Thursday, March 10, 2011
Vacation? What vacation??
A few of the commenters over on WBUR who heard my "Here and Now" program earlier were a bit put off by my comparing staying home with kids to a luxurious vacation, both on the air and in the accompanying essay.
Frankly, I just don't understand their confusion.
What are you other SAHMs trying to tell me -- that your kids don't feed you grapes and fan you with palm fronds every day while you lounge on the beach watching Oprah and eating bon bons?
Just kidding, of course! Bon bons are much too fattening.
Seriously, I can bring up an image of myself on a typical day at home, especially when my boys were small, standing knee deep in scattered toys, the kids running around yanking curtains off the windows and throwing scrambled eggs on the ceiling between fist fights, me holding an overloaded basket of laundry, looking at a sink full of dirty dishes, my throat hoarse from yelling ...
What, that's not how you like to spend your luxurious vacations?
To clarify. I didn't mean "luxurious vacation" in the sense of, well, luxurious. Or, even, technically, involving vacation. Not as in time away from work, anyway. Because of course, caring for children is hard, hard work. The hardest work I've ever done. Times 10.
(Quick anecdote: I used to be a newspaper reporter. My ex-husband was, and still is, a newspaper reporter. He would come home after I'd had a long, hard day with the kids, and have the nerve to complain about his job. I'd say, "Look. I've done your job. I know it can be hard. But one thing I can say is that I never ended a day of newspaper work with a throat that was sore from yelling.")
(Poor guy just wanted to vent a little at the end of a long day of breadwinning? No wonder he divorced her, some of you are probably thinking.)
Anyway! What I meant was that being with my children every day was filled with the rich experiences that a wonderful vacation can provide, the priceless memories that stay with you for life. And by luxurious I meant expensive. Possibly unaffordable.
It was my way of attempting to explain how I can believe that women probably shouldn't quit their jobs to stay home with their kids, and at the same time not regret that having done so myself. That's a difficult thing to explain, involving two seemingly contradictory statements -- the financial mistake paired with the lack of regret -- and people don't always understand what I'm trying to say.
That's OK. I'll keep trying. That's what we're here for!
Did you stay home with kids? Do you regret the decision, or cherish the time or both? Or, if you continued working, do you have any regrets in the other direction? How do you like to spend your luxurious vacations? Comments on all of the above or any other seemingly contradictory issues are more than welcome!