SAHMs should be able to complain, too.

I think it’s okay if people complain, kind of. 

Maybe not if people are going to constantly rant on social media about how the world has wronged them in one way or the other, but I think it’s perfectly acceptable for people to share the details of the not-so-pretty parts of life with close friends and community. I mean, what else are we here for if not to encourage one another at low points and to help raise each other up? 

Now, I think there are some more-productive ways to complain. Personally, I try my hardest not to complain for the sake of letting other people know my pain/discomfort. When I tell a loved one that I’m going through something hard, it’s because I’m seeking their advice, or am attempting to talk through something for myself. And sharing the hard stuff isn’t comfortable or especially fun for me – vulnerability is challenging.

I guess there is a fine line, isn’t there? Complaining vs venting vs sharing thoughts vs being transparent.

I try not to have my conversations fall into the first two categories, but I can’t promise I’m always successful.

This article is what got me thinking about this.

Of course, I should have known better than to click on this post based on the title alone. This is clearly click bait and I try not to click on articles that I know will be antagonistic and not-very-thought-provoking. However, being a SAHM, I just couldn’t resist seeing what this writer/woman was saying.

In summary (Because I really don’t want you to need to read this post unless you really want to):

The author says that no matter how bad a mom’s day is, if she has the opportunity to stay at home with her children, she should be thankful because other people don’t have that luxury, and therefore that mom shouldn’t complain. I should note that the author is a stay at home mom and seems to think other women are giving her and all SAHMs a bad name because of their constant complaining.

My reaction:

Who are these moms? The moms I know (every single one of them) love their children. They do what they think is best for their little ones. They’re open about some of the challenges. They vent about their babies not sleeping well and commiserate over sleep deprivation. Some moms can’t wait to get back to work after their maternity leave. Some moms need to work and other moms choose to. Some moms are torn about what they actually want and what would be best for their families. Other moms are staying at home but it might not be permanent. Some moms truly love staying at home with their children full time. I guess I don’t know this ‘complaining’ type of mom, though. When I have discussions with new moms we usually agree that sometimes often being a mom is hard. then we try to brainstorm ways to make it easier on ourselves. We share ideas and swap stories and triumphs and failures… And I love that my mom friends feel comfortable enough around me to tell me that some days are really awful. I think it’s understood that of course it’s all worth it.

Of course we all love our kids (and spouses).

Other thoughts:

I agree that staying at home is a priviledge that not everyone has. I also think that my husband and I worked very hard to save money so that I can stay at home with Clara (for now). We went to college, got good jobs, worked for a few years, saved and saved and saved, and now I’m able to stay at home. Before we even had kids we cut back on things to save more aggressively, and now we’ve adjusted to being a one-income family. Do I feel blessed to have this lifestyle? Heck yes. But do I think I’m lucky? Well, I think I’ve made a lot of life choices that have led me to where I want to be. Does this mean that everyone would be able to stay at home if they worked hard? Of course not, but I don’t like the implication that I’m ‘lucky’ to be able to stay at home – like I won some lottery or something. 

I do not think that just because I am able to stay at home it means that I need to constantly be telling others how thankful I am for it, because sometimes I simply don’t feel very thankful. At the end of the day am I happy I’ve spent the last 7%20 months at home? Absolutely. But sometimes I need to acknowledge how challenging it can be, just like working moms need to vent about juggling it all and not having enough hours in the day. I get it, and I don’t resent them for deciding to work and then complaining about it from time to time (even if they could afford not to).

At the end of the day, I realize how blessed I am. My family is happy, healthy, and safe – which I pray for all day, every day. I feel immensely happy that I found my husband and that together we were able to have a healthy baby girl. However, when either one of those two people are driving me crazy, I depend on my support system to hear me and offer encouragement and understanding and love. 

We all have lives to lead and we all have both wonderful and hard times – sometimes almost simultaneously! I don’t believe that anyone, no matter what, should constantly complain about circumstances with no intention of trying to fix them, but I also don’t believe that we should feel badly about sharing our true feelings and struggles with others, or seeking to find wisdom and encouragement. 

Just because someone else has it worse does not mean that we can’t share our struggles with one another. That’s what (I believe) community is all about.

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