Friday, January 23, 2009

Why Do I Have A Brain?

...and speaking of whiny posts.

I realize that I made the choice as a grown adult of sound (at the time) mind and able body to stay at home with my children. Even if I knew then what I know now, I would still make that choice.

That being said...

I can't help but feel like the "job" I've chosen requires very few skills and even fewer brains. In fact, in the "real" world, the tasks I do everyday are done by the lowest educated, least skilled people in the workforce. Dishwashing, vacuuming, toilet cleaning, laundry doing, stain removing, butt wiping, nose wiping, vomit disposing, Barney-enduring, you get the picture. Most people wouldn't do this job for any money in the world.

Having a brain just makes it all the more frustrating.

Oh, I've heard all the reasons why we, as women and mothers, should pursue education. What if we don't get married? What if our husbands lose their jobs or die? But really. What aspiring athlete would work so hard if they were told they would only get playing time if no team ever wanted them, or that they would only be second string and never get to play unless the superstar gets injured? Is that all my brain is good for? As back-up quarterback?

I know some people say we're better mothers if we can teach our children why rainbows appear in the sky, or why ice floats, or describe what irony is and site examples. Is that why I studied so hard in college? I have yet to hear my children ask what a LaPlace Transform is, or why the leading edge of supersonic airflow drastically increases drag.

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful that I can stay home with my kids. That my husband is willing and able to provide for our needs and make that possible. I cherish the small, precious moments of snuggling and reading a book, the poignant observations on life and the world around us seen from a child's unique perspective, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I am a significant part of that world that influences my child.

I just hope that when my children are grown and gone, I will have two brain cells left to rub together.


Victoria McCumber said...

You are absolutely right about SAHM's doing all the lowest paid jobs out there. The differance is being able to do them all, not just one. Think about all the different professions we do on a daily basis. Just balancing my budget would require a degree. As for keeping your mind from turning to jello, there is alot you can do. Start a book club, take an online class, do a crosswod puzzle. The possibilities are endless IMHO. Good luck!

Cheryl said...

Wow! Your post really explains a lot! Raising 6 1/2 children really took a toll on the 'ole gray matter!

Happy The Man said...

I don't mean to rain on your parade here but most jobs that men are doing at work don't really require a whole lot of depth and dependency on all that knowledge that we may have gained in college either. Granted, I'd rather be typing up a status report of all the menial things I did this week (a task that I absolutely hate) over changing yet another poopy diaper (there's just something about bad odors that really makes a job stink). On that note, I do have to sit next to a guy who smokes cheap cigars throughout the day so each time he comes back from his break it's like he's sitting in a poopy diaper... But I am grateful that I don't have to actually get my hands in it.

I am in no way trying to minimize your disenchantment with the whole arrangement (the very worst jobs joined with the very most important work that will ever be done in mortality). I guess it has to suck enough to weed out the wheat from the tares, to isolate the truly valiant from the superficial. There's a certain amount of humility that comes with the job of motherhood that's for sure. If I'm God and I have "all that I have" to give to my most responsible and obedient children, its not going to be hard to give a good mom that great reward. I don't know how us dad's are going to make the grade but I suspect it will have a lot more to do with how we act with our wives and children than what we accomplished at work.

I typed up a much longer comment than this and realized that I needed my own blog to express all of my thoughts on this topic. I just want to say that motherhood is so important, that Satan will use whatever tactic to discourage women into believing that motherhood is just a bunch of unimportant bunk. Its his job to make people fall for that molarchy and he's very effective at it. And here's how I rebut that, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”.

Sorry again for the lengthy comment. Its just a testament to how probing and therefore effective your blog posts are. They stir up a lot of thought, meditation and emotion, enough to stir up all kinds of discussion. Bravo again from your biggest fan and devoted reader!

Kristine said...

So, what is a LaPlace Transform? (Really, I want to know. :)

For what it's worth, it made me feel so much better when I was the YW who wanted to scream every time the green tablecloths came out for "knowledge" lessons and lectures about how we need an education just in case our husband dies... to know that you struggled with the same issues. I definitely remember breathing a sigh of relief when it was your turn to teach those months, and I could turn my defense mechanisms off. :)

I still don't have the answers, and it's still frustrating. But I still think it's just as important for our intellectual needs to be met as our spiritual/physical/emotional/other needs. (I had a BYU professor who lectured us about that regularly... I would have really liked her, except she was so rude to me...) Anyway, I guess it's up to us to figure out what that means for ourselves individually.

ray said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments that have definitely lifted the load of yet another dreary (okay, I know I live in Hawaii, so "dreary" is relative) Monday morning. htm, I loved your comment about how a job has to "suck enough" to reveal who's really devoted to it. It made me think of the people who consistently show up to clean the church.

Kristine, a LaPlace Transform has to do with a really specific, really awkward intergral. I still don't know what it's used for. But I'm glad you valued my value lessons. With teenagers, sometimes it's hard to know. Oh, not you. of course.

cheryl, does Luke know he's been reduced to half a person?? His first dance ask/reply experience was so cute!

Vickie (I'm assuming you're not Burt), oh how I miss my Alaska book club. I haven't found one here in Hawaii. I do enjoy the odd crossword puzzle or Sudoku. Too bad nobody pays you to do them.

Ambie said...

you have a brain to raise your kids with. Maybe you and Christian should use your skills to build a tree house. You engineer it and Christian can manage you while you build it ..ha ha ha

Heather said...

HTM, your post made me cry. I loved it. Ray, I adore you. One of the best things you ever said to me was "Can't we all just stop apologizing for our kids?" I loved that. Far too often we say, "oh sorry little Johnny is acting this way." or "Sorry my little Alice spilled her juice." I truly loved it.

As far as you getting your education...for what it is worth, I remember several afternoons that I came over to your house begging, pleading and many times crying because I could not for the life of me understand how to calculate how much compound interest would be on a loan after 35 years. Buddy was out of town ALWAYS and I was home alone with 3 kids going to school full time and puking my guts out with a baby on the way. (ah how sweet you were to clean your toilet every time I came over so I could puke into a clean porcelain). I will tell you that I 100% would not have made it without you and your very knowledgeable and brilliant mind. Not only were you my friend, you were my tutor, counselor and confidant. I am so grateful that you suffered and pushed and pulled your way through all of those classes because without you...I would have most definitely failed. I love and miss you terribly!!