Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A mother at home

I'm reading I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson right now.  It's about a working mother juggling all the things a career woman has to juggle, along with all the things a mother of two has to do.  It's a funny read and I am entertained.  One of the things the main character, Kate Reddy, finds her self doing is distressing a store bought pie for a school party to make it look homemade because of the "tsks" she knows she'd get from the non-working mothers if the knew it was store bought.

I was thinking about this in the context of my own life - non-working mother who generally brings things that are homemade to school functions.  I would never never "tsk" anyone or speak badly of them for bringing store bought goodies (actually, my daughter's preschool requires that all treats be store bought so that labels can be read for possible allergy-triggering ingredients).  I also don't know anyone who looks down their nose in this way (at least, I don't think I do - they haven't been talking to me about it).  But I guess it happens.

I was making some muffins for a PTA meeting recently and was a little stressed about getting it done along with the other things I had going on.  My husband said, "Why can't you just bring pretzels or something?"  I told him I just had to; I feel compelled to make things homemade for a variety of reasons - that particular case, I had to find a use for the giant tub of blueberries I bought at Costco that my kids suddenly decided they would not eat, also because in general I enjoy baking - it's relaxing.  And to some extent I also think - hey, you're a stay-at-home mom - this is your job; if you don't do it your not succeeding at your job.  But none of the reasons have anything to do with what other people expect of me. 

I think it's interesting the way working mothers interact with non-working mothers - I think each side looks at the other with some longing as well as incredulity.  How does she do it?  Once when I brought some homemade thing to a PTA meeting a working mom asked me how I had time to make it with three small kids.  But honestly, I look at her and think, wow! she is totally involved in PTA and her kids educations AND she's got an awesome career.  How does she do it?

The answer is pretty simple - we all just do what we have to get it done and ignore the stuff that can be put off - like pretending I don't notice my socks sticking to the floor when I walk through the dining room.


  1. I like this post and I'm pretty sure I read that book at some point. But anyway, isn't the dynamic of working moms and stay-at-home moms interesting? I heard some of the SAHM at Sophie's preschool get annoyed because they feel they have to do all the volunteer work and chair committees because they don't work. What they probably don't realize is that many of us working moms would LOVE to be able to do all those things with our children. But we have to work for financial reasons. I often wish I didn't have to work outside the home. Then I'd volunteer for any committee.