Friday, April 2, 2010

"Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder!"

In March, Wednesdays were M’s first day back to work. They were also usually the day I would cry a little because I missed having him and the baby at the house. However, because they were not at the house, Wednesdays were also the start of lunch hour agendas for me. This past Wednesday’s agenda? Buy more clothes for the baby. Hard work, right? (Don’t worry, the next day’s agenda was "buy more groceries”. What fun!)

Baby clothes shopping gets me to thinking how I used to be all “at the stage where they're outgrowing clothes so quickly, I’m totally going to go the thrift store route”. Only, now that I’m here, I don’t have the time to go and sift through the thrift racks properly**.

Which gets me to daydreaming about a time when I will have the time. That (hopefully not too elusive/ too far off) day when I can do things like be home, go to the library, go to thrift stores, go to the park (on less-windy Wednesdays), open up the blinds and let the good light in for art projects, look for bugs in the dirt, fly a kite (on the more-windy Wednesdays). . . .

If ever I doubted whether I could survive as a SAHM, or if it’s what I really wanted, or if I’d even remotely find it interesting, I don’t anymore. Apparently, it’s become the life of my (day)dreams. (Which is why we are working so hard at the schooling part of our life right now.)

Still, I'm reluctant to take that leap. For one, my husband has been laid off twice in recent history. There are no guarantees, but I do work for the government, so at least my job's a little more stable. After going through two layoffs (and now with M working part time), going from 2 incomes to 1 (or from 2 to 1.5) isn't all that frightening a prospect. But going from 1 to 0 scares the crap out of me! I comfort myself with the thought that I have an education and could easily (?) get a job if need be.

Which is probably the exact reason I struggle so much with being judgmental of women who don't work while their husbands work 2-3 jobs - or worse, after their husbands have lost their jobs - just to make ends meet. Like I said, I struggle with this tendency, mostly because I don't like that my mind immediately goes to that "why isn't she working" place. Just because I could never in good conscience stay at home while my husband worked 2 or 3 jobs doesn't mean that everyone's circumstance or feelings are the same as mine. After all, there are things like the cost of childcare to consider into that equation.


If ever I do get the opportunity to be a SAHM, I'll likely do a cannonball into it. (right now I'll bet there's someone out there judging me, thinking "you make your own opportunities, girl!"). I'll clip coupons, I'll cook at home, I'll be engaged with my kid(s), I'll exercise, I'll enjoy the good weather while it lasts, I'll (consider) home school. . .

(**I reason with myself that if 50% of the clothes I buy are gender-neutral, then at least that 50% will be able to be used if the next baby’s a girl. It helps my sanity to do so. However, if you have a better way (do you use Craigslist? Ebay? consignment shops like Once Upon a Child? or just retailers who have really good deals and decent selection?), I would so love to pursue that line of reasoning! Seriously, what do you do?)

[Title quote is from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back"]


Danielle said...

I was somewhat relieved when I got pregnant w/ Charlotte because I felt a little more justified quitting my job and staying home with 2 kids while my poor husband slaved away working full-time and going to school full-time. Now, when I think I should be doing something to bring in extra income, I remember I hardly have time left to shower each day, and the thought quickly goes away.

I figure at least Caleb can rely on having clean underwear each day (usually!) and a home-cooked meal when he gets home.(and if he's lucky, a wife who's showered and brushed her teeth)

I will say though that those couple months I worked after Justin was born (I just finished out the school year) were really hard! My heart goes out to women to have to work, because it's a lot to do! Caleb said he was glad I worked those couple months because now he'll never asked me to go back to work again. I guess he got tired of living off of frozen pizza. :P

Danielle said...

As for thrift stores-- I swear the thrift stores around the valley are way overpriced. And it drives me nuts that Goodwill organizes their kids' clothes by color instead of size, so I don't shop there. I'll browse for really cute stuff that is a good deal-- I've found most of Charlotte's dresses at thrift stores, for example. But for every day play clothes, you can buy pieces of clothing for $2-4 each off of clearance racks and spend less than at thrift stores these days.

Nichole said...

thanks Danielle! I always appreciate your input! for some reason I have a mental scale from who knows where:

1 kid + staying home while hub works 2 jobs = seriously, try and find a job in the evenings or something.

2-plus kids + staying home while hub works his butt off = defensible because mom's working hers off, too.

2-plus kids + staying home while hub is unemployed = definitely hone up those job hunting skills woman!

1 school-aged child + staying home while hub works at all = what are you still doing home? go to work already!

I'm ridiculous, what can I say! SAHMs work hard, I know. I just feel like if it came down to it, one person should not shoulder the working out of the home burden if one income is not working out!

You made me feel better about what I'm already doing with clothes, though: just searching for good deals wherever I can get them and not worrying about the rest!

Trina said...

they always have the mix&match shelves at target or walmart and the clearance racks in these or even old navy/ mall stores is way better organized AND just as cheap as thrift stores (i.e. once upon a child) gotta do some shoppin with me soon- i'll show ya, lol!

Trina said...

oh and btw, since i've done both i can say that i wouldn't have done any different. being sahm while in school was crazy but now that kids are in school full time i am more than happy to be working while they're gone

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