Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book Clubbing: In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

"New York Times bestselling author & internationally syndicated radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger inspires stay-at-home moms."

(from the synopsis)

I have to tell y'all, I really stand by this book. I have read quite a few of Dr. Laura's other books over the years, & I listened to her radio show regularly for years.

(Now I can't seem to find her on a local radio station, & I've gladly gotten rid of my XM satellite radio).

I also read her blog, & I really need to make the effort to download her podcasts or listen to her online. I miss hearing her!

This book came out at the perfect time for me. I had just graduated from law school, & I was about to really, truly become a full-time stay-at-home mama. For the first time ever, I wasn't going to be attending any classes or working at any jobs. This was pretty daunting for somebody who admittedly had no idea how to relax. I thrive on a busy schedule, & there were times in my life when I went to school full-time while working full-time.

(Sleep was not even a consideration during those times, but I was fine!)

We were also moving into a new house, in a new city. In other words - a lot of big life changes!

This book was a great resource for me, in so many ways. I needed the encouragement at that time; but perhaps even more than that, I needed some guidance on how to approach the many inevitable comments that were coming our way.

  • "Why did you get a law degree if you're just going to be a stay-at-home mom?"
  • "Aren't you bored?"
  • "What a waste of an education. & after all that hard work."
  • "You mean you could be making an attorney's salary, but you are choosing to continue living like students, on one income?"
  • "Won't you feel unfulfilled?"
  • "Your husband lets you stay at home?"
  • "Oh, please, you think your kid is too good for daycare?"
  • "I'd rather make sure my child is socialized properly than keep her at home with me all day."
  • "Your kid will be so sick all the time when she finally gets around other kids & goes to school."
  • "You will go nuts with nothing to do besides changing diapers, cleaning, & cooking."

Yes, I've actually heard all of these. For the record,

  • I got a law degree because I could. I received a full scholarship, which I thought would be foolish to pass up. It was hard, hard work. It was also emotionally taxing. I earned that degree. & I will never regret obtaining my degree, even if I never practice as an attorney. I will never wonder, "What if I had gone to law school?"
  • I am not bored. I don't think I've ever been bored in my life. I am A.D.D. I am an avid reader. & I can spend an entire afternoon alphabetizing the spice cabinet, or reorganizing the closets, & be happy as a clam.
  • I am not "wasting" my education by choosing to raise my own child. There are plenty of attorneys, as we are all aware. & there will be plenty of legal matters to get involved with, if&when I decide to begin practicing law. But education is not synonymous with job-training. There are many benefits to higher learning that have nothing to do with corporate ladders or salaries. I am a better, smarter mother, wife, & person, because of my education - every level of it.
  • Yes, we live below our potential means. Not that it's anybody else's business. We budget wisely, & I am a heck of a bargain shopper. We allow for indulgences&splurges. It's probably better for my soul that I don't have more disposable income to fuel my materialistic fire, anyway. ;) I also know a lot of attorneys that aren't making very much money...
  • There is nothing that could make me feel more fulfilled than seeing my little girl run at me with open arms, yelling "Mama!" with a big grin on her face. Nothing. My family truly fulfills me. As for fulfilling my own interests, & not losing touch with "who I was before I became a mama," I make time for that, too. I am an active alumna of my sorority, I am a member of our botanical garden, I attend church, I blog, I golf, I read, I run, I shop, I volunteer. Etc.
  • Yes, I have the best husband in the whole world. We share the same values, & we've always planned for me to stay at home with our children when they are little. I did not wake up one day, hand him my student loan debt, & say, "Thanks, babe. I think I'll stay at home & catch up on daytime television for a few years."
  • I think all children are "too good" for daycare. I get that that is a touchy subject. I understand that there are a lot of people who wish they had alternatives to daycare. I also realize that there is no black&white. There are some perfectly loving, suitable daycare environments - as well as some perfectly horrible women who stay at home with their children. In general, however, I find daycare standards to be below the standards I want for my child. I do not take it for granted that I am blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my child. I am not judging anybody else's choices, or taking up a cause. I do what's best for our family.
  • My kid couldn't get any more socialized than she is. Thanks to her aspiring-socialite mama ;), she gets carted to church, playgroups, signing classes, storytimes, toddler gymnastics, etc. & those are just the scheduled activities. There are a wealth of other outings to book clubs, botanical gardens, ice cream parlors, parks, restaurants, & shops.
  • I'm pretty sure she gets exposed to plenty of germs in all of the above places. & based on the choices we've made for her education, she will be going to school in an environment where parents are encouraged to keep their sick children at home - as opposed to punishing everybody for absences, thus regularly passing around a bunch of fevers&sniffles. This is not something I take for granted - I am grateful for the educational options we have, & the means to take advantage of them. I hated having to go to class sick, fearing a lower grade because of an attendance policy.
  • Diaper changes are such a small part of my day. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy some of the cleaning. I suck it up & do what tasks I don't enjoy because I enjoy the fruits of my labor - a clean, clutter-free house. There are days we dine out. There are days we go to bed with dishes in the sink. But our days are filled with activities, books, cuddles, friends, hugs, learning, outings, playing, singing... No, it's not always easy. Yes, sometimes it makes me a little nuts. But everybody I know that "goes to a real job" has those nutty days, too.

This book was also great for my marriage, as other books by Dr. Laura have been. My Prince had listened to Dr. Laura (admittedly at my insistence) & read her books before, so he read this book when I was done with it. It has a lot of great advice in it for

how to allow each other to decompress after two very different days "at work,"
how to appreciate each other for the different contributions each partner makes to the family,
& how to communicate in a way that is helpful for the situation.

There are also suggestions for activities to do & ways to cultivate friendships with other stay-at-home mamas. It was purely by coincidence that within weeks of finishing this book, My Prince had a patient whose wife was the outgoing president of our local MOMS Club chapter. He passed along her information, & I contacted her because I was familiar with the group, having read about it in Dr. Laura's book. I can't tell you what a blessing this organization has been! We have made great friendships because of it. Many of them will last long after our stay-at-home mama days are gone, once we no longer need activities to bring our toddlers to during the day.

(Although that has its benefits, too!)

I am so glad that I am able to be there for every little moment of my daughter's life, by staying at home with her all day. I recommend this book to any stay-at-home mama, or anybody that knows&loves a stay-at-home mama. There isn't a whole lot of respect for us anymore, especially in the mainstream media & modern culture. This book gives a lot of insight into how hard it really is to do this job, & how unfair it is to just turn this issue into a black&white "mommy war." There are so many educated, intelligent ladies out there who have made this choice. This book is a great resource for anybody that needs a little encouragement or support regarding the choice to stay at home.

It is a praise of stay-at-home mamas. It is not an attack on working mamas.


(& if you are a working mama who wants to stay at home, this book has a lot of advice for how you can make that happen.)

  • Easy read...yes!
  • Enjoyable read...yes!
  • Thought-provoking read...yes!
  • Would read another book by this author...yes!


  1. Sara, this post is all kinds of awesome. I love you for putting yourself out there like this. You are beautiful, intelligent, and a wonderful wife and mother. Your husband and daughter are blessed to have you, and I really admire your decision to stay home with your babygirl. I plan to do the same thing when my time comes. Excellent, thought-provoking post! xox

  2. Great post! I guess us mama's just have to do what is best for our own personal families. My hubs has never seemed to hava a problem with me working 2 jobs....whats up with that?! {hahaha...not complaining though since I have the luxury of working from home}


  3. Thanks, ladies! It really is a family's choice to make for themselves. I know that some options are better than others. & unfortunately there are people that have no options! I've considered working from home at some point, too...there are some editing possibilities I've looked into.

  4. I went to law school and I'm an attorney, too, and I'm not practicing. Unfortunately, I don't have such a great excuse like raising a family ;) but I get crap ALLLL the time from people asking me the EXACT same questions they're bugging you about. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. The MOST important thing is that you're HAPPY :D !!!!!!!!!!! AND if I were in your position and had what you had, I would chose the exact same choice and so would every other female attorney I know ~ they're just jealous of you, and that's the truth!