In our society, women who choose to be stay-at-home moms are often considered strange or old-fashioned. They are told they are wasting their abilities and even that they are endangering their children by not putting them in daycare. Articles and books tell moms how to work and keep the family happy, making many SAHMs feel they are obsolete. Then comes a breath of fresh air from Dr. Laura Schlessinger: In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms.
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With her usual no-nonsense style, Dr. Laura addresses the topic of SAHMs from the point of view of one who has been there, done that. She’s also heard from many women, both working moms and stay-at-home moms. She begins by saying,
“I am not here to condemn anyone for anything; I am here only to let you know of the lives of families with at-home moms. I hope you will be touched, tickled, moved, and entertained by what follows.”
I was. Often, when asked what I do, I’ve found myself saying, “Oh, I’m just a stay-at-home mom.” Or I tell people I work from home (which I do—while my daughter naps). It was reassuring to have Dr. Laura say, “It is tough to defend your SAHM position and philosophy—so don’t try.”
Dr. Laura talks about making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom and things that impact that decision, such as following what our mothers did. Over and over again, she says that love can’t be hired—daycares and nannies can’t give the same care that mommy can.
Being a mom, especially a SAHM, is a sacrifice of incredible dimensions and a real test of your ability to give (the never-ending variety), endure, postpone gratification, think of somebody else way, way above yourself from moment to moment, be patient beyond reason, and have a sense of humour and a willingness to admit weakness, ignorance, need, exhaustion, and nuttiness.
She also goes over a SAHM’s “inner struggles”—this isn’t an easy job. Dr. Laura is realistic about the daily grind of changing diapers, cleaning house, and preparing meals. She shares some of the joys about being there for each child’s “firsts” and for the little, special moments that happen only when you have time to witness them.
Dr. Laura discusses how being a SAHM impacts your marriage, your children, and you. For women like me who want both their career and their children, Dr. Laura says it is possible. She managed a career in radio while raising her son. She talks about moms who come up with creative ways to work while watching their children.
SAHMs are SAHMs because they realize the blessing of the opportunity to make a profound difference in their own lives, their families, their community, and ultimately the world as they coordinate the lives of their family members so that no one feels neglected, unimportant, or unloved because of the limited commitment of their parents.
In the appendix, there is an exhaustive list of Internet and book resources for SAHMs. Every woman who is a SAHM or thinking about becoming one—and her husband—should read this book. For those moms too busy to read a book, it’s available as an audio book, so you can listen while you vacuum or drive your kids to soccer.