Friday, December 18, 2009

Rocking the Suburbs?

Since the start of the feminist movement, their has been a murky, and sometimes hateful discussion of motherhood and the "place" of the woman. Growing up in a conservative home, I was taught from example that that was the woman's place: the home. I saw many women, some by choice and some because they had no other option, stay at home, being a maid, a chef, a nurse, a director, a teacher, while their husbands pursued whatever career they desired. Some of them were happy, others were not.

From my childhood, I wanted to do things differently. I have always wanted to avoid the middle-class, SUV-driving, blond-haired, manicured, but not quite thin, stay-at-home soccer mom cliche that the world hates on so much. I didn't want to be a "momzilla". Essentially, a woman who went crazy because she was a full-time mom, not because she wanted to be, but because she had to be.

As an "independently-minded" young adult, soccer moms  suburbs were my greatest fear. Their lackluster monotony reflected the opposite of what I hoped my life would become. Adventurous, enthralling, passionate. I didn't want my greatest accomplishment to be my rose garden lining my picket fence (think American Beauty).When I heard the word "suburb," one might as well have said, "boring," "unambitious" or "settling." I didn't want to be typical or expected. Who does?

Some of these ideas were based off of people that I knew, others are stereotypes, and none of it was probably a completely accurate image of what life as a mom was like.

Nonetheless, here I am several years later, a wife, a mother, an SUV-driver, and (hopefully) a soon-to-be homeowner. I am a full-time mom, and I work part-time and attend school part-time. I am on my way to becoming what I never wanted to be. I spend a lot of my time at home. I've been at it for 7-months, and I often wonder, can I really do this for the rest of my life? Some days, I love being able to spend so much time with my adorable son, who brings me more happiness than anything in the world. But other days, I feel the suburban complacency is curling around me- like a boa constrictor in the process of preparing dinner.Some days, I'm just bored. Not in the sense that I don't have enough to do- I have plenty to do. I am lacking in intellectual stimulation and challenges.

I openly admit it. I am high energy, easily-bored, hyperactive, whatever you want to call it. Not just physically, but mentally and intellectually. I can't drink caffeine. As in, CANNOT. I have way too much energy without it. Plus, I am afraid that I will be suspected of snorting cocaine...

Why do I write this overly-parenthetical monologue?

This is to say that I am in search of the right path for me, balancing my parenting beliefs and my life-style needs. Teeter-tottering amidst career-oriented and family oriented. This is to say that I am less than three semesters away from graduating, and what's next?

Can I have it all?

I heard a celebrity mom who had an illustrious career once say, "You can have it all, just not at the same time."


And just for clarification...

-This is not a moral or religious debate concerning stay-at-home moms.

-Nor is this to say that I don't enjoy domestication. (I love me some Martha).

-I LOVE being a mother, and would have a slew of children if I could. Dmitri is my greatest accomplishment, my greatest joy, and nothing will make me as happy as he does.

-I stereotyped a lot in this post. I am sorry.

-I don't snort cocaine.

-I think roses and picket fences are pretty.

To tie it up:

Do you think you can have it all? What are your priorities? Whatever you do, whether a mom or a career-woman, or a combination...are you fulfilled, happy, bored, etc?

3 comments:

JPeaslee said...

As of late, I've sort of gravitated towards the "stay-at-home" mom deal. Except I want a job. But maybe not necessarily a job where I go into the office every day.
Except, wait! Ever since John and I broke up, I have found myself becoming a social butterfly once more, and now I think having a job where I can interact with people would be fantastic.

So I have no idea what I want. Go figure.

Well, okay, I do want at least one kid. Desperately. Not desperately as in I'm going to go get myself knocked up with anyone RIGHT THIS SECOND, but desperately as in I think I will really regret my life if that never happens. Also, I want to take a fertility test. You can buy those over the counter now, but they're expensive.

And for what it's worth, if there was anyone who could have it all, it'd be you, chica.

mary'smom said...

I say enjoy what time you have wtih your child, and don't worry about it. Just think if you had to leave your child all day in the care of another person...I did. It wasn't pleasant. Life can change at any moment, so enjoy every single minute you have with your baby. This is your life now, but it may not be this way tomorrow. I love your views on parenting and choices you've made. I may not have practiced or even agree with all of them, but I like the way you stand up for yourself. Nightfeeding was such a problem for me...my daughter often slept with me because I was so tired that I didn't realize what I was doing. It had been agreed upon that she would sleep in her own bed. I slept more peacefully, and so did she.

PaintLover said...

First time on your blog!

This post is a really thoughtful one. My life at the moment is trying to balance out what I want to do with what I need to do.

Like you, I never wanted to be that woman you talk about, whether stereotypical or not, I didn't want to be her.

But here I am, married for 9 years now, 2 girls, one is six and one is 16mths. I turn 30 this year and I have a law degree.

When I was only working and studying, I dreamt of being married, staying home and spending my time cooking and looking after kids. (I never thought I would be cleaning!).

Now that I am home full time, I hate it. Yes I love my family and kids, and no I would not give it all up to go back into the workforce. But is that all there is? Where is the balance?

Will I be doing this for the rest of my life? Isn't there more to life than cooking and cleaning?

What happens to me once the kids are all grown and I am left to my own devices again? Will I know what to do?

Like I said, I love my family more than anything in the world, but what about ME too? Where do I fit in just to be me, not mother or wife?