In my view, my mother did not have a traditional family life. Her parents were considered “older,” for one it was their second marriage, and both of them worked full time. She was an only child, and the ultimate definition of a latchkey kid.
In contrast, she became a mom in her early twenties. She didn’t just stay home with us, she made it a goal to fix us breakfast every morning (in high school when make-up and hair took precedence, she’d bring plates of food to our room), and she’d even ask us on occasion if we wanted to ditch school and hang out with her.
When she responded to my question about traditional families, I was surprised. To her, having a mother and father meant her family was traditional. To me, traditional meant what I grew up with: a mom at home and a dad that worked. I found it interesting that my background pushed me to expect certain outcomes, even from my own mom.
And here they are…
Moms & Family
I wanted to be a mom from the time I was very little, maybe around 6 or 7 years old. I loved having baby dolls to pretend with. I even occasionally dressed up and buggied around our two dachshunds.
When I finally had my first baby, at a little over 21 years old, I still loved it. There is just something so VERY special about trying to be the best mom I could be. I didn’t do it because someone told me to or because I was trying to emulate anyone else. With every job there are ups and downs, and for me, being a mom had way more ups than downs.
In my younger days I used to think that all women should have children and be moms if they could. Over the years I’ve had more life experiences and met people from many walks of life. I realize now and believe strongly a women’s choice about having children and/or raising them. If they choose not to be mothers, that is THEIR RIGHT to choose! It shouldn’t make them less of a person in their own eyes or the eyes of anyone else.
Work & Education
I doubt mentally/emotionally that I could’ve raised 5 children and still worked full time outside the home. I’m not too good at switching tracks like that. And, I’m sure that it would’ve been physically very taxing too. I have great admiration for those moms that can do it.
Times have definitely changed since I was going to school and compared to when I became a SAHM (over 40 years ago). Looking back at that time period, I would have said college education for SAHMs was not important. It was a great asset to life and raising a family, but not necessary. In this current day and age I would say yes to a college degree, or at the very least to get some after high school technical training. Not having additional education or skills puts SAHMs at the mercy of some life circumstances that could be devastating, i.e. the death of a husband or divorce, etc.
Maybe this seems Pollyanna-like, but I’ve never found it difficult to be a woman. I never minded being pregnant (actually loved it). I’ve never felt any of the physical aspects that come with being a woman all that difficult. And the thought… OMGosh of having been born a MAN!??? No WAY!!!
I don’t think I’ve been treated unfairly as a woman, but I have had men on occasion mistakenly feel they know more or are more capable of doing a particular action or job. I learned over time (instead of complaining of being put down) that through my actions I could show them they were wrong in their assumptions. But, this could be the case even in a woman-to-woman friendship or man-to-man. Many people make incorrect assumptions about another person’s capabilities.
As for insecurities, if I were asked 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, my insecurity list would’ve been much longer. I do tend to worry too much about what others think or how my actions might affect them negatively, but in the last few years (I’m 64), I’ve given myself a more freedom to accept “me.”