The Grass Is Much Greener in My Yard

I recently saw a fb post written by a wonderful, loving, beautiful mom bemoaning her work situation.  She was having an awful morning, she was overworked, underpaid and was simply venting on fb to make herself feel better, she wasn’t necessarily looking for suggestions, just good old fashioned venting.  However, in the post she innocently (perhaps innocently) said, “if you are lucky enough to be a SAHM, can you just take a moment to appreciate the HELL out of it”  Ooooh, she said “lucky”.  Those are fighting words for Stay-At-Home moms like me for whom luck plays no part!  The only reason we can crunch the numbers and come out even or slightly ahead is because we MAKE it that way.

Neither Dan nor I was born with a silver spoon.   We have had absolutely zero financial, emotional and/or physical assistance.  Yet,  we made the decision to commit to our children and sacrifice BIG time to have me stay home and raise our own children.  This was the easiest decision in my adult life, despite the huge huge sacrifices we have had to make along the way.  Without a doubt, I would never change a thing, not one blessed thing.  And somehow along the way we took this one step further and last year began our homeschool journey!

Now, I won’t lie and say I don’t want all the things, that I don’t want the material possessions 95% of my friends have because even today, 18 years into my parenting journey, I find it a big pill to swallow when I have to forgo even minor luxuries.  It’s certainly hard when you live near Aspen – the hub of the rich and famous – where the excess and the blatantly wealthy dangle in front of my eyes on a daily basis!!

As much as it sucks to not have many luxuries, like a new car and tropical vacations, there is a romanticism about it.  God could have sent his only begotten Son adorned with jewels and with an entourage fit for a … well, a king.  But He chose that Jesus be born without anything.  Jesus was very poor and yet He is the Son of God.  Jesus was born in a stable, no comfortable bed, no decent home, none of the typical riches associated with royalty. He became a refugee as a baby because Herod wanted to kill Him. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt, where they didn’t know the language but Joseph had to find work.  When compared to Jesus’ beginning, we are wealthy beyond words.  Sure it’s tough to make sacrifices, but we’re in good company.

There is so much beauty in sacrifice. It’s beautiful that I’m there to wipe all of my children’s tears, to revel in all of their happiness.  It’s beautiful that I’m their everything, that I can calm them and excite them and teach them and love them.  It’s beautiful that we can make cookies and puppets and play tag and read books. It’s beautiful that despite the things we don’t have, we don’t even notice we are without.  For the most part, we only notice what we do have and what we do have far outweighs anything man-made.   It’s amazingly beautiful that we have all day everyday together, so there is no rush … we have a lifetime.  I have the time to instill and reinforce values and morals.    My children have their mom and I have my children.  All day, everyday, the way it was meant to be.  We are learning together, growing together and enjoying life together.

The majority of SAHM’s will tell you it’s hard work, sure they love it, but it’s tough, thankless, sometimes mundane work.  I can’t relate to this.  Our days start with school, we race through it and then we are off.  We are at the park, the pool, on the river, on the mountain, hiking, biking, snowboarding, rafting, kayaking … there is no mundane in our life.

Thankless?  Perhaps the words, “Thank you mommy for not working” have never be mouthed, but thankless is NOT what my experience is.  I get all the thanks I need when I nurse Elly, or make lunch or help with a tricky school problem.  Thankless?  Not by a longshot.   My baby gets to sleep in her own bed and be rocked to sleep by her own mommy.  My children get to spend all day reading, playing, plotting with their siblings.  My oldest and my youngest connect daily – there is no generation gap.  Thankless?  Perhaps if I were blind.

Hard?  Life is hard, being a mommy, a good one, is hard, but being a SAHM is simply being a good mommy.  There is nothing more valuable, nothing more earth changing, nothing more life altering than being a SAHM.  Period.

The toughest part of my day will no doubtedly be juggling 1st grade, 2nd grade and my little Elly, who happens to be one of our few clingy babies. The toughest part of Dan’s day will no doubtedly be much much worse.  I’ll certainly be drop dead exhausted by noon, starving, holding a crying baby, teaching phonics rules and ordinal numbers.  Sweat will be beading on my forehead, but lunch, nap and then fun is what the remainder of my day entails.  Dan … he will be tired and he will be stressed and he will probably be going on hour number 35 without sleep.  Juggling responsibilities at his first job, launching his own business and juggling the side jobs he picked up when he was hit with a 20% paycut.  Yep, much much worse.  But at the end of the day, when the kids are snuggled into their beds and Dan and I are winding down our days, there is no talk of regrets, no talk of “someday”, nothing but peace in the fact that we made the right decision out of pure unadulterated love.

Sure, we don’t have many luxuries and today we struggle financially, but we are in good company.  The grass is always greener (metaphorically speaking, of course) on our side of the fence.

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  1. says: Bette Monroe

    My dear, you have such an eloquent way of expressing yourself. I’m certain your mother is as proud as punch of you. You are equally as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. I enjoy reading your articles and seeing you on the computer. May the peace of Our Lord be with you always.

  2. says: Mandy

    You write with such clarity and passion. I agree, so many of my friends work and are able to live such luxurious lives, I simply can’t imagine. I too like nice things and frequently have the “I wants”, but my husband reminds me of all we have in our children. I stumbled upon your blog and am encouraged by how much we have in common.

  3. says: Lissette

    You do live a life of luxury if you are able to stay home. No matter how you look at it you are lucky. My husband and I divorced, he left me with 3 kids to feed and doesn’t pay child support. I’m on my own. How I would love to stay home and play all day. Let’s trade places for 10 minutes, you’d change your tune then.

      1. says: Lisette

        The hostility? No hostility, just facts. Women who stay home do live lives of luxury. While the rest of us are busting our butts for 40+ hours per week and then add on having to everything to keep our families running, yes, I work harder and to have someone condemn me for it is annoying.

        1. says: Claire

          Yes, the hostility is seeping out of your words. I guess that comes from knowing you are sacrificing your child for your wants. If you posted a blog about how every woman should work, I would not be offended, far from it. In fact, I would feel sorry for your children and simply shake my head. I wouldn’t even be compelled to post.

  4. says: Jennie Mulroney

    It is luck. You might not have had any help, but I bet your husband make a shit ton of money? Enough that you’re not on public assistance. I am and I work. How would you suggest I stay home?

  5. says: Kira

    Agree 100% with what you say. It isn’t luck, it’s choices. Choices in who we marry, how we spend our money, what’s important to us. Choices. Women like to pretend they are in a prison. Wake up, it’s 2012!

    1. says: susie

      If you read the FAQ’s you’ll see the self confidence was a learned thing! I knew I was doing the right thing, but in the face of my friends, it was tough, especially because I was quite young!

  6. says: Becca

    Love this blog, Suz. It’s funny how bent out of shape people get when they know they are doing something wrong and read something that pulls it to the forefront. Keep on blogging Hot Stuff!

  7. says: Lara

    This is just what I needed to read, so then I read all the rest of your blogs. Awesome site. Funny, interesting, and to the point. I’m going to bed, it’s now 3 am – tomorrow I will watch your Youtube channel films.

  8. says: Carole

    You get upset when we call you lucky? How about blessed then? Isn’t that the same thing? Are people in the US more lucky (sorry blessed) than those born in say Iraq? You are lucky. You are blessed. What about women whose husbands have died? What about women whose husbands are sick? I work to ensure that should something horrible happen, my children will be taken care of. Can you say the same?

  9. says: Christine

    Obviously there are situations where moms can’t stay home. Single working moms/ dads have the hardest job ever. However I think the point here is that lots of women have the choice to stay home and have CHOSEN other wise. Yes, chosen. Chosen a nice home, a nice car, vacations, “financial security”. Like I said not everyone has that choice. And there is no such thing as luck. There are blessing, privileges, sacrifice and hard work. As I often tell my husband, “I would live in a van down by the river if I had to”. Well said Susie.

  10. says: Mary

    Of course there are exceptions to every rule, however, exceptions are just that. They aren’t the norm. The point of the matter here is choice. Women hail the right to choose life or death for the unborn, but when it comes to working or not suddenly we have no choice? That’s crazy. You have a choice and if you have chosen to stay home and raise you own children, other women align you as lucky. If I’m lucky to stay home, then you are lucky to have a new car, a nice home, lucky to hae extravagant vacations, etc. Get what I’m saying? Go Susie Kellogg, love your blog.

    1. says: Kristina

      I think the hostility comes from the fact that some working moms would absolutely love to be home with their children and just cant be. I know you say its a choice, but my husband makes less than I do. We cant make our house payment (a tiny house btw) with just his income, never mind electricity, food etc. We have two 10 year old + vehicles. We dont live a life of luxury at all. I am LUCKY enough that my mom takes care of my son while I am at work, actually we couldnt even afford daycare. I am proud that I work and happy about it. But guilt seeps into every corner of motherhood and sometimes it sucks that my mom is “raising” my son while I am at work. It SO much better than a stranger, obviously… but still I feel guilty. BTW I love your family and we are working to someday be able to do the same. My husband is going to go to medical school and afterwards he will become a travel doctor so we can do the same thing.

      1. says: Susie

        That would be waaayyyy awesome!!!! I/ve always wished Dan was a doctor bc I freak out about every ailment my kids ever have … googling it and then becoming convinced they have leukemia!!! Best of luck to you!!!! 🙂

  11. says: Heidi

    I’m wondering where all the hostility comes from too. I’m a working mom and I’m proud of it. I have my own legal practice, my husband is a pediatrician and we have three children. We live in a lovely neighborhood, we drive nice cars, we take wonderful vacations, our children are enrolled in a private education. We are living the American Dream. I could not fathom staying home all day, choosing virtual poverty, when I’m able-bodied and intelligent enough to work and contribute to the well-being of my family. Aside from our disagreements on most things, I do enjoy your videos. Your children are beautiful and your family is engaging.

  12. says: Maketa

    i wouldn’t change my life for anything in the world. I’m a new mom and my son is the most important thing in the world to me. My husband and I talked about me not working before we were even married and he knew where I stood.

  13. says: Barbara

    I love being a SAHM. It’s hard work, it can be lonely sometimes and I don’t relate to so many of my friends, but I love being home with my kids and wouldn’t change it for anything.

  14. says: Stephanie

    I’m a SAHM also, and I agree, it is about choices. However, some women are not cut out for 24/7 parenting. This is not meant as a cut on anyone. I am one of these women myself. After 15 months at home, I had to get a part-time job, just to get out of the house for a few hours. You know, a reason to shower, to mingle with adults. It’s only 15 hours/week, but it has made the difference in how I feel and how I am toward my entire family.

  15. says: Jess

    Wow, such hostility. I’m a working married mom, not because I want to work and not without my inner demons filling me with guilt. This must be why so many have posted with such anger, My husband is on SSI disability and it barely pays our rent. I’m lucky that I have an education to fall back on, My only saving grace is that my dh is home with the kids, so no daycare. If our kids were in daycare I would be devastated.

  16. says: Sara Martin

    I love this blog. I have 4 beautiful children that I struggle to raise daily. Two have ADD, another Aspergers and the baby only time will tell. I truly can’t help but wonder where they would be if I hadn’t sacrifice to stay home and ensure they all have their therapy and know without a doubt I love them.

    1. says: Jon

      Not everyone can provide like that, I do my best and work when I can, but still my wife has to work so we can feed our kids. I am disabled.

  17. says: Very Sharpe

    Oh, stop all the nonsense. If you wanted to stay home, if it was something you felt strongly about you would. Stop with the whining, the excuses and the I would if I could BS.

  18. says: Robin

    This is a very important decision and there are many things each family must weigh prior to making this momentous choice. I work, my husband works. I suppose you could say we work because in order to have what we think is important to our children we must both work. Sure we could live off my husband’s salary. But we would forfeit security and that is something neither of us had growing up. Financial security, college, etc are 2 things we cannot do without.

  19. says: Layla M.

    It is most definitely a choice. My husband was laid off two years ago and it took him 6 months to find a job within his career. IN the meantime he worked 3 jobs so I could stay home with our daughter because he is a real man. I won’t tell you the struggles we endured, but we lived, we survived and my husband is my hero. Maybe the main choice those of you who must work made was marrying the wrong man?

  20. says: Missy

    I’ve always wanted to be a mom, there was never any question about whetherI would work or not. Maybe you ladies ought to be a bit more vocal about what you want.

  21. says: Monica

    I saw the link on your Youtube channel. I didn’t know you had a blog and I love it. You’re the mom everyone wants to be. You’re pretty, smart, fun, happy and you seem to have everything. One question: do you ever have a really horrible, terrible, no good day? – Monica

  22. says: Lydia

    This is a controversy striking topic. My mother-in-law, a no alternatives feminist is furious that I’m staying home to raise my daughters. We don’t even talk any longer because she’s so angry and calls me a deadbeat every chance she gets. She was one of the few working moms back in the day. It’s nice to read blogs about how great it is to stay home.

  23. says: Karyn Lovett

    Is there anyone who is struggling to stay home? Isn’t it lonely? My husband is gone for all hours of the day and night – he’s a law enforcement officer – and even though i grew up here I know no-one who has kids and stays home. I thought we were a dying breed.

  24. says: Leslie Ann Smith

    The thing that peeves me more than anything about you moms who stay at home is your gloating. The I’m so much better than all of you. What exactly are you teaching your kids by sitting at home all day? That women are only good enough to be moms, that’s what. You take us back decades and yet, somehow, you believe you are above us.

  25. says: Keely Keaton

    Yes!! I love this blog! I’ve reposted it to my facebook, I bet I’ll get so much crap form my working friends. Keely

  26. says: Ian Digs

    It seems such a shame to me that people can be so angry because of another’s choices? My mother was a sahm and brought 7 of us up. I don’t think I can ever remember us being “wealthy” but my dad worked long hours and we always had good food on the table and a modicum of Christmas/birthday presents. What we did have though, was worth more than anything money can buy and that is a feeling of belonging and security. I knew that, if anything was to happen, I could turn to my mum and she would be there for me. She might not agree with what I thought aught to be done about it but she was always there to guide and show me the way.
    My mum was married to my dad for 62 years and although they had their arguments and fall out’s that feeling of belonging and being loved was always prevalent and strong. I can’t say who is right in this situation because I believe “right” is a perspective, if you would rather have financial security then you are right but conversely if you believe caring for your own children is better then you are also doing the right thing.
    Just remember this, my mother became an angel on the third of January this year and we celebrated her life yesterday (her funeral) We all cried and were sad at our loss but we each know in our hearts we couldn’t have had a better start to life.
    Live your life to the fullest but allow others to do the same in the way they think is right.

    Peace, love and happiness to all.

  27. says: Allison Parker

    LOL, most of you were raised by moms who stayed home & you enjoyed all the benefits of that. But now that its your turn to pay it forward you want to go to work.

  28. says: Greg

    Had to chime in. So damn proud of my wife that she’s got the guts to stay home and not just mime that she’s sacrificed for her kids. Living and walking the walk. The talk aint shit.

  29. says: Lauren

    I agree with everything you say here, except for the end. I am a sahm and I know my husband works hard, but he works hard amongst people with social skills. People who don’t throw fits during a meeting and people who don’t throw food all over the kitchen when they are done eating, people who can understand reason. That is a far cry from the “people” I work with. They are social pirhanas fully the mere definition of hyperactive attention deficit disorder who cause me to expend a whole lot of energy merely to survive. My husband sits at a desk, mentally challenged. I am mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally challenged. My job is harder. You’re job? Your job is incomprehensible.

  30. says: Rich

    Oh yes, you are very lucky that you have a husband who does not resent the fact that you contribute zero toward the bills and you continue to procreate without any responsibility to care for those heathens financially. Yeah, you’re one lucky lazy bitch.

  31. says: Denise

    I wish everyone had this view of their life, people today are way to involved in what they don’t have and what everyone else does appear to have. You are refreshing.

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