I've been thinking a lot lately about some of the myths that exist in our society. For instance, I'm a Mormon so I must be naive, white, suburban and have little knowledge of the world. I'm overweight so I must be depressed, self-deprecating and hate my body. I'm a stay-at-home mother so my life must be dull, colorless, monotonous and boring. Movies tell me this; television tells me this; magazines tell me this. If I cared at all what society thought of me, I'd be an unhappy person indeed. But, reality never is as simple or stereotypical as movies portray it to be.
My life and I are much more complex than that. I'm a Mormon who grew up moving from country to country where most of my friends were decidedly not suburban, white or even American. Although my weight isn't what it once was, I'm a generally happy person and I can still see the beauty in me when I look in the mirror. And, let me just say now for the record that being a stay-at-home mother is anything but boring. Boring never happens to me. Sometimes I wish it would. My days are filled with glorious chaos and messes and children who say things like, "I'm a superhero princess and I'm saving my kingdom." Not boring.
It got me to thinking about how these myths came to be. I can't even count how many movies I've seen where the boring naive subservient housewife realizes how bored, naive and subservient she is and only finds fulfillment by leaving behind her overbearing husband and nagging children. It seems like we are ever faced with story after story of women whose lives aren't really meaningful until they break out of the confines of motherhood. Who makes these movies anyway? Women who have been stay-at-home mothers and have now "seen the light" that it was all a waste of time? Who are their subject matter experts? Is there some stay-at-home mom they've hired as a consultant to tell them how it really is? No, because most SAMs (stay-at-home mothers) are busy teaching, feeding, listening to, and taking care of their children. In other words, they're not sitting around bored.
I have to add here that I'm not saying being a mother is easy...at all. It is hard work, but that's my point. It's work, and it's filled with never ending surprises and chaos. So, whatever it is, it 'aint boring. For some reason I think it makes people (and I mean people who believe these myths) feel better to think that someone like me must be so miserable and unfulfilled. Or maybe they just have no idea how much is involved in taking care of little children who can't take care of themselves yet. A good friend of mine told me recently that her husband asked her, "Why don't you get a job? It's not like you're doing anything sitting here all day." I won't say the word that popped in my head when she told me he'd said that. But, it shows that he obviously has never spent 24 hours taking care of a 3 year-old boy and a newborn baby (who's nursing by the way.) I doubt my friend is doing much sitting around at all, and I'm pretty sure if you asked her to describe her life, "boring" wouldn't be the adjective she chooses.
So to all you fulfilled, self-actualized, educated, intelligent, talented, interesting, fun and busy housewives out there, just remember that even if they don't make a movie about your life, or your name isn't in lights, you don't make the big bucks or get an annual bonus, your work goes unappreciated, and you're misunderstood -- at least your life isn't boring! And there are little people who are growing up secure and loved knowing you are always there for them.