Disclaimer: I actually do love being a stay-at-home mom.
I recently watched the 2015 film “The Stanford Prison Experiment,” which tells the harrowing tale of its 1971 namesake. The study examined the psychological effects on prisoners and guards, and basically stuff hit the fan—the “guards” turned to the dark side with psychological torture, and the “prisoners” nearly lost their minds.
The night I finished the film, I couldn’t help but feel an eerie sense of familiarity. I am both prisoner and guard, I thought to myself.
Although some believe we stay-at-home moms surf a wave of constant lattes, yoga classes and manicures, we really don’t get to do whatever we want. Technically, I do wear yoga pants, because maternity clothes are expensive. And I do drink lattes, but they come from a carton I buy at the grocery store.
One article I read about the prison experiment quoted Abraham Lincoln:
“Any man can withstand adversity; if you want to test his character, give him power.” And if you want to see how many crayons fit into your underwear drawer or how fast the police come to your house when your panic alarm is triggered, give your toddler power (and just a few unsupervised minutes). Being a parent means essentially tricking your children into believing they are your prisoners, when in truth you are theirs. That’s OK. I can accept that my days revolve around his naps and the fact that I have to feed him actual meals (I’m just saying, if I can make it through the day on a granola bar and a cheese stick, he should be able to do the same), as long as my inmate respects my power. I’m working on this in my marriage, as well. I’ll keep you updated.
It seems to me the researchers could have saved themselves some time and money and just interviewed some parents.
Carrie Taylor is a native Texan and mother of one.