Hard is hard. Some things are harder, but that doesn’t negate the hard. Yesterday I wrote my little rant to stop trying to compare the duties of a stay at home mom to a job by calling our toddlers bosses and pointing out the lack of breaks or stressful bath times. And while I even was bold enough to claim that being a working mom is harder, I want to highlight that motherhood in all forms is hard. Being a working mom is super challenging because you entering a whole other set of expectations into the mix – expectations that do not really care about your sick kid, crazy nanny or hectic sports schedule. You are giving up your ability to set every last one the priorities and gaining a set of expectations that you often have little control over. However, that doesn’t mean spending 7 days straight navigating toddler tantrums all day everyday isn’t hard. Like enough to send me over the edge most days hard.
Working moms and stay at home mom jobs are both 24/7. The day looks different and working moms get a little reprieve from the constant toddler requests and the stress inducing tantrums, while stay at home moms miss out on the expectations of a boss. SAHM make the schedule, adjust the schedule and really answer to no one about the schedule (except maybe the attendance coordinator at your kids school). And yes there are
many jobs that do have built in flexibility and that is honestly the only way I think working moms can somewhat make it work. That plus really awesome childcare. I remember one time having to call my son’s daycare to say I would be late (and please do not charge my $10 a minute) because I was stuck at my school (work) waiting for a parent to pick up their kid because her meeting ran late.
Having been in the working mom shoes I feel like often the articles that get attention are those of the stay-at-home mom talking about all the duties they do like clean and cook and play with their kids. I felt I needed to share that working moms while they do work also cook and clean and play with their kids. They aren’t getting a break either. Their expectations during the “9-5” are just different than a stay at home moms. Sure they outsource the teaching of their kids, but not for a moms night out. They are working.
attacking calling out the stay at home moms who want to claim how much harder it is, I realize that perhaps we stay at home moms just want some credit, someone to be like ah I deal with the same shit and while that often comes out as I clean and cook and teach my kids and never get a moment to myself like you working moms do, I figured I would highlight some of the tiring parts of being home with your kids nonstop. So stay at home moms I will shout out some of things that are different for us – that make our days uniquely challenging, but when I get super stressed about these things I like to think – well no one is really evaluating my performance (except for I do live with my mom — and lets say I know she evaluates :)) and I am pretty sure I can’t be fired, even if try to get fired.
(If you didn’t know I love lists. Like love them)
- The mess. It doesn’t stop. It is all day. When you are home with your kids (which is why I drag my kids out of the house even when they don’t want to) the toys, the cups, the meals make messes. Lots of them. When I worked I had the evening mess to tend to, but this multiple meals, countless cups and insane number of cars to keep up with drives me insane. Like I want to get a trashbag and throw it all out insane.
- I love kids. I was a teacher, which I think really helps me out with this stay at home mom nonsense. I like to do crafts and paint and teach my kids crap like colors and shapes. I also am a soon to be 31 year old woman and two hours into an intense of game of imaginary play for the 14th day in a row can get real tiring on a gal. I can only repeat lines from Disney Cars so many times without being like SERIOUSLY LEARN A NEW MOTHER BLEEPING SCENCE. And while the the Yo Gabba Gabba CD is great and my kid’s singing along is adorable, sometimes a lady just wants to drive to Starbucks and listen to some Diane Rehm. Or perhaps actually engage my brain with my old line of work and write a kick ass lesson plan.
- While I do encounter other adults throughout my day – kiddie gymnastics class, the pool, at the playground – it is really hard to strike up adult conversation without an insane number of interruptions. Now I will admit, I didn’t really have time to gab it up when I was working, but the 10 minute how was your weekend was a nice break. Now whenever one of my sisters calls (or happens to be visiting) my kids use that moment to ask for/take out every toy known to man, sneak (or ask and I say yes because I want to talk) a gazillion unhealthy snacks, have to use the bathroom 4.5 times, etc etc etc. It is nearly impossible to get past how old is your kid with a new mom at the park without having to stop your not yet two year old from jumping off the side of the play set. I sometimes almost prefer to not enter a conversation with another adult because the interruptions are exhausting and damn well frustrating.
- The total lack of control over your day. I noted how working moms have deadlines and places to be and we moms can be a tad more patience with our kids putting on their shoes. Working moms have to get their kids out the door to get to places on time. They have to find childcare to fill in the work events that exist outside the childcare hours or when their kid is too sick for school or the school is closed for a snow day). However, stay at home moms almost always have to forget having a to do list or make plans to complete tasks. I set my alarm for earlier than my kids normally wake up – they wake up. I plan on getting something done while one naps – they won’t nap. As routine as your kids may be – whenever you plan on getting something done – your kid will refuse to nap, crap their pants or bawl their eyes out when you recommend heading to the grocery store. This is true to kids – regardless of if their parents work or not – but as a grown woman I have to accept that all day, everyday, my ability to complete tasks depends on the moods of my two young children. And that can start to wear on a lady.
- Similar to above, Your patience is tested all day. You may not have a deadlines stressing you out, but to be calm, patient and present with your two year old you, who wants to touch every chair that surrounds the pool while your other kid is half drowning in the deep end can cause you to lose it. Like really lose your shit. Like when your husband walks in the door you runaway lose your shit. Until you realize he is generating a massive shit storm because he doesn’t know the damn difference between the Mini Turtle and the Small Turtle. (Actually, he doesn’t even know a small turtle exists because you just bought said small turtle so you could get through Target with half your sanity intact)
- Lastly, you never really get to share your “successes” with anyone. When you complete a project at work or submit a an awesome proposal many of times there are great jobs or nice work or you know fancy cash incentives (now I worked in education so fancy cash incentives didn’t happen, but I like to think in other jobs they do). When my kid does something super cute/funny/new, I am like hey 3 year old Flynn wasn’t that so funny. Or when I stop myself from losing it on my kid over a ninja turtle that keeps falling down, no one is like great job. Because no one is there to see it. No one is there to roll their eyes when your kid takes forever to put on his shoes. No one is there to laugh with you at the funny thing your 20 month old just said. It is just you and your kids – no accolades and often the hardest part no one else to share it with. It is just you and your toddler boss.
The moral of my two day rant – written while I ignore my oldest son because he told me doesn’t need a nap just yet (for the record is 4 PM), is that being a mom is hard crap. I love it. I really do. I have
days weeks where my kids cry more than they don’t and all I want to do is lock myself in a hotel or really just a dark room (alone, sorry D you aren’t invited) and eat cheeseburgers while reading a book. Being a mom is a tough shit and just because some have it harder (or easier) doesn’t mean it is all isn’t damn ass tiring. So let’s rephrase our complaints as just that complaints or venting sessions and not an attack on those we think have it easier. Enough with must be nice to pee and eat lunch in peace and we can do without the must be nice to spend all day with your kids at the pool. Because really I am just a girl trying to figure out how to pee in peace, eat lunch and hang with my kids at the pool.