Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stay at Home Mom Saves the Day!

I’ve been a stay-at-home mom fifteen years, which is more than enough time to get beyond the need to defend my role…and I have. This is not a post seeking validation.

However, there are people who genuinely can’t imagine what goes on during a day in the life of a woman who is not employed, especially when her kids are at school.

Here’s an example of an hour.

The phone rings. It’s Betty at the neighborhood clubhouse.

Hmmm… I don’t usually hear from her. Have we paid our dues?”
"Hi Anita." (We exchange niceties.) "Someone called the clubhouse and said that the Smiths' irrigation pipes are springing a really big leak. No one's answering at their house. Do you know their cell numbers?"

Unlike all the cool people, I don’t have all my “contacts” on my cell phone, so I have to go to my personal, hard copy “phone book” that I keep in my kitchen drawer to get the cell numbers of Mary and John.

Seven minutes later, Betty calls back. “I left messages on their voice mail.”

“Okay, thanks.”

I’m feeling the search for them should continue.

I call 411 and get the company number where Mary works. Of course it’s an 800 number. I dial it, and of course, I get a recording. After pressing several response numbers, I'm told the "wait time." Then I’m asked if I’d like to leave my info to receive a return call. I press 2 or 3 more numbers in response to 2 or 3 more questions, and then record my name. It’s played back and I’m asked to press another number if I want to send it. I press it and hang up. Before I can take 3 steps, of course, I receive the return call. Of course, I could have just stayed “on hold.”

I ask the guy if there is a personnel office that he can connect me to because I need to talk to my neighbor about an issue at her house. “No, I can’t do that.” Of course, he can’t.

But…lucky me. He is kind enough to look up Mary’s email address and sends her a message to call me.

One minute later, she calls. (When you get a strange email from your neighbor, you respond right away and hope that it’s not “thaaat bad,” because you know it’s bad.)

I tell her what’s going on and I ask if I can do anything.

“Can you turn the water off?”

I’m thinking, “What? Huh?” Then I tell myself, “Get a grip.”

“Sure, I can try.”

Once at their house, standing in the yard, I talk to Mary, John, Mary again, John again…about the location of the water controls and how to shut it off. Eventually, I see a plate that covers the valves, under a miniature geyser coming from the cracked above-ground pipes. My attempt at removing the plate, with my bare hand in freezing cold water, fails.

Back to my house to get a screw driver, rain boots, and Playtex rubber gloves, then back to the job. Temporary success! The plate cover is off, but the bucket-like hole is filled with icy, murky water; no valves in sight. I feel around, but it’s too deep.

More instructions and conversation with Mary, and then John, as they decide which of them will get home faster. The utility guy drives up. He uses a tool to sink into the “bucket” of water, feels around, and turns off the valve. We chitchat for two minutes, and then I’m off to my house where I let my hand thaw.

John and Mary are very thankful. The water could have been pouring out all day, taking their water bill higher and higher.

I’m glad I answered the phone call from Betty. Although the incident took me totally off the path of what I had planned for the day, this is what I was destined to do…at least for an hour. I’ll return those overdue books to the library tomorrow…hopefully.

Stay at home mom, retiree, 9 to 5er, white collar, blue collar, entrepreneur, farmer, professional, service, sales… We’re all in this together.


Just Two Chicks said...

Love it! I suppose I'm still new to this stay-at-home thing and do at times feel the need to defend it, because the children are older. I do truly believe that the older our children get, the more they need us, and the more they don't. Mine like me home... they like me at their school, they like their daily cooked breakfasts and dinners. Not many teens have that and when they come over, they think it's pretty cool. A clean house, meals made, and privacy too! Can't get much better, right? :)

My Aimless Infatuation said...

Yes we are "all in this together". If ONLY we could make the rest of the world understand this! I hope your neighbors realize what a "terrific neighbor" that you are! Hope you have a great week!

yonca said...

Great topic Anita, I do so many things all day and sometimes when my husband asks me to do something for him, I can't even say no.It looks like I can't even have a reason to be tired since I'm at home.

Your neighbors are lucky to have you.

Anya said...

Anita! So glad to read the new post. You're an inspiration for all of us new mommies! :) I'm loving it.

Claire Gibson King said...

you saved the day!! Mom, hero, handy lady... the list could go on! good work!!! Great post!

Buckeroomama said...

Oh the myriad little things we do as at SAHM. Others cannot truly sympathize until they're in the same shoes. :)

SuziCate said...

It's always good tohave someone home in the neighborhood. When I worked I was thankful for ut, then I became the one others were thankful was home...and now there are a few of us on our street. Yes, we are all in it together!

Rebecca S. said...

You are absolutely right, Anita. Where would we all be without the people like you and me, who might have, if not the time, the flexiblility to come to the rescue or to be there as a good neighbour. We are the unsung heroes and I agree, we are all in this together!
Once, early on in my marriage with three little kids, my husband made the mistake of asking me what I did all day. Needless to say, I made a list - a long, detailed list. He got the picture :)

Unknown said...

I have always thought stay at home moms were very busy : ) I am glad you could help your neighbor. How kind of you to answer and then help!

Paul C said...

How nice of you to perform this good deed at the spur of the moment. Your post rings true about stay at home moms, retirees,...there is much that can fill up a day! We are far from bored.

Menopausal New Mom said...

What a phone call! But nice that you were able to help out.

I love being an older SAHM who has absolutely nothing to prove to anyone. I've had the successful career, more than 20 years so I can hold my own with any working mom. I don't make any apologies for my desire to maintain a nice home and cook for my family. It's a nice change and besides, if I was working all day, when would I find the time to blog Lol!


Georgiana Daniels said...

Seriously...stay homers are so busy. BUSY! As for me, I never feel great about just relaxing because I can always see the "work" that still needs to be done. Kudos to you!

Robin said...

I am loling as I read...too too funny...and that was just a short portion of your day...life goes on..! and on, and on, and on..!

Tatum @ Tatum's Take said...

Hi there!

This was a great post. It's great that you were available to help out your neighbors, what would they do without you? I have recently left the workforce and I am not a mom. I simply wasn't happy and was wasting my time when I could better spend 8 hours doing things I love. I write about it in the cubicology section of my blog. I think saying that you stay home bewilders people because they don't have the luxury. I feel unless you own the company or absolutely love what you do for a company then who wouldn't want to be home! Though I will probably end up back in the workforce I have been so much happier having the freedom to do whatever I want when I want.

I hope you have a great day!

Tatum @ Tatum's Take said...

Oh and thank you for your comment on my post! My coat closet is really pretty now but my bedroom closet presently leaves much to be desired. You however give me hope that I will find order.

Thanks again!

Unknown said...

You are such a darling neighbor and they are lucky to have you!

My pet peeve is when I'm juggling kids, laundry, meals, cleaning, and then my husband calls and asks me to be secretary. ARGH. And he wonders why I'm falling asleep on the couch at 9 p.m.


Betty W said...

You can be my neighbor any day. :)

Jen said...

I'm having a hard time explaining my two years off to some people. I didn't do it on purpose, but I've loved being able to travel and spend more time with my daughter. Being called lazy by some still irks me.

Good job saving the neighborhood (or at least your neighbor).

ME said...

No doubt in this , mommies who are only a housewife are multi-tasker , they are most of the time or in fact all the time more busy at home than their hubbies who are working outside.
Here's a fun test you may like to have -
Are You A Good Wife?
Find out if your husband feels lucky to have you in his life.

jiturajgor said...

I loved reading this Anita.You have worked more then any multinational CEO in those hours.

Hilary said...

The moniker "stay-at-home-mom" is truly a misnomer, because, as you so eloquently pointed out, we're hardly at home! Kudos to you for saving the day.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Yep, this Ozark Farm Chick knows exactly what your talkin' about. I am retired Special Ed. and I am at home. Forget that I keep an eye on my little MIL, am the Kids' Church leader, Sunday School teacher of pre-teens, Grandmother of eight, bookkeeper of the Ponderosa, do chores every day....whew...days like these do come up and we're always happy to help! What's with that???


God bless ya from the snow packed hills and hollers of the Missouri Ponderosa! :o)

Priya Shankar said...

aww You are an awesome neighbor!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Hey sweetie, I just wanted to thank your for your sweet comment and hoppin' on my blog. I sure hope ya'll enjoy the ride!!!

God bless and in the words of that wild and crazy Granny Clampett, "ya'll come back now, ya hear!!!"

Abby said...

Awesome! A friend in need! Let the others wonder just what it is the stay-at-home-moms do all day. We all know it's the toughest/best job we ever had!

Stephanie said...

LOVE it! You are a rock star!

Unknown said...

I love this. When I first had my kids I worked full time and felt I defended that choice. Then 10 years ago I stopped working and now I feel I defend this choice. I too have friends who stay home, and those who work full or part time. I think some judge me, belittle my choice. Amazingly I did graduate from college, earn a really good income and still made this choice, for me, for my family. I may return to work, two going off to college prompts that need, but either way, should I have to defend my decisions? No.
Glad you were there for Mary!!

Midlife Mom said...

I am so with you on this one! People think just because I 'retired' young I didn't have anything to do around here. I wish they could follow me around for a day or two they sure would see that I am not sitting around eating chocolates and watching soapies! ha! Tomorrow for example I have to be at a board meeting at 8 AM and then another meeting from 12-2 PM along with all the house stuff, meals, laundry, grandmother duty, horse duty, etc etc etc Nice that you were home to be able to help out your neighbors!!

Shalet Jimmy said...

Hearty Congrats! Rain Drops "www.thedoveandtheraven.blogspot.com has chosen your blog for " Life is Good" award.

Meg @ write meg! said...

We are all in this together! Thank goodness you're a good, kind neighbor able to come to the rescue. Both my dad and sister work from home and frequently help out the 9-to-5'ers (myself included) who need things taken care of during the day. They're my heroes!