Saturday, March 26, 2011

being a mom

i have sat down and tried to write this post a number of times and each time i end up tossing it.   its not that its too deep, but it seems like anything past "oh, i think my daughter is so cute" etc, etc. is difficult for me to put into meaningful words, lame, i know. i never was a good writer and i envy everyone who can sit down and put their thoughts on paper exactly how they want and sound eloquent while doing it. anyways.

i've lived in brasil for almost a year. i've learned so much about the brasilian culture and how these people live.  some things i like. others, not so much. they are so easy to love. mostly genuine. quite easily offended. they say what they are thinking all the time. love a good party. love chocolate cake. i could go on and on. and, for the most part, i will miss these people when i thing however that has kinda struck a sour note with me is the brasilian womens mother/working roles. here are a few conversations i've had with women here:

#1- met the cutest girl at a RS activity that lives in hawaii right now with her husband and daughter. after getting to know eachother our conversation went to this.
me- so what are you going to school for?
cute girl 1- oh, i'm going to law school, and cant wait to be done and be a lawyer, hopefully back here in Brasil
me- thats awesome, good for you.
cute girl 1- what do you do? are you working here in brasil?
me- nope, i stay home with our daughter
cute girl 1- Oh, shoot. i'm sorry.
me- uhhhhh. awkward pause
cute girl 1- but you had a job when you lived in the US right and will work when you move back?
me- well, i did until i had avery. now i just get to stay home. but i love it (trying to convince her).
cute girl 1- oh goodness, good luck. i could never do that.
kinda awkward convo from then on.

#2-next cute girl i met in the temple and got to know her and then the conversation went something like this:
me So what are you studying in school?
cute girl 2i cant remember exactly what it was but something like public relations international affairs or something- but she said i am going to school and working right now teaching english and portuguese.
me- thats awesome, i bet you stay so busy.
cute girl 2- yeah, i dont have lots of free time but i love my jobs and school.
me- yeah, no kidding.
cute girl 2- do you work right now?
me- nope, i get to stay home with avery.
cute girl 2- oh, so did you work when you lived in the United States.
me- no, i've stayed home since i had our daughter.
cute girl 2- oh goodness, you must get so bored. dont worry, its not too late for you to get a job and work so you don't always have to stay home.  what would you like to do, i could help you find a job.
me- um, actually i love that i get to stay home. maybe one day though.

#3- the last story, although there has been a few other scenarios was with a girl i met on the beach who was living in boston with her husband. they had been married quite a few years.
cute girl 3- thats awesome that you have a daughter and you are so young. i want kids so bad, but just not right now. i just dont know how its possible.  my husband is in med school right now and there is now way we could afford a maid to help raise our kids and another to do the cooking and cleaning.
me- oh, yeah well i stay home and raise our daughter and my husband works so we dont actually pay for a maid ourselves..
cute girl 3- oh, but you do in the U.S. right, just not in brasil cause you dont speak enough portugese.
me- no, actually where i live not very many people have maids and alot of moms stay home with their kids, but its very common here, huh?
cute girl 3- oh yeah, i dont know anyone that stays home or doesnt have someone help raise their kids here, its just impossible to do. there is no way i can have kids until we both have good jobs and can afford help.
me- uh, yeah, well timing is everything  (mostly wanting the conversation to end rather that expand on it, although i kind of wish i would have been more bold and said what i really feel.)

i am totally not against working moms. in fact, there are some days when i wish i could hop in the car and go to work myself, or have a home-ran business, and who knows, maybe one day i will. the working moms that i know from home amaze me with their ability to prioritize their time and abilities with their children and family and work and everything else life demands. but i certainly do not need someone else telling me that i am wasting my time and that i would feel so much more fulfilled if i worked out of the home.  staying home raising our daughter is what i am supposed to be doing right now. it is a lot of work, and is somedays equally as hard or harder than an out-of-the-home job, and it is a job that doesn't end even when the 9-5 work day is over.  but i'm passionate about it and am so thankful that i have a husband who has given me the opportunity to stay home, even though some days are far, far from ideal.

There are two different type of women that i've met here in Brasil, (thats very generalized but i'll keep it simple).  The majority of them are so poor that they have to work. Their husbands wages, if there is any, wont cover all their families needs. I dont know if they would or would not choose to work if their financial situations were different, its just not.  The other group of women value career way more than i have ever, ever witnessed in the U.S. I dont know that i have met a wife and mom that doesnt have a big time career.  Almost every single one of these families have one or two maids that do their cleaning and cooking and raising thier children.  More often than not the children of these families prefer the maid who has raised them, over their own mom, and that breaks my heart.  I certainly dont mind that they value their career. In fact, i think it is awesome that they are so passionate about what they do each day. I know i shouldn't judge, and it probably isn't like this everywhere, it has just been a huge eye opener for me and  has made me take my role as a mother much more seriously.

I don't need anyone feeling sorry for me and the choice that i made to stay home. i love what i do.  If i want to work i can, i just choose not to. I've spent alot of time thinking about what being a mom means to me.  I don't think there is a more important job our there. There are some days when my work might not be above sub-par, other days, i think i rock it, and i have a happy, smart, growing little girl to show for it.  I've read the Proclamation a few times lately and feel at such peace with what i am doing in my life right now. Here's a little excerpt:

"HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations."
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." 

Just something thats been on my mind lately, thats all. I'm pretty happy that i get to be a mom!


Linsey Allen said...

Melissa, I think you put it beautifully that being a mom and being able to stay home is where you are supposed to be and where you want to be. I too give so much credit to those moms who work and raise a family. I don't know how they can do it all. It is a wonderful gift that we have been given and I am so grateful that I am blessed to stay home with my girls. Avery is one lucky little lady to have such a loving and caring mom!!

meag said...

amen sister. you put that very nicely.....its so true that it is not a burden but a blessing to be able to stay home with our little ones. and you do a darn good job at it.

linzy said...

oh lis!!! i don' think we will EVER regret staying home!!! it is a BLESSING!

Jana said...

Melissa....Thank you for that!! You nailed it!

Our Fun Times said...

I'm with the others, YOU NAILED IT!! I thnk you said it all perfectly. I LOVE being a stay at home mom, and it isn't peachy perfect everyday, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!!

Jordan & Brooke Brady said...

well said my friend....well said. by the look beautiful!!

Anonymous said...

Your daughter is sooo adorable!

Rosie said...

There's no doubt about it, mothers are given a special, indescribable love for their children so that they can take care of them. No one else can do it better. Avery is so lucky to have a mom that cares enough to do what ONLY she can do.