I certainly didn't expect such a response to my 'making lunch for you husband' post. The comments took it a whole different direction than I intended them to. But I loved it. I found every answer interesting. I didn't agree with every comment made, but I love that there are so many different views in this world...that's how the world functions. If everyone in the world had the same opinions and interests, we could end up with millions upon millions of doctors for example, but no teachers. I love that everyone is different or the world would be a boring place.
I had written about packing lunch because that's an issue for me. I don't like to feel like I'm subservient to my husband...or the only one cleaning up his messes and the messes of all the members of my family. Because that's how it makes me feel, I didn't realize that not everyone feels like that about it. Autumn brought up a great point about love languages. I don't get the impression that she's a fan of packing her husbands lunch...but that's one way he knows she loves him. It's a sacrifice she's willing to make. While he is not a fan of writing her love notes...he does it because that's one way she knows he loves her.
I was glad to see that there were a good number of you who don't pack lunch. I guess I was just talking to the wrong people. And many of the men answered that they happily pack their own lunch or they do pack their own lunch but wouldn't mind if their wife did. Who can blame them for that, really? I wouldn't mind if Spencer came home every day to make me a lunch, either. I had one friend who responded via email. She said her husband not only packs her lunch, but irons her clothes, too. Whatever works for each family is the best answer...as long as every one's happy in their role.
Now this is where your comments took my post a different direction...a debate started to develop about whether or not it's best for women to stay home with her children. I have billions of comments but just can't get them all out. One, I don't have time to write them, nor you to read them. Two, I don't want to sound offensive or defensive. It's actually hard to put my thoughts into words without doing that. I'll do my best.
First of all, I don't think my not wanting to pack lunch for my husband has any bearing on how I value the family or what kind of mother I am. I obviously think it's important for a parent to stay home with their children, or I wouldn't be doing it. But whether it's the mother or the father who stays home should just depend on the parents and their personalities. A family where everyone is satisfied in his or her role, is going to be the family that functions best...the family that is the happiest...regardless of who stays home...if anybody. If a mother is completely depressed at home (and I can easily see how that could happen), that family is not going to function well. You hear stories on the news all the time about stay at home moms doing all kinds of awful things to their children while struggling with depression.
At this point in our lives, I definitely think Spencer would be the better candidate to stay home with the crazies. He's patient and NEVER freaks out when they're buggin'. He knows how to play with boys. I can't tell you how tired I am of playing superheroes, aliens, and trains. I'm not even good at it. Spencer is WAY better at that kind of thing. On days I'm especially frustrated or depressed because my life is consumed with this type of play, we discuss the option of him staying home instead. The problem is, I think there might be a time in the lives of our children that I might be the better candidate to stay home. I think I work particularly well with teenagers, for example. For us, we've decided that who ever is in it, is in it for the long haul. Trading off wouldn't allow for either of us to be successful in our careers. So I've opted to struggle through this phase of their lives so I can be the one home to struggle through a later phase in their lives.
Several of you mentioned how women are the nurturers. I don't think a woman has to stay home to nurture her children. She can nurture when she is home. Besides that, I do not now, nor have I ever used the word nurture to describe me. I really don't think I have much nurturing in me at all. Nurturing is so not natural for me. The little bit I have expresses itself only when my children are sick. I don't love it when my kids want to cuddle. After about ten seconds I have to push them away. I just don't like it. I am so grateful my kids are not snugglers...I'm sure I've made them that way. This is by high and large the main reason I choose not to breastfeed my babies...I'm just not nurturing.
I am a big supporter of women in the work force. The world has come a long way. Women can do things these days that were not possible even ten years ago. I LOVE the idea of a woman for president. I always choose women for doctors...not just my OB/GYN, but my family practitioner and my children's pediatricians. I like to support women in the work force. And I'm just more comfortable discussing my health and the health of my children with women...particularly with other mothers. I had a phenomenal OB in Ohio. She had three boys and was a family oriented woman. She was very encouraging of large families and very supportive of me having kids close together. I am so grateful (and sometimes jealous) that there are women like that who choose to work.
One of my college roommates chose the professional route. She has been married to a fantastic and supportive husband for seven years now and she is currently pregnant with their first child. I don't know all her plans, but I do know she intends on working after her child is born. She has a career that will allow for her to be home at times, too. I was so glad to hear that she was already booked for January after her baby is born. The world would be a little bit sadder place if Tammy decided to stop sharing her talents.
With every one's comments, I am wondering if all women feel like staying home is a huge sacrifice. I'm not talking about a financial sacrifice. And I'm not talking about the string of sacrifices we make throughout the day...sacrificing sleep, sacrificing the good piece of toast to give to your kid while you eat the burnt one, sacrificing time out with your friends to stay home with a sick kid, sacrificing hobbies, etc. But do you all feel you are sacrificing an education and career to stay home? I certainly do. I regularly dream about what I would be doing if I hadn't chosen this path. I hadn't quit my job before having Parker. I remember when I actually made the decision to quit, talking to my boss in tears. Even though it wasn't my dream job, it was a big step out of the work force and into the world of staying home. But maybe some of you don't feel it's a sacrifice if you don't want an education or career anyway.
I don't think this is coming out right, because I love motherhood. There isn't anything that I wouldn't do for my kids. I never regret staying home, I just miss school and working sometimes. Jeanine made reference to a stay at home mom who filled in at a job for someone for a week and loved it. I have no doubt that's how I would feel. I have every intention of having a career at one point. A friend made a comment to me when I told her we were moving to Texas for Spencer to get his PhD. She said how awesome that would be...we'll be Dr. and Mrs. Smith. While I love that my husband values an education, I HATE being the Mrs. It makes me feel like I'm left in the dust. That moment sealed the deal for me...I have no doubt I will one day proudly sport the initials PhD after my name. Dr. and Dr. Smith sounds much nicer.
I think Jeff...a single man of all people...hit on it the best. He mentioned how sad it is when a woman's entire identity becomes her husband and children. I think that's where my struggle comes in. The more time I spend at home, the less I remember the pre-children Katie. I currently feel like I am Katie the Homemaker and nothing else. Like about a trillion other Katie's in this world. I feel like I get lost in a crowd. I have nothing else going on in my life, but I don't like to be defined by my responsibilities as a homemaker.
Since I made the move to Texas, I have been going through a serious identity crisis. At first I was blaming it on the move. But I made friends here rather quickly. There are some great girls here. I don't think that's it. This is the first time since I've had kids that I haven't had anything else going on. I was serving in Young Women since long before Parker was born. And while Young Women isn't really a hobby or something I chose, it was something that I was good at and something that filled my time. I don't even think my counselors knew how much time I put into Young Women. Even though I was burned out, I really loved it. And now I have a major void in my life. No hobbies. Except blogging...which is just a reminder that I have nothing going on outside of my home.
I need a hobby. But it's nearly impossible to have one with my husband working and getting his PhD at nights. I've been seriously looking into going back to school...so serious that I've spoken with the department and have an application packet in hand, but I just don't think it's feasible right now in my life. So what are your suggestions? What do you all do to maintain some independence? To not forget who you are? To feel like more than just a homemaker?
This is some serious venting. I sound like a bitter woman. I think it's all a result of this identity crisis I'm going through. I try to keep my blog upbeat, but I've just taken it to a whole new level...a level I don't intend on visiting often.
I will end this by saying how much have enjoyed my time at home. Even though there are moments of insanity each day, I would miss out on so much if I were gone all day. While I am sometimes jealous of Spencer, I never resent him. It is not at all motherhood that I am struggling with. Or even having three children. I love being a mom. My children have brought me more joy than I ever knew was possible. I even find daily moments of joy at home with my crazies. Three kids is just three times the joy. Maintaining the eternal structure of the family in the ever changing world is just as important to me as it is to each of you. While I may dream of the life I could have had, that life is not nearly as important to me as the one I chose. I wouldn't trade all the degrees in the world for even five minutes of motherhood. I love it.