I have been wanting to write this post for some time, but I needed to really “analyze” my situation before making such strong claims. However, recently I saw an article and I felt like I just have to go ahead and write this piece. See, I saw the article and it said Stay at Home Mom is not a real job. And I was like ah someone beat me to it. Then I read the article and it was a stay at home talking about the lack of breaks, the bath time struggles and the daily grind of being a mom. It was funny and witty, but again fell into the story line of a stay at home talking about how tough it is, making it feel like it is “tougher” than moms working at a job. Now perhaps this article was written to the nay-sayers who say what do you do all day and think you sit around drinking your hot coffee reading people’s post on instagram. However, as a former working mom who is now a stay at home mom (who occasionally works from home) I felt there was a little “it is harder to be a stay at home than working mom” and lists a variety of reasons. I often feel like people always want to win the award for “hardest” when it comes to motherhood. Well she only has one or she has a nanny or but her husband works from home, mine travels. And I get it there are different variations of HARD, but when it comes to motherhood and being hard – it doesn’t matter what degree of difficulty, it is just hard, just as it is extremely wonderful and rewarding.
We moms are always trying to create this divide of “hard”, but let me tell you as a former working mom the struggle and challenges are real on both ends…and to be honest I found being a working mom a million times harder. That’s why I quit it, gave up living in my own home, moved in with parents and stayed home with my kids. Others may find staying home more challenging and enjoy the contributing to the working world.
I feel the need today to point out to my fellow stay at home moms who feel like working moms got it made (or at least easier) a few points.
Working moms also don’t get to shower. Except they can’t show up at work in yoga pants and a messy bun and not run into some issues.
Working moms often have to rush home from work to pick up their kids who they missed dearly, feed their kids, give them baths, get them to sleep just like we do, but then often power their computers back up because they still have work to complete. Work they left so they could get home to their kids.
Sure working moms get a “break” from the constant requests and dangerous antics of toddlers, but they also get the added stress of an additional set of deadlines and a job that requires attention. It’s not like they go the beach everyday and drink cocktails. There are deadlines and expectations they have to meet. Deadlines and expectations that stay at home moms don’t have to worry about. Working moms also have to get their kids to soccer practice, attend PTA meetings and take their kids to the doctors. Except when they do it, they have a boss and a job that they must work around.
Oh, but they have help. Sure some may have a nanny who handles all of that, but in my experience that is rare. Our nanny didn’t take my sick kid to the doctor – I did. I missed work, letting someone down, and took care of my kid. When my son was in daycare, there were set hours and they didn’t care that my job started at a certain time or a meeting was scheduled late in the night. I had to be creative and finding good help (affordable good help that is) is a stressful task. That takes time to find and is rarely perfect, consistent or without holes that need to be filled so you can keep your boss happy and yourself employed.
As a matter of fact, this article acted like our children are our boss. Which could possibly be an analogy. Except my toddler does not effect my pay, does not give me performance reviews and quite frankly, cannot fire me (as much as he might want to when I say no TV today).
So stay at home moms our job is hard. It really is. And we many make sacrifices, often financially to make it work. However, not everyone can (nor wants) to move in with their parents to make it work or has a husband who can float the family on his salary or feels leaving their profession to tend to their kids (in person) full time is best for their family.
Being a stay at home has afforded me so much and has made my life so much more manageable and so I am going to name a few of these things and highlight my privilege as a stay at home mom. Everyone knows motherhood of any kind is hard, but as a stay at home mom:
I can make doctor appointments and not think twice about the time. Sure I want to work around nap time, but that is a structure I put into place, a structure I am in control of adjusting.
I can feel out my kid’s mood in the morning and adjust my day accordingly. Sure, we have doctor’s appointments and “classes” and errands to run, but if my kid is taking 45 minutes to put his shoes on I may be annoyed and “held up”, but I am not missing a meeting or strolling into the office (which for me was a school) 45 minutes late.
I can cancel, reschedule or not go to shit when I don’t feel like it. When my boss has a “Storybook Fit” class, I can be like blah we aren’t going today. And no one will think twice about it. As a matter of fact, I make the schedule. I can wake up and be like today we are going to the beach. And I don’t even need to call out sick. I just go.
When I am unable to shower – I can act like I just came from the gym. That my smell is the result of an intense workout and not due to using my free time to sleep and you know write this post to decompress from the stress of battling my kid over the TV and snacks.
I can shop, sure with two kids in tow, but I can shop during “off” hours. I remember doing my grocery shopping on Sunday nights or Saturday afternoons (with my then one kid in tow) when I worked and it was quite crowded. Same goes for a Target run. As a stay at home mom, the trip is still tiring and loud and filled with requests and screeches, but thankfully there are a few less people to witness the disaster train.
Stay -at-home moms I love you. The job is hard, tiring and many days (usually after 2 hours of playing imaginary Sophia game) I want to runaway to a cubicle and hide under the desk. But I want to stop acting like it is the hardest thing in the world. That we have it so much harder than our working mom counterparts. That they don’t have to deal with what we do. Sure during the working hours they outsource SOME of their mom duties, but that is so they can answer to another boss. A boss that can fire you. And expects you to shower. Daily.