You may be wondering how I’m able to do this whole Band thing while being a SAHM. I get enough raised eyebrows to know that SAHMs aren’t expected to do much of anything, really, except be a mom. And do mom things. And wear mom clothes.
Whatever the hell that means.
Being a mom doesn’t make you a new person. I am me. I like a lot of the same things now that I did before I became a mother. Mom is just one of my titles. Here are a few others: Singer, entrepreneur, art-lover, blogger, baker, amateur carpenter. I could go on. What if I let Baker be my defining title and went around wearing tall chef’s hats and flour-dusted aprons all the time? Would that be appropriate for a visit to Wal-Mart? Actually, it probably would. Bad example.
Say I let Art-Lover define me completely and I went everywhere with paint spattered all over me and tried to steer every conversation to some famous artist or art show or some new artsy technique. Would that be normal? Would that be acceptable?
So why is it so normal and acceptable that we expect women to completely define themselves as Stay-At-Home-Moms? We expect a mom to wear frumpy clothes (in light, airy colors) to the grocery store. And to playdates. And to church. And everywhere else. Mom=frumpy. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that I “don’t look like a mom” since I’ve lost a bit of weight and starting dressing however I want rather than how I thought I should look. The current style of oversized t-shirts and skinny jeans, btw, is my favorite (SO COMFY!); I hope it never goes out.
We expect moms to master all things house-related: Cooking, cleaning, taking care of kids (whatever that entails). And we expect moms pretty much only stick to things house-related. The occasional Girls’ Night is fine, so as long the mom is meeting up with other moms. PTA or anything for their child’s school is considered safe ground in mom world. Even selling stuff from home like Sentsy or Usborne or Pampered Chef or whatever else is out there, is ok for a mom to do… because it involves other moms.
I don’t understand why we do this ourselves or allow other people to perpetuate the idea that SAHMs do this. That’s all.
We are extremely individual, nuanced human beings. Everyone has different interests and talents. It would be so wasteful to think you have to mold yourself into a certain-sized box because now you’re in a different stage of life and have kids. Y’know, most of the world has kids! Most people are parents! It’s not unusual. But I know this mentality happens because I’ve been there myself.
I was stuck in the Must-Look-And-Act-Like-A-SAHM mentality for a while until I met an incredible group of women. I knew them through church and some were neighbors and others I met through our kids when we had playdates. These women were mothers. More specifically, they were stay-at-home-mothers. It was part of who they were without defining them completely. They were also well-educated (one was a dentist-not then practicing), accomplished, world-travelers, who were confident and beautiful. The kind of beautiful that would cause some people to say they “don’t look like a mom.” And they were all completely individual with completely different interests.
I don’t know if they knew it but these women became my role-models. It wasn’t really a conscious decision but after getting to know these ladies I decided I didn’t have to look like a SAHM. I could dress however I wanted. I could have interests entirely unrelated to my family or home. My subconscience felt like it needed permission to be me again. And it got that validation through these women.
I was freed.