(For those of you looking for funny here, not today.)
I have been asked by Shine to participate in Women's Writes, which is a day where I can write on any topic I want to that affects women.
I have chosen to focus on how my mom handled her stay at home mom role, and how that role might have hurt her when my dad died. I will take stands in this article that might make some readers mad. I am okay with that. This is my blog, it is my opinion, and if you do not like either of them, they made a button for you at the top right hand corner of the page. It's a red X. Click it, and I go away.
Or leave me a hateful comment. I will be responding to comments on the blog and not via email today.
Teresa Sloat was 18 years of age when she learned she was pregnant with me. She was ashamed, but she was very "safe" with my dad. When asked if she ever considered abortion, she immediately said no. When asked her thoughts on abortion, she said that it was wrong, and when I asked her why she replied with, "Because it is a life, Travis. From conception, it is a life."
I completely and 100% agree with her. I am pro-life. I fully believe that from the moment of conception, you have a life inside of you, and that terminating it in any way is wrong. I would believe this no matter my religion, and you will not sway how I feel. Is Utah maybe going a step to far? Yes and no.
When she took the pregnancy test, my father was with her. She was a very scared young lady when that test showed positive, but my father wrapped her up in her arms and said, "Let's go get my babies a chocolate shake." When she told me this, she was crying. The reason why will be explained in a little while.
They were married young, and they settled into life together. My mom was a June Cleaver type, she stayed at home and raised me while my dad worked. Soon, she was pregnant again, then again, and then again.
4 boys in 10 years. I guess it wasn't in the plans for them to have a girl.
For any of you who would dare say that my father kept her barefoot and pregnant, you would be completely wrong. She had shoes. This is what they wanted, a big family, and my mom to be able to raise us in the home.
As I grew older, I can remember being places where I was having fun, and my mom looking at the time and saying, "Boys, we have to go, your dad will be home soon." I absolutely HATED this, because it meant that my fun was over. I asked her why she did this. "Because I wanted to have dinner ready for your dad." When asked why, she said, "Because he worked all day, and because I was at home, and that was what I did. I took care of you kids, I took care of the house, and I made dinner for him when he came home. Very traditional...well, it used to be traditional." I then asked if my dad ever told her that it was her job to have dinner on the table when got home. "He never made me feel like I had to do it because he wanted it done."
We moved on to her happiness as a stay at home mom. As it turns out, there were times when she thought she could be doing things to bring money into the home, and I asked her if she wanted to do that because there were hard times financially or if she just wanted to get out of the house. "Well, a little bit of both." My dad made about 35k a year, and that was at the peak of his career. However, on that salary, we had 6 people in the house, 2 cars, owned a home, and took "cheap" vacations. We never went without. When all 4 of us were in school, she started a balloon business that essentially was a huge flop. "We never made any money with that, in fact, it probably cost us money." I asked her if dad ever made her feel like she was less than adequate because of this failure. "He never made me feel that way. He was always very supportive." I asked her if she ever was just downright unhappy with her time spent as a stay at home mom, and she said there was one instance when someone asked her to baby sit, and they offered her $5 a day to watch their kids while they made a lot more money. However, she wrapped up by saying this:
"If you are asking if I regret my time as a stay at home mom, I don't regret that one bit."
My mom was married to my dad for 17 years. She loved him more than she loved herself. She had a soul mate. She was going to spend the rest of her life with this man, and she couldn't be happier about that. Then one day in January of 2000, the world turned upside down for us all. My dad was diagnosed with cancer. 9 months is a long time to some, but when you are watching a strong man lose a battle with a disease, it can pass as quickly as a day, and that's what happened. One day he was there, the next he was gone. We watched him die. My mom spoke the words, "You've been a good husband and father, and you can go now Brian." With those words, he passed.
My mom found herself alone with 4 boys, the oldest a senior in high school, and the youngest 7 years of age. She was dropped headfirst into a world that no longer cares for its widows the way it should. She was a young woman of 36, and she new that she had to support her kids, so she went back to school to become a nurse. This is where she encountered some things that she was not prepared for.
"I was shocked at the kids. I was shocked at what I saw and what I heard, because it was outside of my little circle. You know how I was, I wanted to protect you from bad movies and bad language, and then when I got to college and saw how kids were, they would come to class drunk, their language was filthy and no one was modest, and I was like, 'Wow.'" She went on to say that being a widow and a college student in a short period of time was very traumatic. When asked how she handled it, she said simply, "The Lord."
My mom is a Christian. My dad was a Christian. All four of us boys are Christians. Deal with it. I'm not going to shove my religion down your throat, and yeah I know I can be hypocritical. Don't use those excuses to hate me just because you choose not to believe something I do. I don't hate you for what you believe in.
I asked her if she had any regrets in how we were raised. She answered quickly with a no, then explained that they made mistakes like any parents do. Then my tape goes quiet. She is crying. She says, "I regret things with Josh. (the youngest) He gets so much less of my time." My mom is weeping over the fact that because she has to have a job and is getting to experience things she didn't as a stay at home mom, she doesn't have enough time to spend with the youngest of my brothers. In other words, 10 years later, she still wishes she could be in the home.
I asked her if she wanted to give any advice to young women out there today, and this is what she said. "Don't try to raise a family by yourself. There are people that think it is okay to raise a baby by yourself, but I disagree." I asked her why she thought that: "Because I think the family is an important unit, and I think that women are nurturers, and I don't want to stereotype, but the father is more of the authority. I think that it just fits God's design for a family." I then asked her to give advice to those women who have a family already, and because of the circumstances, whatever they are, the father isn't around. "They need support from other places. Their family, a church family, and they probably need the Lord. It's so tough, Travis. It's so tough."
I had one final question for my mom. I asked her if someone could erase the past 10 years in which she has learned new things, met new people, gained new friends, and in general has a new outlook on life; and give her the old life with her husband and her being a stay at home mom, would she do it? She didn't even pause.
Ladies, I know this has been long and I won't take up too much more of your time. While reading this, I'm sure that some of you have gotten angry, some of you may have seen yourself, and some of you may be wondering why in the world my mom was happy in that situation. The truth of the matter is, I really believe that we need more of my mom in this nation today. HOWEVER, I also believe that unless these stay at home moms get out of that "circle" and experience the world a little bit, they will have traumatic times if divorced suddenly or widowed such as my mom was. My wife has a job, and even though we don't have kids yet, she will probably have a job when we do, even if it is just part time or limited in some way. My wife cooks for me, but I cook too. She cleans the house, but I help. If my wife suddenly finds herself without a husband, she will not experience the culture shock my mom did.
But you probably shouldn't ask me if I'd prefer her to be pregnant with our 3rd child and greeting me every night with a kiss at the door and dinner on the table. Most of today's women woudn't like my answer. But all of that is under my control, and if I got my stuff together and was a responsible guy, that could probably happen. And you know what, she would be happy with that too.
Guys, if you want your wife or lady friend to stay at home and raise your family and have that respect for you that my mom had for my dad, then you need to get out there and be the man my dad was, and take responsibility for your position as the head of the family.
Ladies, I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you...
...and I'd probably take that job.