March 21, 2014

Lipstick and a Smile

I love mommy blogs. It's awesome to read so many stories of women trying their best to do the best for their children. They also offer a very comic relief to a not so glamorous day (and night) time gig.

I think a trend is going on with stay at home moms. A trend that is very valid, may have once been refreshing, but is starting to turn boring. The trend of making one's stay at home mom job into a joke.

So many blogs offer the "you aren't super woman, so why try to be" approach. They very candidly share the slapstick comedy routine of life with a kid. They talk about clueless husbands who come home at the end of the day and ask silly questions like, "How was your day?" Because obviously they have no idea the absurdity that runs circles around your 9-5. The blogs almost glorify the sweat-pants-bad-bun-because-of-course-that's-all-I-have-time-for, as well as the, "Don't you dare ask me why dinner is not on the table yet."

I read these blogs and comments, and very often participate in them as well.... But why?

A few months ago I was visiting my grandmother. She was a stay at home mom that started her six person family in the mid 50's. I saw a picture of her once holding one of her infant children, and fell in love with her long pony-tail and dark lips. As a mom of four in the 50's, how did she have time to put on lipstick?

During the visit we started talking about being stay at home moms, and she made a statement that I will never forget: "Your grandfather (her husband) liked to come home to serenity at the end of the day." And with a very serious face she concluded, "I made that happen." She looked away and added, "But things are different nowadays." Her last statement was a reference to today's generation of moms.

At first glance, a defensive person might come to the conclusion that my grandma was a victim of the 1950's housewife mentality that is looked down upon by society today. But her words hit me deep in my heart, and gave me a new mission. To her, being a stay at home mom and homemaker was a real job. One that she wanted to be good at. To have a clean house, quite kids, and dinner ready at the end of the day is difficult, but not impossible. Not only is it obtainable, but it may even be possible to do it with class and style. To not loose yourself in the chaos of the day, and be a complete wreck by 6pm, but to complete all of this while bettering yourself as an individual, and to be enriched and strengthened by what you have accomplished.

I feel like I have to defend myself as a stay at home mom sometimes, and maybe it is because of this new stereotype of throwing together a house and kids all with a comedy sketch going on in the background. For sure laughing at a complete disaster during the day is sometimes the only way to get thru, and seeing that other moms have faced similar challenges is incredibly helpful, but that doesn't mean that my entire life and being needs to be centered around such a mentality. Maybe I would feel a little less defensive if my position embodied class, grace, patients, and feminism.

So this is my mission: to become that 1950's stereotype of the stay at home mom that does it all... with lipstick and a smile.

OK, maybe chapstick, but definitely with a smile and some grace.