Live for the Present and for the Future

Someone said something to me online the other day that was meant as support, but it stuck in my craw. I’d written a piece about being a stay at home mom, and how finally, after a few years of it, I’ve finally accepted what the role is and what it means to me. And I feel good about it. And I feel successful. You know, the same old drill you get here every gd day. Anyway, she left a long comment, and in it was this:

“I found that I needed and wanted the middle-ground of doing a little of both. My younger sister was happy being a SAH mom, but I realized that she was always more of a “living in the now” person than “living toward a goal” person. THAT probably makes the biggest difference of all.”

Okay.

So, I really like this person, and I don’t want to be a jerk, but I am a living toward a goal person. That’s the point. That’s why, at first, I had a hard time with this staying home thing. Because I felt like I no longer had any aim, and that the aim I once had would disappear on me, and I’d have to start all over.

For shame, me.

I had to learn that first and foremost, getting these kids to grow up healthy and happy is a goal, a worthy and important one. And it’s not as selfless as it sounds. My kids’ happiness has everything to do with me, and they’ll outlast me (God willing), so, really, they’re the most futuristic goal I could achieve.

Secondly, SAHMs still have other goals. One of the reasons I have been able to accept myself as I am is that I changed my course, I made revisions, I made new goals, and I’m working toward them. I assume all SAHMs do this to some extent, and whether their goals are to write novels, host an online shop, do photography, or just keep the damn house clean–they’re still goals.

Third and related, how does working at a job, in and of itself, make one goal-oriented? Most of the people I know that are forced to do the nine-to-five, whether they’re cashiers or executives, are just trading time for money. Yes, there are some that are ambitiously pushing for more (usually for more money in less time), and I thought I would be one of those, but when I look back on my “career” I see that I was fooling myself. The hours I was spending at work were exactly that. Hours spent at work.

In fact, I have more and better goals now than I did when I was working. And better still, I have a plan to get there. Why? Because I have the time to think of a plan. I have the energy (some days) to organize the steps and to do the detail work. Because when I’m not working for someone else’s dollar, I am free to work on myself and on my kids.

Now, she’s not all wrong. One of the greatest things being a SAHM has taught me is how to live in the now. When I’m at the library, reading books to my kids, I can’t be bothered with worrying over who’s following me on twitter or what I have to do to increase my author following. I have to be there for them, in the moment. And if I’m not, it ruins the time for them and for me without furthering anything.

So, as a SAHM, I get the benefit of the now and of the future, too.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m damn lucky, and I’m damn thankful. This is a really good life, and while I know it will change, I’m happy to be able to live in the now and still be a goal-oriented person. Being a SAHM has allowed me to do that. Being a stay at home mom has allowed me to grow up.

It’s not for everyone. It’s not the best thing for everyone. It’s not the best for every child or every parent. And to those working, I salute you. I, personally, having done both, think it’s harder to be a WOHM. It’s different, almost incomparable, but for me, it was harder.

I feel truly blessed that I have been afforded the opportunity to go on this journey, and that I have found what’s right for me at this particular time. Goals and time and online comments notwithstanding.

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About parentwin

Parent of twins, blogger, writer and journalist. I write things. Sometimes people even read them.
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2 Responses to Live for the Present and for the Future

  1. Janet S says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Especially this, which is true for me as well: “In fact, I have more and better goals now than I did when I was working.”

    I had vague goals while working, even though worked for myself most of my career! Now my goals all involve true personal betterment so that I can be a great parent to my girls, not just get through each day.

    I still rather consider myself to be working “for myself” because the organization of a given day is similar: prioritizing, setting small goals to meet larger ones, planning ahead, etc. But what is clearer now than it EVER was pre-kids is that my everyday work on my personal growth—into increasing maturity, patience, peace and acceptance of all things hard-to-accept—is a thousand times more worthy of a journey than any other. Because being an example of a well-adjusted individual (to the best of my ability) will more likely net me my most coveted goal: a warm and trusting relationship with my loved ones for the rest of my life. What else really matters?

  2. momshieb says:

    I admire your choice, your comfort with your choice, and your backbone in reacting to the comment about goals. My kids are all grown and gone now, and I never had the luxury of being a fully at home Mom, because I always had to work to make ends meet and to keep up our insurance. But the thing is, every family has to make its own decisions; every choice is just as good as every other choice. Every woman I have ever met, whether she worked or stayed with the kids, was just doing her level best to raise her family.
    Why are we STILL second guessing each other and ourselves?
    Enjoy those beautiful babies; they are the ultimate “goal”.

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