As a stay-at-home mom, I am an expert. I want to feel valued, respected, supported, and acknowledged. I want to be acknowledged as the expert in my particular field of motherhood and as head of household. I invite my methods to be questioned out of genuine concern and interest, but not out of spite, pride, or defensiveness. I want to be asked what the best way might be to accomplish a motherhood related task. I want to be acknowledged for knowing the best answer. Asking me how something could be done makes me feel supported. This house is my office, these children my charge. I put every ounce of my efforts into their well-being. I want this house, and the work I put into it to organize and run it a certain way, to be respected like an office. It is my place of work. 7am to 7pm are my working hours. I want the opportunity to take breaks, and for the person left in charge to take my lead and my suggestions. Just as a boss wants to feel that her employees are running the office successfully in her absence in order to feel at ease, I need my office to be run smoothly in my absence. I want to be able to take weekends away to visit family or friends, take a full day to myself to pursue my interests and recharge. And I want to do this without feelings of guilt, or fear that my office will be trashed. I am totally thrilled if the person left in charge has his or her own idea of doing things, as long as he or she respects my office in the process. I want to find it pretty close to the way I left it when I return.
Consider this the beginning of a manifesto. It is shaped by what I’ve learned in a year’s worth of reading about motherhood. I’ve read about the mask of motherhood, the zen of motherhood, the price of motherhood, the mojo of motherhood, the myth of motherhood, and the madness of it. I am a firm believer in the economic value of the caring labor that stay-at-home parents contribute to our society. As Ann Crittenden writes in “The Price of Motherhood”, a parent’s job is the formation of human capital, and human capital is the foundation of our economy.
This blog exists to give you a glimpse into my work life, my office. I want to explore the challenges it throws at me, share my learnings, unveil the “WTF?” moments, and hopefully, occasionally, evoke a familiar chuckle.