by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

March 4, 2011

What the heck is a SAHM? Oh, right, I thought a few years ago, Stay-at-home-mom.

When I was in middle school, the idea of being “Little Miss Suzie Homemaker” was chided by many, including myself. This idea that you couldn’t really be anyone if you were at home, and not interacting, probably more specifically, with the business world and the world of men. As I think about it now, I can see how this is a latent belief stemming from the 70s feminist movement.

I find it interesting this push for recognition of choice over the last decade, and I find it even more interesting how it affects my life. After I entered adulthood and became more interested in the domesticated things a stay-at-home mom could do (prior to Levi’s ever being conceived physically and mentally), I entertained the thought with vengeance (although what was missing was a life partner). That is, for a moment in time, long before Levi was ever in the picture, I thought, I could do this – take care of the house, the food, the family, all day long. My pendulum had swung the other way.

After Levi was born, I realized, and a friend pointed out, that what I really liked to do was the cooking. Not the other things. Did you know that being a mom is HARD? My struggle was sleep. For the first 6 months, I had undiagnosed Grave’s Disease, which meant Levi and I were in a never-ending struggle for eating and sleeping, and zombie-walking through the days. Then, we started bottle feeding him, and we started to get to “normal” sleep problems. I giggle, now, at all the people I know who are having babies for the first time. We’ll see them in a couple of months. I didn’t know the method we used was Ferber, I’d encourage it for the sense of taking care of one’s self first to allow taking care of others later. That is, train your kiddo to sleep so you can be rested and have your own self-care.

So, I was cooking, we were sleeping, and then, I realized something else: I needed my brain to work. I did enjoy spending one-on-one time with my son. I did not enjoy having him in daycare when he was two years old. But, now, he is more mature, he is ready. He even enjoys it. And, now, I’ve been a part-time-stay-at-home-mom for more than six months. This week has given me more hours, and we just made the arrangements with daycare (excuse me, preschool) to allow him four full days. We got in the groove of halftime, and more than once, I wished he was full-time to allow for flexibility and the experience. There were many half days that I had to work out where we came mid-day, making for an interesting arrangement and not a lot of activity at school. Sure the traffic is great, but Levi was missing out on the benefit of preschool and the activities that come into play.

Levi gets to attend preschool because mommy has school loans that need to be paid off and mommy needs adult interactions (and mommy wants to build her career). I am also surprised at how preschool has transformed from something we wouldn’t have done to a high priority. I never did just stay-at-home. Who does, really? I know many SAHMs who engage their children in activities: dance, swimming, school groups. We couldn’t afford those things. So, we attended playdates at community centers, and I helped start a food club. I never did just stay-at-home.

Now that I am working more, I am cooking less. I am concerned about food. To be sure. I need a regular bread making day. Dinner has to be made every day, and I’m the dinner maker. My husband and I have this unwritten agreement. He tends to the cars because he is good at it. I make the food because I am good at it. Sometimes we teach each other both. I do know how to take a tire off and put one on. But, life will change, for a little bigger net, to allow the loans to be paid off. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we can afford the Fishwife more regularly to help maintain our sanity as I become a full-time-work-outside-of-the-home-mom.


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