.
Parents love to brag about how smart their babies are. "Did you see her pick up that block? She's so smart!" The little things babies do give us insight into how their brains are developing. Its fun to watch, but one of the main things that gives us a glimpse into their true genius often gets ignored: the fact that babies wake up smiling.
You've noticed it before, I'm sure. You dismissed it as "a cute little things they do" and went on about your day. Had you looked a little closer, you would have understood. You would have received the gift.
It’s hard being human, dealing with all our built-in imperfections and overwhelming emotions. The various obstacles we face have a tendency to sidetrack us from our goals and detract from our natural joy. We carry our hurt and frustration with us through the day, a heavy sack of resentment that slows our progress. It fills the space in our beds at night and shoves us into corners, robbing us of a good night's rest. It nudges us awake in the morning and distracts us from the beauty of yet another day. This becomes our sad routine. This becomes our life. But, babies wake up smiling. Whatever anger they experienced the night before (and you know babies get angry), they leave there in that moment. Never would they punish themselves by mixing yesterday's irritation with today's calm. They don't even let the frustration of five minutes ago interfere with the current blessing. They treat each day— each moment—like something new.
We adults, with our extensive vocabularies and intellectual reasoning, haven’t made this discovery. Rather than accept and praise the potential of a new start, we focus on our misfortunes and give them the kind of attention they don’t deserve. There is so much to be thankful for in life, so much to make us smile. Yet and still, we frown. Yet and still, we complain. Yet and still, we sabotage our own happiness.
But, babies wake up smiling. They guard their joy, because they know its value. They thrive on it. It’s what their innocence is made of. It’s what makes them so pleasant to be around. We could learn a lesson from these adorable little creatures. Our very lives depend on it. Abandon your sadness where it is, and sleep well tonight, knowing that tomorrow's sunrise will bring something new.
This world is backwards. A lot of people are nicer to complete strangers than they are to their own children. I don't care how much attitude you have. I don't care how foul-mouthed you are. There are certain people in your life you owe complete respect and kindess: your parents, your spouse and, yes, your children.
Because they're "yours," some people seem to think they can treat their children any ol' way. I completely disagree. Parents should model for their children the type of behavior they want them to display. In my case, I want Zara to be kind and respectful, so that's how I treat her.
Not everyone takes this approach.
Jus the other day, I saw a woman tell her no-older-than-6-years-old son "If you don't shut the F_ _ _ up, little boy..." I was in Target. I think he was pestering her about getting something. Begging children can be ANNOYING, I'll admit, but to talk to a child-your own child-like that is never called for. I was so bothered. I wanted to just grab that little boy and bring him home with me. I'm not saying the woman is a bad mother. I dont know her in the least and have no business judging her overall parenting, but in that moment, she got an F.
I notice a lot of times its mothers speaking this way to their sons. That makes it even worse. There seems to be an abundance of low quality men that have no clue how to relate to and respect women. This is no surprise when you consider the first relationship any male has with a woman is with his mother. If she curses him out as a child, its extremely easy for him to grow up and repeat that same behavior with women.
It's a cycle.
I'm even more disgusted when I see brown mothers doing this to their Little Brown Boys (LBBs). LBBs are born with targets on their back. It seems the world is just waiting to label them as "bad" and "disruptive." LBBs are more likely to be punished for their behavior in school and more likely to be held back and put in remedial classes. This is not because they're intrinsically flawed. It's because the odds are stacked against them. Every mother of a LBB should know this and do everything in her power to fight it. Cursing at your son and calling him things like "lil nigga" (yes, I've heard people say this) is downright criminal and teaches him that he has little worth and even less potential.
I don't have a son, but I have nephews (6 and 9m), and we've constantly covering them in the protective salve of kind, self-affirming words. We fill in every crack with love and reassurance that they are nothing less than the best and worthy of good things. They doesn't realize it, but they internalize these messages, and will be able to project them back out into the world when they get older.
It's a cycle.
Regardless of if you have a Little Brown Boy, a Little White Boys, a Little Yellow Boy, or a Little Brown-White-and-Yellow Boy, treat him with respect. Fill the space around him with beautiful words that let him know just how special he really is.
It was about 3 in the morning, and I had to use the bathroom. No big deal. It happens, but she was awake. I knew it would only take a minute, so I left her on the bed.
BOOM! I knew what it was the second I heard it. I yelled for her father to scoop her up and he did. Luckily, we just happened to have a huge pile of covers and pillows on the floor, so she wasn't hurt, but it scared her. She just needed some reassurance that she was safe again.
In a few minutes, she was sleep again and everything was back to normal, but I had realized something. No matter how much parents want to protect their children, you can't shield them from everything. At some point, they're going to have to fall, get hurt, fail, experience rejection, feel sadness and anger. Everyone, including my little Zara, has to live their own life.
I know this. I have known this, but to realize it in that moment made it real, shoved it up into my face so I couldn't look away. It's hard to look at her and know that I can't do everything for her, but the sooner I accept that, the better off we'll both be.