Raising children we can live with (or: more thoughts on Mormon housewives)

First of all, clinic I know I don’t need to start off by saying that I’m sure no one thinks I think the Mormon mommy bloggers have a perfect life or have it all together but I’m going to say it anyway:

I don’t think they have perfect lives or have it all together. No one, no where has it all together and perfection means something different for everyone – as well as being an unattainable crazy-making goal.

In fact the ones I like the most – which I believe are the more famous ones – I like because of their honesty and depth in addition to their envy-making wardrobes and adorable children. Also, I think one of the reasons I find them so fascinating is that while I don’t personally want to push half a dozen kids (or more) out of my body and have to raise them – I like reading about people who do. Big families fascinate me – but no, I don’t watch any of those big family reality shows.

Really, it is a personality glitch on my part that I always hesitate when people ask me what I am doing right now. It isn’t as though I don’t think staying at home isn’t work – I’ve said it before & I will say it again – this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. It’s just that after so many years of schooling I feel like I should want more.

Except I don’t.

Okay, I do and I don’t.

But since before Moira was born my motto has been: I’m trying to raise children we can live with. What that really means is that I’m trying to raise our children into people everyone can live with – and I take my job (but not myself) very seriously. I knew it would be hard going into it – I just didn’t know it would be Moira-hard (and if you are a regular reader to this blog you know what that means). Hard and rewarding.

I was born on a pirate ship

In my last post I received this inspiring comment from Lyndsey*:

I decided early on to proudly say “I stay home with our children” when anyone asks what I “do”. I have found that, more often than not, it brings the conversation to a screeching halt and suddenly the other person (almost always a young-ish, single, childless, Los Angeles hipster) doesn’t know what to talk to me about anymore, even if the conversation was fun and flowing a few moments before.

I also have friends, very dear friends, who, after I say “I stay at home with my children”, watch the awkward pause and then jump in to my “defense” by saying, “but before that she worked in the LA Opera costume shop” or “she’s too modest to tell you that she’s an excellent seamstress”, etc, etc.

I am enough as I am, what I do is enough for me. Why can’t it be for everyone else? Why do they not see me as whole? It is a sad state of affairs, for sure.

I’ve been in the same situation where single friends will interject a conversation with what I used to do and so I feel the need to do it too. I think what I should say now when people ask me what I do is to not say “I’m a stay-at-home mom but…” >insert something to make me sound more interesting here< (let’s call this Imabut Syndrome) but reply with: “I’m raising children we can live with” and see how people react. I’m sure it would be a conversation starter. Because really, at the end of the day I’m a grateful for this chance to stay home with the girls and be the one raising them. I am grateful that I don’t spend every morning fighting to get them out of the house to daycare, that they have the opportunity to get enough sleep (which they could try to take advantage of once in a while!), have home cooked meals 3x a day and generally get to be around someone who loves them all the time. I honestly believe it is how children were meant to be raised. Of course, every family is different, some people can’t afford to stay home. Some people love their jobs and would go crazy staying home. Some need or want a combination of both. In the end it is all about finding balance and what works for you and your family. I know I don’t have the energy right now to raise the girls they way I think they should be raised and work full time. For me, right now, this works. It is enough.

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*You should really check out Lyndsey’s blog. She is doing a Royal Wedding Retrospective right now which is too much fun.

C. Jane – who is one of my favourites – had a very interesting response to the Salon.com article that she was mentioned in. You can read it here. I think one of the things I like most about C. Jane is that in addition to her quirkiness she isn’t afraid to tackle the tough issues and talk about the religion she so passionately believes in.

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