Friday, July 17, 2009

By definition

Underachiever-Failure to achieve as well as one's abilities would seem to allow.

This is a nickname Paul has for me. It is related to my high level of education and lacking corresponding career and earnings.

On the one hand, I suppose it is flattering that he thinks I am very bright and capable and could command a high level career, etc. However, to steal some content from my favorite blogger, Mindee (; why is being a mom considered an underachievement? And somehow, if you are educated, it is an even bigger one.

I am not a stay at home mom, however, my job as a mommy is far more important to me than my job outside the home. Consequently, I will never schmooze my way up corporate ladders, seek higher and more demanding positions, put in above and beyond hours, reach crazy milestones, etc. I lack the focus, attention and motivation in a career. I do not lack the ability or the intelligence or the education. I just don't want it.

I choose to lead the double life of housewife with a job. And that is a role a lot of women have. Not to get on a pity party tangent, but let's face it, most working women are still the phantom housewives. I am sure there are some princes out there who really help out with more than the traditional man of the house roles. But, overall, I still feel like the lionshare of homemaker duties fall upon the wife/mommy/maid/whatever regardless of if she has a job outside the home. I have often felt like the state of affairs in my unkept home, un-matching sock wearing boys with messy hair and forgotten backpacks and breakfast all over their shirts b/c they eat in the car ride, etc. is a huge reflection on me and not my husband.

I don't feel less intelligent or less significant because my primary concern is raising my children. However, I do feel far less competent at both my jobs (inside and outside the home) than I would if I only had one. Obviously, if I could chose only one, it would be SAHM.

There was a time when I thought that road would be much easier. Then I had a few weeks off between jobs in about 2006; getting a first hand look for myself. I had a one year old and a four year old at the time. It is NOT easier. In fact, it was much harder than any job I had ever held. And a bit less rewarding in many ways. People tend to think you have nothing to do, and you have far less leeway for screwing things up. No one gives you any feedback-except if you mess something up. Your house cannot stay clean because, well, you and your kids are living in it. I think of my friends who are at home with kids. I look at them quite differently than I did before I tried doing it myself. I have always respected (and envied) SAHMs-but getting to walk a mile in their shoes really cemented it for me.

I try not to be opinionated on the matter of which road mommies take. I believe most of us don't have a choice. The SAHM moms I know are all very gracious for the priviledge of being SAHMs. In fact they are very intelligent, educated, capable and talented ladies which makes it that much more remarkable to me. And again to plagerize Mindee, 99% of moms I know are doing the best they can with what they have. But I do wish there was a way of shaking this unimpressive image of SAHMs or people like myself who are considered underachievers for placing my focus on being a mommy instead of an employee.


  1. I have to say, that as terms of endearment go, "Underacheiver" leaves a lot to be desired.

    I think your goals are clear and that you're meeting them. I don't think that is underachieving.

    There's enough guilt in life. No adding to it!

  2. Thanks for visiting me and giving me the chance to come and visit you!

    By definition I suppose I am an underachiever too! But, considering I fall short of living up to my God-given potential in all sorts of areas, I think I have to embrace that label. :)

    Still, I understand your point and appreciate your sentiment. I have actually never felt less for being a SAHM. I consider it an enormous privilege but I also refrain from judging anyone who makes a different choice (or who has no choice).