I went to book group last night. The book was Barak Obama's first book Dreams from my father. Very interesting book, very interesting discussion. Several key points were discussed last night.
The status of the nation under Bush
The protection of family privacy while still being free to be yourself, honestly (in writing, in blogs, etc)
The next president
The status of Muslims in America
and in the car on the ride home I talked to one of the moms who stays home with her kids and the struggle she faces with that decision.
She is only home while the kids are young and she wants to go back to work in a year or two. She kept talking about how it didn't feel permanent to her. (that might not be the right word choice there but I have a horrible memory). And it occured to me that stay at home moms that know they want to go back to work one day are in essence on a very long maternity leave.
Let me say this with all the love in my heart for my children, my family and my home.
I hated maternity leave. HATED IT!
I loved my new baby, I loved the cuddle time and the joyous moments of discovery.
I hated the fact that I was suddenly expected to do all of the house work. I hated that the baby was somehow only my responsibility. I hated that my husband left home and met with fun and interesting people and came home to me to tell me fun and intersting stories of his day. I hated that I became jealous of his female coworker and began to wonder about all of the time he spent with her. I began to hate my house for its creaks and moans. I was miserable.
I think limbo does that to you. (think lame duck) When you know that where you are is not where you want to be in the long run. When you are doing the job now even though you know you will be moving on to another job later.
And staying at home with the intention of going back to work some day is even worse than maternity leave because you aren't sure where the going back to work will be and you worry about your career and your future because you have made the decision to stay home and raise your children.
I was honest. I choose to work. I know that this is the decision that is better for me, my kids, my husband, our life. I love to work, I love my job and I love that my husband and I are partners and the fact that we both work helps to keep that balance and make me feel as though we are equal.
I know that some of that perception is all from me. I know that SAHMs are contributing more to the family life and are therefore, in some ways, the better partner in the family relationship structure.
This mom talked about how she isn't always loving her role. She struggles with the why of that and the feeling that by 7pm she is so glad to see the end of her kid filled day. She is feeling guilty and confused. She mentioned the curse that haunts all mothers regardless of their work choices, the Perfect Mom complex. She is not the perfect mom. I wanted to ask her who her perfect mom was.
Who is it that we compare ourselves to? Our moms?
I know I don't.
My perfect mom is this wonderful amazing woman who is filled with fun craft projects, always dances and sings through her day. Has time to work, make nutritious meals, have romantic nights with her husband, all while managing all the household tasks (including the bills) and all of this with a perfect size 8 waist, a perfectly done hairdo and a smile.
I am going to make a doll. I am going to create the perfect mom. She will have a mixing bowl in one hand, a smiling happy baby in one hand, a briefcase in one hand, and a copy of the karma sutra in the other hand. (yes the perfect mom has at least 4 arms and likes to get frisky). She will have shiny perky curls, pretty stylish clothes. Sporty and expensive tennis sneakers and the biggest smile you have ever seen. She will be the perfect mom.
I will sit back and make slight adjustments to this dollf or hours. I will make sure each and every curl is in place. I will smooth her blouse and brush any dirt from her shoes. Then I will remove the doll baby from her arms and
I will burn Perfect Mom to the ground.
The fire will be so bright that moms from all over will come to watch as Perfect Mom burns.
And then we will dance in her ashes.