So usually at Grumpy Rumblings we’re pretty laissez faire about what people do with their lives and the choices they make. We don’t really care enough about most people to judge them. (You know, unless they turn their kids blue.)
But something we’ve noticed recently… not all people are cut out to be stay at home parents (SAHP). Obviously both of us fit into that category, one because there’s no kids, and the other because she knows it deep down. Also we thought the blog could use a little controversy– it’s been a while since our last big debate.
And we’re definitely not saying all people shouldn’t be SAHP. Some people have made that choice and it seems to be a great choice for them and for their families. Not that there isn’t some stress and isolation, but on balance they’re doing great, their kids are doing great, and it is pleasant being around them.
But some people are obviously miserable and overanalysing and need more adult contact! Successful SAHP seem to be a lot more laid back than the folks we’re highlighting here. They also get out and talk to adults. Often they even spend some time with adults without kids their own kids’ age, who don’t belong to the local moms group. They have interests, hobbies, and/or volunteer work that isn’t 100% kid-centered.
We’re just pointing out that some SAHP really aren’t cut out for it and would honestly be better off with jobs. Generally these are Type A folks. Burnt out at their high-powered pre-kid jobs, they try to optimize their children. They feel like their kids reflect on them in the great competition of parenting. But it’s not a competition!
Here are some indicators that maybe being a full-time SAHP is not for you:
- You go to 8 hour parenting classes on Saturdays to learn how to not parent your kid.
- You post rants on mothering forums complaining about whether or not other kids should bring toys to the playground.
- You analyze every single action that your child does based on all the parenting books and webpages you’ve read and share this analysis with any adult you can get to listen.
- You never let your child play alone or alone with other children. You are always down there playing with them (and you judge parents who aren’t!).
- Conversely, you leave your kid in a bouncy seat for hours and explore an exciting online virtual life. (You know, like Clara on The Guild.)
- You resent your spouse and complain to everybody under the sun about hir. At the same time, you don’t allow hir to take any responsibility for your child or housework.
- You spend a *lot* of time worrying about what other people think of you and of your parenting. You actually take your in-laws’ complaints to heart and either feel terrible or rant against them, instead of just rolling your eyes and remembering that they’re from a different era.
- Your entire worth is bundled up in the perceived accomplishments and failures of your 2 year old.
Perhaps instead, it is time to get a new job. You don’t have to go back to the law office, but you know, someplace where you talk to adults and think about other stuff besides your kid. Or maybe some volunteer work or political activism. Or something!
And it’s ok. Your kids will turn out fine, maybe even better, with a parent who is happy with outside interests rather than one who is around all the time in every sense. It’ll be less pressure for the kid! Plus your spouse will be forced to pick up some of the slack so there will be two involved parents instead of one overinvolved one. Find a great daycare provider. And stop feeling so guilty. It doesn’t matter what your mom did or didn’t do or what your neighbors will think.
This public service message has been brought to you by Grumpy Rumblings, who remind you that it’s ok to try something different if what you’re doing is not working out. Let the flameage begin.