Friday, April 27, 2007

how times change

My family all came in for J.'s* birthday, and my mom stayed on for a few days after everyone else left. It was so fun having her here - we tend to be a little argumentative and spirited with each other, but it's just the way we interact, especially when we are together in person. It drives Husband nutty, but he's used to it by now. We spent most of her time here cooking - I love to have her come and make all my favorite foods! She also likes to make things for Husband, and I enjoy that too because it's nice to have some of his favorites without much effort on my part. I also took advantage of her being here to watch J. and got a lot of work done, as well as a pedicure one day and a massage another day! I even took a nap one afternoon, which I felt a little guilty about, since Husband was at work and obviously not napping, but I really needed the rest. And I don't feel too guilty anymore, because Husband went to the baseball game yesterday afternoon during the work day and he's playing golf with clients this afternoon.

Anyway, one thing that really strikes me as funny is how different my mom's attitude is towards all the "stay-at-home" mom tasks and my attitude. She dropped out of college when I was born, and then didn't go back until after my brothers and I were all in high school (and congrats to her - she's graduating next week with her masters degree!). Her twenties, thirties, and most of her forties were focused solely on my dad, me, my brothers, and our home. That was it. That was her life. She did work some during this time, but always for places like our mothers-day-out programs and church nursery school. I have great memories though of her playing with us all afternoon, making us lunch, taking us to the pool, and going on fun trips with her and all the other SAHM and their kids.

I digress for a minute - I think that was one of the big things that made it easier to stay at home when she was raising kids - more moms were home, and she always had a group of women and kids to get together with and do things. There were more opportunities for social interaction because there were more women who were in similar positions. Now, there are other moms staying home, but so many of us are combining that with part-time work that it's a different dynamic. This is probably a whole other post.

Okay, back to my original train-of-thought: I kept noticing this week how my mom really has a different attitude than I do about what a wife/mom's role should be. She was really concerned one night when we didn't have dinner ready and on the table when Husband got home. She kept apologizing to him, and to me, that we had gotten caught up doing other things and dinner wasn't ready! This has never been something I've been concerned about - I typically have dinner at least underway by the time he gets home, but it's rarely done and never on the table! And there are many nights when he gets home and I haven't even thought about dinner, so we end up just eating leftovers or frozen pizza or going out. I think that as a SAHM, my mom would really consider that a complete oversight and "job" failure on her part!

Another thing she would do - around 6, shortly before Husband was due home, she'd also start making sure J. was in a clean diaper, and the house was picked up, and everyone was showered and dressed and presentable. I do usually make sure the house is cleaned up before Husband gets home, but sometimes I'll let J. just hang out in a dirty diaper if I know Husband is almost home because then he can change it! I realized that Husband and I really do operate more on a "equal" level with a lot of the tasks around the house that my mom was entirely responsible for since I do work part-time and since there is more of an expectation today, in general, that husbands shoulder some of the household responsibility.

I'm going to try a little more to do things my mom's way, at least to the extent that I can while also working, because I do see the value in letting Husband come home and relax and have everything be calm and under control. But I'm also realistic enough to know that I wouldn't be happy doing things exactly like my mom did/does.

*yes, I'm back to calling him J. Using his nicknames just wasn't working for me. I may start using his real name, but I'm still thinking about that. Until then, it's J. Unless I come up with something better. And I'm open to suggestions.

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  • What a great post. Isn't it interesting how things are so different for us compared to our mothers?

    By Blogger Isabel, at April 27, 2007 at 11:09 AM  

  • Why not use the real names? I never understood that. I mean we go to great lenghts to personalize our blogs, tell our stories, even share pictures, but then omit the names? What gives?

    I guess I find it easier to identify or relate to someone if I know their name. (May be just me though)

    By Blogger Vancouver mermaid/Montreal photographer, at April 28, 2007 at 7:36 PM  

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