Undervalued parenthood; why I think taking care of children is so drastically undervalued!

Every time I read a blog post about ‘’why I regret being a stay at home mom’’ I get the impression that these people do not regret being stay at home mothers but rather that they feel as though society has refused to acknowledge their work as real work and that is what depresses them.

And it gets me angry to think about just how much parenting is undervalued. A part of me understands why but a part of me does not and gets furious that people cannot see that there is no future without kids.

Reading statements like ‘’do not have kids if you cannot afford it’’, ‘’having kids is a luxury’’, ‘’do not expect us single people to sponsor the lifestyle choices of parents, we did not have kids for a reason’’,  ‘’stay at home moms; your kids do not need you’’. It all makes me sick to my stomach. Society does not value kids, society does not value the work of parenthood, society does not value parenting, and society therefore does not value people.

I see my purpose in life as to have kids. I respect that others do not see it this way but I want to know from them what do they think is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of life to you? Biology is my religion and so happiness, feeling joy and of course having kids (which brings joy) is my purpose in life. My life exists because someone birthed me, and my life exists to birth others.

And the more I think about it, and the more I explore the idea of feminism the more I realize that one of my core issues with feminism is that it seriously undervalues motherhood and parenting. Parenting for the most part has historically been the female’s job simply because she was the one who got pregnant and evolutionarily speaking the guy who got her pregnant may not have always been around.

Child care is women’s work, while going out into places that have been historically speaking unsafe (ie. the working world) is male work. Women’s work is undervalued. It is undervalued because we took it for granted, because we could not avoid it, it was a fact of life and half of the population did it. Times have now changed though, we have control over whether we have kids or not and so we have to start valuing parenthood again.

We have to start changing society to make parenthood enjoyable. We have to start treating parenthood as a birthright. Everyone should have the right to enjoyable parenthood. At least to have 1 or 2 children. Isn’t it sad that we live in a world where people think parenting is a chore and no one is doing anything to change it?

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I am a better mom than you :P The mommy wars.

Okay so I am a stay at home mother and I believe that it is important for mothers to stay at home and raise their kids themselves and I think that women need more support to be able to make that decision. I think society needs to start supporting parenthood. I think society needs to stop looking at it like a luxury, like something that you should only do if you can afford it etc. Children are important because they are our future. Stay at home parenthood is also undervalued in my opinion. I speak out a lot about the reasons why I think that mothers (or fathers if that works better) should stay at home and I have a friend who is currently pregnant and does not intend to stay at home.

I read recently a blog post from her and I have the feeling that she thinks that I think that women should not have the right to bring children into this world if they do not do it a certain way. Or that I think I am a better mommy than her, so I feel the need to put how I really feel out there. I do not think that any parent is a better parent than any other parent. I do not think that any human is a better human than any other human, just as I do not think that any rock is a better rock than another rock. And yes that includes parents that rape their children or kill their children or drug and sell their children. I am no better than them. People, all people (just like all animals and things present in this world) are simply a reflection of the entire world around them.

We are each a reaction to our past and the past of those who came before us. When a person goes to school with a gun and tries to kill all the other students that does not make the person a bad person, when someone rapes and kills a 4 years old that does not make them a bad person. Those acts are a reflection of what those people have been and are going through. It makes their situation screwed up, but it does not make them better or worse than any other human or thing. On a lower more moralistic level I define right and wrong by how much pain or pleasure you cause or intend to cause.

By intentionally hurting someone you are doing something ‘’wrong’’ because you know the feeling of pain to be something bad. Working mothers obviously love their children. Whether someone works outside of the home or inside the home tells nothing about how much they love their kids or intend to bring their children joy. My sister works outside the home and she thinks I am crazy (or lazy) for leaving a good job to stay at home but the thing is fundamentally we have very different views on ‘’what is best for the child’’. We both love our children equally but to her what is best for her children is an education in the BEST, most expensive schools and an inheritance. For me I think children need someone to watch over and guide them.

That is a debate we as a society need to take on. What is actually best for the overall wellbeing of children? Not who loves their children more or who is a better mommy, or who has better intentions for their children because both sides can love and have the very best intentions and I think that in most cases both sides DO!

The myth of parenthood.

I remember when I first searched for the words ‘’the myth of motherhood’’. I had just turned 24 and our firstborn was about 3 weeks old. I felt like I had made the biggest mistake of my life. My life before her was great. I had the job I wanted, the guy I wanted, there was nothing much that we could not afford and we had so much time. We woke up late on a weekend, had sex whenever we wanted to, and traveled from time to time. Everything changed with having that child. A friend of ours was having a birthday party that week. We had gone to this party the two years before the baby arrived. It was usually something that ended in the morning with everyone drunk. We were arguing about how best to get the baby to sleep.

It was clear that neither of us could go to the party and it seemed like we would never be able to do things like that again. It seemed like for the next 18 years our lives would be controlled by a screaming, completely illogical child. What’s more is that every day when my husband left for work I found myself counting down the hours until he got back. It was boring and exhausting and impossible to do all of the things that I defined myself by pre-baby. I could not read, I could not do my hair, I could not even do the regular housewife things that I imagined doing like cooking or cleaning. I was so tired and stressed out from trying to keep the baby calm and caring for the baby’s needs that everything my husband said or did started getting on my nerves.

For the first time our marriage started to change, there was less sex because the baby took all our time, less bonding, we were too tired to talk. Before the baby came we would talk every morning before work and eat breakfast together. I quit my job to be a stay at home mom so there was no longer any reason for me to get up on a morning. The baby was a late morning sleeper so that was also my only chance to sleep, I stopped seeing my husband on a morning. We were definitely growing apart and so I thought WHY didn’t anyone tell me about this? Why didn’t anyone tell me about the sleepless nights and how hard it was to sleep train a baby and about how the crying could send you insane and just about how horrible and suffocating it feels to have children.

I thought the myth of motherhood and parenthood was that it sucks and that parents regretted it and were all involved in a conspiracy to make the lives of single people horrible by also bringing them into the horrible world of parents. But in fact I was wrong. The time with my first born was an adjustment period, it was hard to give up parts of my single life that I will never get back, but what I got in return is so much better. So I am here to tell you (in case you do not know) about the real myth of parenthood. The far more destructive myth of parenthood is that it sucks. The real myth of parenthood is that it takes more from you than you get. The real myth of parenthood is that children and toddlers are all tantrum throwing trolls who seek to end all good things in your life.

And that myth is far worse than the myth that it is a bed of roses or a walk in the park. You see the thing is kids are humans and as human beings more than money or cars or houses or travelling we all crave human connection. Children are like balls of innocent love that are so open to human connection without knowing it that they allow us to find things that we did not even know we were missing. They kiss you when they wake, and sit on your face, or jump on your bed; they love you before they can even say the word love. They teach you about yourself and about life. They help you to grow and they do not misbehave half as much as they do behave. They are fascinating to watch and to see them change and grow is amazing.

Children give their parents, through love and companionship so much more than they could ever take away that every time a single person tells me that they want to remain childless I want to scream at them ‘’no! do not buy into the myth’’. I do not say that because I know their situation may not be compatible with kids, or their personality and they may in fact enjoy life to the fullest without kids. But I cannot help but feel that they have been poisoned by the lie that children take more than they give. Society is lying to single people, the lie comes from a good place, it comes from the fact that there are hardships (many of them unnecessary) that parents face, but the good in children far outweighs the bad.

Also your life does not stop when you have kids. A new chapter of your life begins, but your life does not end. Since having our two kids I have started a business and made a world of friends and my husband and I have in fact gotten 10 times closer than we could have gotten without our kids. It is not true that kids destroy your marriage. Kids are like projects that you and your spouse share. You are both working on the same project and that brings you closer than you can imagine. Children also push you to become more responsible and to start owning your life and to stop complaining so much. They make you focus and they motivate you. They open you up to the world of parenthood, you begin to understand the problems that other people may be facing.

You start understanding and seeing relationships differently and you empathize with people differently.  You can see all humans as children who were once loved and nursed and cared for and you know some of the problems that parents are facing and so can better empathize with them. Also watching children grow just gives you a joy that cannot compete with the freedom to party or wake up late on a Saturday, though I really believe that we should not have to choose between those two worlds. I think that the reason many parents hate parenthood is because they are not supported as much as they should be. It takes a village to grow a child and to me that is why the stay at home model does not work as well as it should. Unless there is an active stay at home parent community available to the parent and kids; the stay at home model is isolating.

But that is for another post, for now I just want to say if you are thinking about having kids whatever you do DO NOT FALL FOR THE MYTH OF PARENTHOOD! Children do not take more than they give, they are not all roses and butterflies, but they certainly are worth every sleepless night and every missed party! Yes, society still has a lot of work to do with respect of making the average person’s life more compatible with kids. Yes, to enjoy kids to the fullest we have to bring back the community and allow parents the room to bond with the children, but those are all issues with society, not kids.

Why my stay at home mother (who always had a maid and slept in the day) was the best role model ANY child could ask for.

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.