I am not a woman who grew up intending to be a stay-at-home mother. Neither am I someone who has ever been called "career-driven." In the media-hyped Mommy Wars, I have found my place smack dab in the middle, stuck in the midst of a bunch of stereotypes with no clear sense of my newfound identity. Writings on the subject tend to be political or satirical, neither of which satisfies my questions.
I never meant to be a SAHM and often feel guilty- why do I feel slightly embarrassed to be one sometimes? Are there really other moms out there who love their kids but also can't stand the sight of them on some days? Can I still be a feminist and not care when I get back into the workforce? Is it normal to feel like a shut-in even when you're scheduled with social activities from dawn through dusk?
Just in time for an impending mommy meltdown, MotherTalk sent me a book to review that lets me know that I'm not alone in my conundrum.
The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide: Field-Tested Strategies for Staying Smart, Sane, and Connected When You're Raising Kids at Home addresses the complexities of being a stay-at-home mom, from having one child or more to mommy brain, friends and financial issues.
Author Melissa Stanton was an editor at People and LIFE before becoming a SAHM, so you might expect The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide to be purely entertainment-oriented, but it's not. Stanton cites serious resources (and a few chick-lit sounding titles!) and conducted interviews with a panel of Stay-at-Home moms.
My personal favorite chapter in The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide, "Sex and the Stressed-Out Stay-at-Home Mom," includes this pearl of wisdom for spouses of SAHM: "If you want some action, you need to woo the mother of your children the same way you did before she was the mother of your children. That means instead of pouncing on her when she collapses exhausted into bed, make and take her on a real date…" No duh.
But seriously, it's nice to have a non-preachy, non-patronizing resource to consult when you feel like you're being stretched too thin. (Which is a bit too often sometimes.) Funny is great, but real life is more pragmatic. The Stay-at-Home Survival Guide is kind of like a What to Expect for Stay-at-Home Moms, a book I expect to reach for whenever I feel like locking myself in a bathroom to get away from a sassy four year old…