Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vacuum

"Do you like being at home?"

The question hangs in the air still. 5 days after I sat over lunch with the dear friend who posed it.

"I like looking after my kids", I said.

Was that accurate? No. It was pretty vacuous, actually.

I turn the question over and over again. No short answers arise. Do I think it is important to be at home? OK. Do I find it satisfying? No. Would I rather be at work? Not really/Only if I could be two places at once. What about work? Is it more important to me? Well it is pretty important, but that's not it.

I think at times about what I miss about work. That's easy. I am VERY good at my job. I miss being 'very good' at something. In my case motherhood has found accomplishment and validation to be rather fleeting. Since any barely good mothering, if not parenting, stresses the need for an unrelenting putting aside of self-seeking.

If pressed I would argue that there are many like me who crave a greater degree of validation in their lives than parenting offers. I would further argue that thousands a few use this unconscious need to fuel cliche judgementalism and peer-parent hating. If the kids won't make us feel valued, hell, at least we can gossip about being lesser fuck ups than the Smiths, Joneses and Changs.

"Do I like being at home?"

Whadda ya mean? This a crazy crazy business. This life inside the consumo-corporate defined family contract. It isn't really a matter of liking it. But for now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

In related news I am so sick of the growing ubiquity of febreze. It is about as extraneous as the phrasing growing ubiquity.

** for more on the should she or shouldn't he of stay-at-homes check the links, hey.

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9 Comments:

Blogger nonlineargirl said...

The never ending need for selflessness, the grinding boringness, the loss of deserved pats on the head. Yes, all very problematic, and yet as you say, you still see the need and value it. The answer to your friend's question is not one sentence, it is a book.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous crunchycarpets said...

I hate that once you admit to being a sahm you are assumed to be good at it.

I am not.
However....I feel more passionate about it than I did any job...so I strive hard and beat myself up for the failings.....

beats any performance review.

1:20 PM  
Blogger CroutonBoy said...

See, I saw that question and thought the person asking the question consciously phrased it that way so you wouldn't have to answer the more difficult questions of "do you like being unemployed" or "do you like being a full-time parent", which people usually assume has a higher risk of garnering a litany of complaints.

I "like being at home" because that's where my couch and TV is, so yes. The other questions? How much time do ya got...?

1:29 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I don't always LIKE being at work.
I don't always LIKE being at home.

Poe-tay-toe.
Poe-tah-toe.

Toe-may-toe.
Toe-mah-toe.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I've been sitting here for fifteen minutes trying to think of an appropriate response and all I've got is this:

I don't know either.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I like being at home. I don't like being what is sometimes called a *homemaker*. I loooove my daughter, and love being with her, but I still send her to part-time daycare so that I can "work" (write). And feel guilty about it. Really, really guilty. Can't win.

6:35 PM  
Blogger L. said...

I recently started back at work fulltime, and I am loving it -- I did not like being at home (although it did have its moments), and overall, I'm very glad I'm not a SAHM anymore.

I love my kids, and they are the most important thing in my life.

Now if people would only believe me when I tell them that both of the above statements are true, and instead insist that the first one negates the second one.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Bon said...

i like being at home about two days a week. like today, when poor wee muffin is sick. but normally, for the past few months, i've been working f/t outside the home, and i have to admit, it's been a revelation. i hadn't even HAD a f/t job in about ten years, but rather a collection of p/t gigs and teaching contracts...i thought work would kick my ass. instead, i love the instant gratification. i love feeling competent. i think there are moments when i am a great parent, but i am not a 24/7 great parent, and i notice that more when i try to do it 24/7.

and yet, it feels good to be with the little guy today, when he's all stuffy and sad, and i realize being home that i miss this too. i miss petting my cat and blogging during naps. i miss singing.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

I hate that febreeze has become a verb.

And I'm not crazy about these shades of grey that are messing up my nice neat world.

(BTW - i'm having cookie problems and am now reposting my comments. The originals were MUCH more cleverer.)

10:36 PM  

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