Posts tagged " stay-at-home moms "

Searching for More Bibs

August 10th, 2010 Posted by Susan's Musings No Comment yet

Have you seen those “Where are they now?” notices on your computer? They refer to the cast of a TV show that has been off the air for a while. If you are avoiding work you can spend too many minutes catching up on the lives of people about whom you would otherwise never think.

Re-reading the blog post below and noticing that it is almost three years old made me ask the same question, but about women I truly care for and with whom I speak regularly.

We are still working. We are still involved with our families. But as the collective number of married children with their own children increases we face a new dilemma. The conflict between home and work is now a multi-generational one.

I was fortunate to have four grandparents living near me through most of my childhood. My maternal grandmother, I was sure, had three modes of existence.

1) Waiting for me to visit
2) Being thrilled that I was visiting
3) Getting ready for my next visit.

I was extremely irritated to discover any number of cousins who thought that the homemade cookies and the welcome mat were actually meant for them. Furthermore, I never connected the volunteer work my grandmother did or the friends I occasionally heard about with the concept that there might be something other than me as the pivot point of her life.

It was a wonderful feeling and was my default understanding of grandmother-hood. My grandmother did not ever, ever say, “I would love to hear your story but I have a call coming in a few minutes so can I call you back,” or “I can’t wait for you to visit, but now just isn’t a good time.”

Not so for my friends and me. Not only do many of our children and grandchildren live in different states and even countries from us, but we face a simple reality of needing to produce income. This takes a serious time commitment. We are simply are not as available to our families as we would like to be.

While I am grateful for having been a stay-at-home mom, I admit to not having thought about the desire to be a stay-at-home (granted, with children all over the place, I don’t even know whose home that would be) mom of grown children and a stay-at-home grandma. I am blessed with work I love, but my paycheck has a fair amount of longing tied to it.

My well-worn bib collection has long ago been thrown out. Hopefully, in the years to come I will be able to start a frequently used second-generation one.

 

From Bibs to Boardrooms (pub. Oct. 30, 2008)

August 8th, 2010 Posted by Susan's Musings 4 comments

 

 

 

I had lunch the other month with a powerful group of women. Around the table sat a highly intelligent and accomplished bunch made up of small business owners, executives, and/or entrepreneurs.

 

I didn’t meet these women through a business organization or college alumnae program. We actually met many years ago, when it seemed as if all of us were always pregnant or nursing (actually this wasn’t an illusion – for years we were always pregnant or nursing) and we spent a lot of time together learning, swapping advice, laughing, chatting and simply being there for each other. Had you asked us to look ahead at that point to the time when our children would be grown, I think you would have been met with sleep deprived gazes that couldn’t comprehend that there would be a day when diaper pails and bibs would no longer be the central decorating theme of our homes. Our short term goal was to get a solid night’s sleep, our long term one to finish a magazine article in one sitting; I certainly don’t think any of us anticipated our present lives, still dedicated to our families, but also engrossed in careers.

 

And yet, here we were. What had been a group of full time stay at home mothers who shopped together for triple strollers, bought pots at restaurant supply stores and were mistaken for a preschool when we went to the park en masse, had in the blink of an eye found ourselves the mothers of adults who no longer needed us hovering over them.

 

And while our husbands, by assuming full financial responsibility, had given us (and themselves) the precious gift of time with our young children, by the time those years passed, our families’ bank accounts were in dire need of infusion. While we all had college degrees and some of us more advanced ones, our resumes had huge spaces in them that were less than impressive to prospective employers.

 

Yet, somehow, as I looked around the lunch table, each of us when the time was right had turned the vast skills and experiences we had gained in those years of focusing on being wives and mothers and transformed ourselves into driven, competent, and savvy professionals. Rather than being discouraged by how little others would appreciate our home based accomplishments, we assessed our own talents and interests and carved out a niche for ourselves.

 

I think it is entirely possible that if in the early years of our marriages we had been aware of the financial realities of the future, we might have been drawn to make different, perfectly rational decisions. Perhaps we would have had fewer children or kept our feet in the door through part time employment, or opted for nannies to enable us to work full time. Looking back, I’m glad we were naïve. While I don’t advocate digging one’s head into the sand, sometimes we need to thank God for keeping the future hidden in a mist and trust ourselves that when we need to step up to the plate, we will be able to do so. 

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