By Heather O.
Carrie made this comment on a previous post:
“I feel far more comfortable when I am working in my field than when I am being a mom. I think I feel l am better at being a designer than I am at being a mom (at least for now), so I feel more confident in that arena. The funny thing is when people ask what I do, I automatically say I am a SAHM even though I work about 20 hours a week. I wonder why that is?”
I think Carrie’s feelings of being more competent in a professional arena than in her own home are not uncommon. When I went briefly went back to work full time after Jacob was born, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of confidence I had dealing with the problems at work compared to the guesswork of dealing with with a alien newborn at home. Interesting that we can feel so comfortable solving professional problems, but feel overwhelmed and helpless when it comes to calming a crying baby. Or soothing a grumpy toddler. Or cleaning up an entire box of Cheerios that has been dumped out on the carpet as a snack for the dog. (FYI-A dog can eat half a box of cereal in about 3 and half seconds. Who knew.)
And I think this brings up another interesting question–can we still say we are SAHMs even if we work a little bit outside the home? I’m working now, but I still consider myself a SAHM, just because I’m working so little. And yet, technically, I guess I’m a working mom. I had a friend who worked way more than part time, and yet she would talk about being home with her kids. It used to bug the heck out of me, because I would scream at her in my head, “Stay-at-home moms don’t get paychecks!” (Of course, now she has a nanny, so now I scream “Stay at home moms don’t have nannies!)
Are there gradations of being a SAHM, if you will, or do you automatically lose your status if you actually get a paycheck somewhere along the line? And if your paycheck is a pretty sad little sum, does it even count? Maybe we should have a pay scale category type thing: $100/month, well, that’s so pathetic you’re still considered a SAHM. $500/week–whoa, you’ve hit the bigtime baby–off to the working woman category for you!
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