Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are you really a SAHMMY?

Are you really a stay at home mom? You know, a housewife?

I'm always in job denial. I say I don't work. You know, like, as if? Even when I don't have what I refer to as a j-o-b, there is the undeniable fact that every mother is a working mother.

Add to that this crazy ebay undertaking I've done, mostly as a hobby and random spending cash maker, and I'm full-time employed, baby. It's low pay, but it's $ for all those little things that you really need money for: sports for the kids, coffee, ice cream on an afternoon downtown, splurge on a nice car wash. But here I am with this huge project, limited time, and I've started really evaluating my priorities. The house is a mess, the kids are abandoned...what's a girl to do? I said I'd do this job, and I really don't mind it. What I DO mind is the piles of laundry and dishes that aren't getting done. Heck, I'd much rather make pretty pictures and write html than clean...or would I?

The other morning I had a dream. In this dream, I received a diagnosis that I had an illness and would die within six months. I immediately packed all the boxes of for-sale things up and shipped them all back. My house, and my calendar was empty - ready for all those things that I always wanted to do as a mom: cooking, cleaning, volunteering at the school library, PTA, baking cookies, helping with homework. I set about industriously trying to do anything I could to leave some love behind for my kids, knowing it wouldn't be enough, but feeling that at least my priorities are in order.

Sometimes I've relied on that money from my odd computer jobs. It's come in really handy when I thought a check might bounce, or I didn't have enough for gas for a trip, or groceries for a dinner party. Little extravagances that are sortof necessary, especially once you've decided to have them. Like inviting people over and only later realizing that you have to go to the store to buy food for dinner! School field trips, sports, brie, wine. It's nice to know that if I overspend just a little, I can cover it with that little entertainment fund. It's not exactly income, but it makes my life easier, nicer.

At what point is it no longer worth it? This work is supposed to be seasonal, just a couplea weeks and then it's over. Take a few bucks and sock it away for Christmas presents. When you suddenly realize you have a full-time job, how do you get out of it? Should you? I've committed to doing this job, and I'm going to finish it. I actually enjoy it - but just don't want quite so much of it. I don't necessarily want unemployment, I want underemployment.

I truly believe that every family needs one person to stay home and take care of all the loose ends. Make sure everything gets mailed, picked up, dry cleaned, purchased, cleaned, tidied, watered, harvested, arranged, hugged, planned, made, seen and washed. Doesn't matter which family member it is, or if it's hired help. But someone has to take care of all that stuff! I always wanted it to be me, and I'm not that bad at it. BUT, it's easy to think that you're unemployed, when really, you're a working mom. I used to like to say that I don't work for pay. But these days, I guess I do.

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