Sunday, January 21, 2007

Am I a SAHM or SAHW ?

I will always be a mom, no doubt about it. Its not even up for discussion, but my role as a mom sure has changed in the past few years.
When all the children were home and I was homeschooling them, it was easy to use the label SAHM (stay at home mom) . I was busy doing the once a month cooking, 4-H, homeschooling, making sure the children did their farm chores and helped in the garden. Plus there was all the sewing for them as I made all their clothes. We were busy teaching them how to be industrious and the list goes on and on. Just about everything I did revolved around raising the children with Emery.
Our kitchen table became a school desk as soon as the breakfast dishes were cleared away and stayed that way most of the day. School posters lined the walls of my kitchen. I was always in the kitchen it seems. Children's Chore charts lined the hallway, and toys filled the shelves in two bedrooms. The clothesline was never empty, it was filled with all sizes of clothing flapping in the wind.
Anyone walking through the door of our house, saw me there in the kitchen. My role as SAHM was clear-cut and I loved every single minute of it.
Now this little 4 letter acronym seems not quite right for me, since its mostly used for moms at home with children at home with them. A quick search on the internet for SAHM, popped up with play groups for SAHM's and blog listings for moms with small children at home. It really is an acronym for moms with children at home with them. It appears I have outgrown that particular acronym.
So what am I then ?
I have thought about it and decided that SAHW sounds pretty good to me, Stay at Home Wife or you could use Woman in place of wife if you want. I am a wife and like being a wife so that was my personal choice.
When the children were first all gone from home, just about daily someone would ask me if I was going back to work and I thought about it some, for a fleeting moment in time, and then decided this is really a pretty good life. I am healthy, so I could work outside the home, but its just so much fun to be home and take a break when I want, not have some boss breathing down my neck, not being told what to do and to cook meals each and every night without being tired after a days work.
Emery never wanted me to work, he tells me he enjoys being spoiled, and we have this religious conviction that a woman should be home. Yes, I know that is terribly old fashioned and yes I know not everyone can do that, but we did it when Emery made under $5 an hour, so sometimes I think more people could do it if they really really wanted to. We just lived "humbly" (I like that word better than "poor as church mice"). When we had all 4 children at home we were making under $30,000 a year. Amazing what can be done on so little.
So here I am no longer a SAHM but still home, joyfully I might add. So from now on when I am giving my bio on the net somewhere I will write SAHW. The role has changed and so didn't the acronym : )
Oh wait, maybe I will be considered a SAHG soon, Stay at Home Grannie.

Its fun looking at old photos and being reminded of just how busy my days were. I keep pretty busy even now, but nothing like when the children were young and our little farm was in full swing. One of the best lesson gained when part of the Mennonite community, was how to work hard and find joy in it. It's a lesson I cherish.

The children around the table for school, Melissa was in college already so she is missing from the picture ( left to right Melanie, Steven and Scott )

Melissa with a new kid
Melanie with LOTS of kids
Steven taking a break from farm chores


Anonymous said...

This is something that I think about a good deal. I live in New York State, roughly an hour north of NYC, and it's mind boggling how many 5+ bedroom houses are around. How are these people making a living. Local wages are not competitive, and I often wonder if lives would be better in a more modest home with the parents spending less time away working and commuting. I make no judgments for those who want more things, but I love how you illustrate the many beautiful things that you have shared with your family -- the intangible things that I believe mean more than a $200 handbag.

Anonymous said...

As I was reading your post I was thinking SAHG, and then you said it at the end LOL. Although my children attend a regular school, I love being home, baking treats for when they get home etc. Sure we'd be better off financially if I worked and the house we'd be moving into would be a new 5 bedroom instead of a 3 bedroom fixer-upper, but I'm with you on this one - I'd rather be home for my children and am glad I have been able to do it. The photos of the children at home with the schoolwork and the farm work are gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

I would go with the SAHG!!! You are going to make a great one!!

Deanna said...

I can certainly relate to *the question* about going back to work now that the kiddos are grown. We also homeschooled and one of the perks was having an easy answer to that question, "What do you do?".

Now that one is in college and the other married, people have been asking if I plan to go back to nursing (I did have a *real* career for awhile as an RN). I can at least answer that one by saying "no". The question I really dread is "So what do you do now?". So far the only answer I've come up with is "I'm not sure but it takes all day."

I love being home and that is where my husband likes me to be, although he would be totally supportive if I wanted to do something else. We have 40 acres with horses and chickens. I try to grow a garden in the summer. I cook nearly everything from scratch including grinding wheat for homemade bread and making homemade yogurt.

My dh is in a management position which is often very stressful. He also works long hours sometimes and he really appreciates the fact that I am home to tend to things and make our home a peaceful haven...a place of peace where he can recharge his batteries.

Ultimately we each have to decide what works best for our own family and try not to care what others may think. I'm still working on this.

Btw, I'm on French Chic with you (my name there is Marie-Elise). I write a monthly newsletter, Tea With Dee, dedicated to women who relish their role in the home. If you haven't already done so, you might want to check it out:


Sunny said...

"this is really a pretty good life. I am healthy, so I could work outside the home, but its just so much fun to be home" Oh yeah, amen to that.
You know it really doesn't bring you that much ahead for BOTH parents to work (unless you have outragously well-paying jobs) because, by the time you have to pay for all the conveniences necessary when there is no one home to do things up the frugal way, it comes out pretty expensive.

Anonymous said...

You're lucky you have the choice. Single women like myself don't generally. I'd love to revel in the kind of time you have on a daily basis...

JudyL said...

Vince and I were talking just today about how moms can work til 5 or 6, pick up tired, hungry children at day care, go home and do household chores, including cooking dinner and getting laundry done, and still have any time for anything! I couldn't and wouldn't want to.

I'm perfectly happy with my life as a SAHM but I guess once Chad leaves the nest, there'll be another term that will apply. Call me whatever you wish, I love being home all day to cook, sew, garden, etc.

Judy L.

Ava said...

Lovely photos, as always, Patty!
How long were you involved with the Mennonite Community?


Anonymous said...

1st-- I *vote* for SAHN. Stay At Home Nana. :-)

2nd-- I *purely hate* that question of; "So what do you do all day?" Mmmm, actually I don't get asked it anymore, so maybe, my *pure hate* came through, hu? -grin-

All kidding aside, it is a very obnoxious question. It implies that if an empty-nest-woman does not work outside the home, she is a slacker, in some way. It is a _judgement_ call. Grrrr.... I sit not in judgement, on others. They have no right to sit in judgement, on me.

Mmmm Patty... Somehow, my 'real self' comes out in your blog. A wee bit different from how I post on my own. -smile- Mmmm... I tend to be a wee bit less sweet here. -giggles-


Patty said...

Hi Rondi,
It is a big blessing to be able to stay home and have all this time but you my friend, have a work so very important for the present and the future, God has wisely chosen you for it.

Anonymous said...

I love this post Patty and I'm going to link to it. I too have a relisious conviction to "keep" and ironically I'm not that's just something I feel I'm called to. I'd love to link to this post if I may, perhaps blog about it a little?

Patty said...

Plain and Simple,
It is a calling to be home with the children. Mine didn't start out with any religious conviction, just knew I loved that my mom was home and saw how all my friends loved to come to our house, they loved that mom was there all day too, their moms worked.
But somewhere along the line, staying home full time fit in to what I personally believe to be morally right for our family.
Feel free to link what you wish.

Teejay said...

I read this blog today and some others like it and am touched by it because I am a stay at home wife, not so much a stay at home mom anymore as two of my children have flown the nest, and the other two are in high school. i can't say that I work too hard anymore but I enjoy being at home than anywhere else, I just don't have the ambition to persue a career. My husband supports my decision and earns enough for us to live well as working class citizens, owning our own home in a working class neighborhood. We are both fine with this as we enjoy the simple things in life. But... I constantly struggle with guilt and a fear that I could be wasting my life and the distaste from all the disrespect I get. My husband says it's because "they" are jealous, other people who could "not work" probably wouldn't but I often feel like I am here because i couldn't cut it in the real world, but even if that were true, what you wrote in this blog would still be applicable. I live in Arizona and have an Associates degree in accounting and a horrible work history and resume, if you care to learn more you can contact me at

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