My sister-in-law posted something on Facebook earlier, that she was feeling kind of snarky toward a number of blogs she had been reading about being a SAHM, homeschooling, homemaking, even making your own shampoo. As people responded - including myself - the mindset of "SAHM-topia" (my term...like it?!) was touched upon.
Jeremy and I decided before we were even married that when we became parents, I would be a SAHM. His mom was a SAHM til he and his sister were in junior high. My mom was a lot more career-driven, so only took a little over a year each with myself and my brother, and only 6 weeks with my sister.
One of my best friends growing up had a SAHM up through high school and beyond (and as far as I know, she is still a homemaker, and never went back to work outside the home). I have to admit, I was always pretty jealous. My parents did plenty with us, but it was nice to have my friend's mom always around and engaged in our activities when I was over there. Sure, she laid down the law when we were giggling so loudly the whole neighborhood could hear us at midnight, and scolded me pretty well when I had the naive audacity to put my tennis shoes on their dining room table, but overall, she was great. I love my parents dearly, but it was just...different...from what I had with two full-time working parents.
So somewhere along the line, I got this perception in my head of "SAHM-topia." You know, the June Cleaver mom with fresh-baked cookies and milk when the kids rolled in the door every afternoon. A spotless clean house, a hot, home-cooked meal every night, greeting her husband with a sweet kiss and absolutely showing no signs of stress or weariness from her 8 hours of slaving away over raising her kids, cleaning her house, and cooking and baking. And you know, my friend's mom didn't fall far from that mark, so that was just a reinforcement of my "SAHM-topian" perception.
Truth is, I do a lot "right" as a SAHM, but I also do a lot "wrong." Sometimes I do spend 3 hours making a lasagna from scratch - sauce and everything - and homemade fresh-baked rolls and a green salad on the side. But some nights I resort to grilled cheese sandwiches that I throw together in 10 minutes. Some days I bake, but most days I don't. I ALWAYS make my kids' lunches for school, but rarely remember to throw one together for my husband. (Sorry honey!) Some days the kids are well-contained and well-mannered. And some days its an endless war. Some days I am cool as a cuke when Jeremy walks in the door, and some days I am about ready to scream. Some days I am very productive, and other days I'm either too lazy or two busy to run adequate amounts of laundry. Sometimes I let crumbs sit under the table for far too long without bothering to sweep them up. Usually I remember all the kids' appointments, school events, and extracurricular activities, but sometimes it just completely slips my mind. I'd like to say I never raise my voice to or around my kids and husband, but truthfully, sometimes I do. (Hey, I'm human. *shrug*) I censor the kids' TV watching, but certainly not well enough to meet AAP standards. And on and on....
My point is, "SAHM-topia" doesn't exist. And anyone who says it does is either "Mother Of The Year," a TV character, or a liar. I'm going with liar. We don't become SAHMs to be perfect. Truth is, our young kids love us, imperfections and all, as long as we show our love for them, imperfections and all.
Somehow, we need to break this notion that SAHMs are "perfect moms," and that "SAHM-topia" truly exists. I have tried to create "SAHM-topia" before, and failed miserably. Finally I had to accept the fact that its a myth, it doesn't exist, and that the best I can do is good enough. Some days are more utopian than others. We are all mothers, and being a mother is tough! We may not get everything done in a day, and that's okay. We may not be able to shower and get dressed til noon, but that's okay too. Our babies may try and eat Aveeno diaper rash cream (which is safe, BTW...Poison Control told me so) when we aren't looking, but hey, it happens to the best of us. We may not be able to keep our cool in every situation, but we're only human. We may not be able to juggle everything, but every juggler drops the ball sometimes.
So, my fellow SAHMs, we need to lighten up, and just be our wonderful mother selves, and cut ourselves some slack. "SAHM-topia" doesn't exist, and the longer we try and attain it, the longer we're just going to run ourselves into the ground, and keep the momentum of this urban legend alive. Just be a mom. That's all your kids need, and at the end of the day, if all you've done is just been a mom, then you've done your job. The rest is just...the rest.