She drops the kids off at school and spends her days whiling away in her studio, honing her “craft.” She could be a photographer, an artist, a model, an actress, a singer, or my favorite, a combination thereof. Why would she pick when she can be anything she wants? She doesn’t need any proof of success. All she needs is a lot of likes on social media and presto! she’s whoever she says she is.
If it isn’t already apparent, I hate this type of stay-at-home mom. Oh how wonderful it must be to pursue your dreams, do whatever you want, at your own pace, without being under any pressure to contribute financially. I would love for my husband to pay the expenses for everything while I tried to turn my creative writing into a legitimate career. Unfortunately, I have to work while being a mom, leaving very little time to myself and next to no time to write. For now, my writing will have to remain a hobby. I don’t have the luxury of pretending it’s a career.
I say pretend, because the stay-at-home artist mom never has any objective success. There are no galleries showcasing her work, but she’ll have a blog. You won’t see her on TV, but you might find her doing community theater. You won’t find her gracing the covers of magazines, but she can find someone to take and post her photo on Instagram. She may not be booking any paid gigs as a singer, but singing in the choir counts as being a professional singer right?
I know I’m being harsh. Truthful, but harsh. I’d be less inclined to be so harsh if they weren’t so damn delusional and out-of-touch. I’ve experienced this first hand. I have an acquaintance who exemplifies the delusional self-grandiosity to which I’m referring. She invited myself and my two children to a dinner party at her home…on a Wednesday night…at 7. I should’ve said no. I don’t get home until 6:30 and I still had to go over my seven year old’s homework and give my one year old and the seven year old a bath. I couldn’t think of an excuse when put on the spot and I’d figure I’d be there for an hour. It wouldn’t be too bad right?
Wrong. We didn’t sit down to eat until almost 8 and we were forced to play a question game, a kind of get-to-know-you type icebreaker. Except I didn’t get to know anyone other than our hostess. Why should I need to when our hostess was so entertaining? The skill with which she managed to consistently turn the conversation toward herself was amazing. She sang for us. She mentioned how she did community theater in some far away town. She had to take “interesting photos” while she sat there, because she is an artist. She showed us the room that housed her “studio.” I got out of there as soon as I could.
Although my tone may suggest otherwise, I do feel bad for speaking so poorly of her. She’s a very nice and well-intentioned woman, but the delusional bragging and the total lack of interest in anyone else got to me. We were attending her performance and gave her the adoration and validation she expected.
If the artist mom were more down-to-earth about her pursuits, I wouldn’t be so biting in my criticism of those pursuits. If she’d be excited about the new hobby she picked up, I’d simply be jealous in silence over all the time she can devote to the hobby. But few are humble, or maybe self-aware enough, to distinguish a hobby from a career. You don’t become a photographer when you buy an expensive camera and no, I don’t want to pay you to take my photo. Nor do I want to buy the two pieces of furniture you screwed together, because you suddenly think you’re a woodworker. And I especially don’t want to lie about how great your art is, whatever its form.
I get it. I understand the desperation to avoid going back to the dreaded 9-5. The cubicle life sucks. Heaven forbid should you work at one of those long tables, shoulder-to-shoulder with your coworkers. I understand the need for validation outside of being a stay-at-home mommy. I just can’t give you that validation. If you want to talk about your new hobbies and actually want to hear about mine too, I’d love to hang out sometime.