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The SAHM

By Jessica Wilson

(Sept 30, 2008)

 

One month ago I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. Apparently this recent edition to my family qualified me for a lifetime membership to my neighborhood's chapter of the Power-Walking Stroller-Pushing Moms group. Every neighborhood has one of these groups. You can always spot them right after the 8:45 school bus picks up the older "sibs". They are the women with the high performance 3 wheeled strollers, ipods and Evian walking in groups of 3-6. They meet daily (weather permitting) and discuss Cheerios, Gymborie and how much they DO NOT approve of Hannah Montana. These women are always in search of new members and will pounce on a woman at the first sight of a belly bulge. Last week I was invited to join them for their morning stroll and at the time I figured my ass was not getting any smaller hanging around the house, so I joined in.

 

Big mistake. These women scared me.

 

First off, they all asked me to share my "birth story". Apparently they wanted a graphic play-by-play account of the day my daughter was born. They wanted all the details from the start to finish. Then they wanted to know about feeding, burping, and bowel movements (my daughter's - not mine) and how much sleep I am getting. I was asked about my plans for the next year and silly me, I answered that I would be returning to work in about 5 weeks. Those 4 women, traveling at high speeds, pushing HUGE strollers, came to an abrupt halt. I guess that returning to work was the wrong answer. The right answer was probably somewhere between Mommy and Me swim class and Nursery Feng Shui. I was immediately assaulted with pleas for my baby's emotional well being Ė apparently her developmental milestones will suffer if I am out of the house earning her college fund.

 

I can tell you that the women who make the choice to stay at home with their kids have my unending respect, I wish I could do it. But in all reality, professionally I can't. And while my kids may not have me at home with them for 8 hours a day, they do have a wonderful caregiver. My household also reaps the benefits of two incomes, such as vacations, good schools, and a warm home. I don't think that by me making the choice to contribute monetarily to my household my children are going to suffer. I also think itís unfair that I should be judged by the women who made the opposite choice and stay home with their babies. It is a personal choice. I still know that I live for my family, and just because we eat take-out pizza a little too often when my husband and I work late, or the laundry piles up for 2 weeks, does not make me a bad wife or mother. I don't judge these women for staying home, I respect them for it. I know I personally would lose my damn mind if I had their jobs.

 

To the SAHMs who "pity" my children for my absence 40 hours per week: Step Off. Keep your fucking opinions to yourself. In 18 years my spouse and I will have a sizable chunk of coin set aside for our kids to go to college. No one is suffering. I am not a bad evil woman for relishing the challenges of my professional life. I will not go to Hell for enjoying the break from the madness of 2 kids, 3 cats and a Jack Russel terrier that leaving for work every morning grants me. In fact, I think that by getting out and working I am more committed to family time on weekends and we are all closer as a group because we are not climbing up each otherís asses all week.

 

Needless to say I was only invited to walk once.


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