We Now Pause

I hate being serious.

There’s very few things I can be serious about, and I happen to think it’s a very good thing. Life can’t be taken seriously, see, or we’d all end up in the nut house. Laughter, a talent we are inherently born with, would become unlearned as our years went on and before we knew it: children would be running things clean up until they grew up enough to forget how to laugh as well.

Running things will do that to a person. I happen to know that first hand because I run things around here. It’s my job -no, MORE than that: it’s my life.
Jobs have a funny way of letting you clock off, take vacations, and get paid. What I do doesn’t offer one little bit of those things… at least, not in the same way. Incidentally, my job is something I’m very serious about.

I’ve never taken my life’s choices lightly. I’ve never been brainwashed into doing something I don’t CHOOSE of my own free will and accord to do. My parents left the world open to me, and I’m very aware of how blessed I really have been in that regard.
When I was very young, I wanted to be a country singer. When I was a little older, I wanted to an archaeologist. I even went through a period where I wanted to solve mysteries. If you laugh, it’s only because you used to believe you were the next Sherlock too.
All through my stages, two things remained.
1) Even as a very small grade schooler, I used to watch my teachers and think, ‘When I’m a teacher, I’ll teach it differently.’ And then I’d proceed to make fake lesson plans in my head (yes, even when I was 6). I didn’t think it was weird -I thought every kid was doing the same thing in their own head.
2) I lived my life in constant awareness that I would someday be a mother. I bought yearbooks from eighth grade to Senior Year -paid for them with cash earned at my own hand for one sole purpose: I wanted my children to have them. I spent hours pouring over my mother’s yearbooks, and I wanted my children to have the same chance. I started putting certain clothing away for my future children, anticipating the mockery that would surely come as they pulled old tattered clothing from a dusty Rubber Maid bin shoved into the farthest corner of the basement. I even went so far as to base certain choices on my impending children: would I ever want to rehash this experience to them? No? Then I’d better not do it.

And that’s just simply IT.
When I was dating my husband, he told me he would never hold me back from what I wanted to do. The feminists out there are calving, I’m sure… but what he was giving me was really a gift. There are a lot of husbands out there who DO hold their wives back, who DON’T let them shine. One of the greatest gifts my husband has given me is the ability to CHOOSE to stay at home with our children.

My mother once said I had a way of starting to make a point and then taking the long way of getting there -so long, in fact that my listeners almost forget what point I’m making (let’s face it: I forget myself half the time) and then I finish.
“Oh yeah,” my mom said, taking on the roll of someone who might be listening to a point I was trying to make, “THAT’S what she was talking about.”
So forgive me a minute while I take the long way ’round The Point.

All peoples are created equal but radically different, and stereotypes are a modern enemy. We all hate them, but we all employ them -even without realizing it. The battle we’re fighting against stereotypes is a losing one, thanks in large part to the media and thanks in larger part to social networking.
My father is a mechanic.
There. See? You just got a stereotypical image in your head. Is the mechanic in your head wearing overalls? Covered in grease? Listening to the radio loudly in the background? Dangling a half-eaten bag of Cheetos from his left hand? Swearing?
That is not my father. Well, some of it applies: the loud music (gotta crank it over all that loud equipment), the Cheetos, and the occasional swearing (well, have YOU ever tried to fix a car?). My father is honest -so honest it would make your head spin. He’s clean cut. His shirts are always tucked in, and he takes pride in his personal appearance. He does an honest job for honest pay, and he doesn’t overcharge.

My mother is a homemaker.
There. See? You just got a stereotypical image in your head. Is the homemaker in your head wearing an apron? Is her hair curled? Is it June Cleaver?
Okay, now we’re just playing a one-sided game of 20 questions.
That also is not my mother. She owns an apron. I know because I used to see it buried in the kitchen linen drawer when I was growing up. I never once saw it on her. She doesn’t live like June Cleaver -aside from being 3 Dimensional, she has a life littered with issues that were never written into June’s script. Well, there were SIX of us kids, you understand, and not one of us behaved like Beaver. Or Wally, for that matter.

Guess what I am?
I am a stay at home mom.
Oh there you go again. You’re picturing me in sweats, aren’t you? I’m not wearing make up and I’m sitting in front of my computer screen while simultaneously eating a bon-bon and barking at my unbathed children to get back inside and get some clothes on, for crying out loud, before the neighbor sees you in all your glory trying to let their dog out.

Okay, the last part of that stereotypical image has some truth to it. A, um, FRIEND of mine told me that story once. She was wearing make up at the time though… I swear it.

What of my dream to become a teacher? Well, I’m living it. I teach constantly: no vacation, no time off, no clocking out, no sick days, no personal leave, no summer break, and NO paycheck.
Am I compensated? You betcha. Monetarily? Forget it because I did a long time ago. I don’t want to get paid for what I do. I don’t NEED to get paid for what I do.
I’m living my dream because I chose to live it. Would anyone who truly wanted to live their dream be concerned about the pay and benefits?
Of course not, said the painter.
Of course not, said the farmer.
OF course not, said the writer.

Because they’re happy -and no paycheck can take the place of happiness no matter how much you joke about it. If I were to miss anything -an.ee.thing that my children had to offer in their preschool years, no paycheck would ever salve that wound… no vacation, no getaway, no new car, no new home, no material anything.
Because everyone is created equally and radically differently, I can say that there are other women out there who don’t share my opinion and THANK GOODNESS for that. We NEED variety. We NEED women who can leave the home. The modern workforce would be in shambles without the Female Presence. Well, maybe not TOTAL shambles, but it wouldn’t be running nearly as efficiently. We can all agree on that.

What brings me to even bothering to blogging the obvious is that it turns out it isn’t obvious.
I thought it was.
But do something for me. Google, “mock stay at home mothers.”
See what comes up? It’s heart wrenching.
Now wait, wait… Google, “mock working mothers.”
See what comes up? Articles mocking STAY at home mothers.

Someone please help me to understand WHY. What’s the cause? What’s the reason? More importantly: what’s the POINT? Should we all, as women, leave our homes to avoid a little mockery? And since when did it become comonplace to add the word “just” before the words “a mom” when someone asks us what we do?
There’s nothing just about it. Really. Nothing.
There’s nothing just about the mockery. There’s nothing just about the hours. There’s nothing just about the toll is takes on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically.
I’m not looking for justice in what I do -I’m simply looking for love. And you know what? I’m finding it. Justice and love rarely shake hands anyway, just ask well-adjusted married couple out there.

I’m not here to parade and stand up for stay at home mothers. I’m not. At least not today. Today I’m just asking the Infinite Void to realize that
Disrespecting someone’s life work is strong evidence of ignorance -no matter what that life’s work may be.

Remember that next time you happen upon a plumber’s crack, and before you snap a picture of it to send to your buddy: ask yourself if you’d switch places with him. Well, would you? Then can that text and buy the man a cake. Heaven knows he’s MORE than earned it.
The same goes for your local Cheeto-loving mechanic.
and florist.
and ballerina.
and artist.
and meteorologist.

Forgive me for being serious and for being seriously hurt. In an attempt to lighten the post, I’ll share a priceless picture with you -once in which I’ve debated sharing for one reason only.
My son is n@ked. And yes, I just coded over the word n@ked because I don’t want anyone searching for n@ked kiddos on internet to find my son.
And it goes something like:
I finished helping my son bathe, and I pulled the plug. I turned to get his towel from the back of the door where the towels normally hang. Of course it wasn’t there because OF COURSE it was on the couch with the rest of the clean, unfolded laundry that keeps growing back no matter how far down I chop it.
“Don’t get out of the tub,” I said as the water level dropped drastically, “I’ll be right back.”
And I WAS right back…
It’s amazing the things we forget as adult. We forget how to laugh, for one… and we forget that when we were 3, the bathroom drain was one of the MOST terrifying objects in our world because it had the potential to TAKE us.

Children have a way of reminding us of things like that.
They also have a way of reminding us how to laugh.
Just two of the long list of “benefits” my life’s work offers.

**I can honestly say I’m not putting out a shameless plug for attention when I say, “Please share this post with someone who you think might get a lift from reading it.”  I couldn’t care less if one or 100 people read it -so long as one person was touched by it.  I just have a hunch that some sweater-wearing stay at home mother out there might possibly be in need of this post.  More than likely, that sweater-wearer is myself.  Just in case it isn’t, would you mind passing it on?  Thanks ever so.**



  1. Well said Alicia!! I have a book called In Praise of Stay at Home Moms by Dr Laura. This post makes me want to read it again, and you should too. And I will pass along this post, I think we all need a reminder that we’re doing something worthwhile!

  2. Danielle says:

    I love this!! If it weren’t for the stay at home Mom’s we wouldn’t have the class Moms that help our own children while the working Mom’s work, or the soccer Mom that takes care of the other kids because their parents are working or at home, using the after school activities as a babysitter. I have the up most respect for stay at home Moms. I have never been in a financial position that allowed me to do that, but I have made sure that I have thanked and tried to help every Mother that has helped me raise my children. So many people mock the stay at home Moms but forget that it is those stay at home Moms that are there when our kids fall on the playground, or the soccer field, or play practice, or field trips when working Moms aren’t or can’t be. So, thank you. I know that you aren’t one of the Moms that have helped me with my kids, but you have helped with other peoples’ children and from all of us working Moms that appreciate all that you do, thank you!

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