I remember one day at about 9 or 10 years old. I stayed home from school while all my siblings went to school. I was a bit sick. Mommy dropped them off to school and came back home only to head straight to bed. I asked her later that day if she always slept after dropping us to school and the answer was yes. I have to admit, I thought that my mom was a bit lazy at that moment, but now that I have a family of my own I see just how wrong I was. So often I read comments online about how lazy stay at home mothers are, or about how easy they have life especially the ones who have maids and I really just want to scream at the commenters and say ‘’you have no idea what you are talking about’’, instead I will try to explain what they do not understand.
My mother, who slept in the day and had a live-in maid who cooked and cleaned, was not lazy! First of all she had 5 kids, she took care of my grandmother who lived with us, my mentally challenged/autistic uncle who lived with us, and was very active in the lives of my grandparents who did not live with us. Over the years she adopted and cared for and helped 4 other orphan children (not for their entire lives but for a few years of their lives). She helped create and run two shelters, one for battered women and one for homeless people. For as long as I remember she has made about 300 hundred meals every Friday for vagrants as a form of charity. And at one point I remember she made about 300 meals every day for different charity organizations ALL for free. She started several businesses, most of which failed but one which succeeded and still runs to this day without much assistance from her and which makes a healthy profit and provides 5 people with jobs.
She supported my father in the businesses which he ran, and supported us in growing up and becoming educated. She encouraged my father to invest in real estate that she searched for and did all the background work on. We were always property hunting and although my parents still both work, neither one of them have had to since due to property investment ever since my father was about 50 yrs. the landlord-salary they made has been much more than they could spend. My mother who could not read or write until after the age of 20, and who never actually went to school has 5 university educated children. One is doctor, one an engineer, one an actuary (one of the youngest worldwide), and the other two are housewives (me and my sister). My mother drove hours upon hours to drop us to the best schools and the best afterschool programs and lessons, she picked us up every day from school and was there to help me make sense of every adolescent problem that I had.
She was there after school to help me make sense of the other girls who picked on me and to help me shape my world view. She was there to discuss religion and politics and to listen and discuss every idea and problem I had. When I realized that I absolutely hated the subjects I was doing in school and that I wanted to study science it was her who gave me the courage to take extra classes after school and negotiate/study my way into the science stream at school. I remember one day I came home from school in tears because my history teacher (who was a Rastafarian in religion) told us stories about slavery in some very graphic terms. I could not understand why ‘’evil’’ white people would do that; it was my mom who helped me sort out and make sense of that type of information. My mother had the time and energy to develop a relationship with each of her children and to this day I still talk to my mom and sisters every day. In university when I had boyfriend trouble, it was my mom who gave me the courage not to get back together with my first boyfriend (the best decision ever lol).
What I understand now, that I did not as a child, is that the type of care we got was impossible without a mom who slept in the day and had help around the house. The communication and being driven everywhere and bonding was not possible without her making time for us. The fact that we never cried it out as babies and the first time I slept on my own was at 14 years old. What I consider to be the best parts of my childhood were all not possible if my mother did not have the time and energy. So it is very annoying to hear that someone is lazy when they are a stay at home mother with hired help. They aren’t, they often just do other things with their time. They also are the best role models you can think of, because they teach their children that things in life are not only worth doing if they can get a salary or something for themselves out of it. They teach their children that free work is still necessary work, and that work and life does not need to be defined by money.
As a mother I have not done all that my mother has (I also do not have help with cleaning or cooking), but I do the best that I can and I think that is all anyone should be expected to do.