Hey guys! I’m not feeling very motivated to write in here, but I’m even less motivated to do schoolwork. I’m having a super moody/bitchy morning (Jon always forgets to leave the stroller at home and I’m in the process of finding a good baby carrier for extremely petite women, so he messed up my plans this morning- and he knew he had the stroller with him but didn’t warn me so I got to the garage with a baby and 10,000 things and found out that he still had it- WHY NOT TELL ME AHEAD OF TIME?!). Really I’ve been kind of bitchy all week. Last Sunday, Jon asked me if I was getting my period because I was so moody, and then I did get it. But now I have no excuse I guess.
Anyway, so, I’m two months into this stay-at-home-mom business, so I thought I’d write about my perspective on being a SAHM vs a working mom. Keep in mind, I have ONE kid. So this is from my perspective as a mom to ONE child. I imagine that as you have more kids, everything gets way more complicated and this post would be totally inaccurate. Also, I worked part-time and am doing my masters, and I don’t have a typical 9-5 job.
I tell Jon all the time that I have no idea what SAHMs are bitching about. I unfollowed all my mom boards on Facebook because I feel like I have this mom thing figured out now and was tired of reading so many mom posts. But in the year I spent reading way too many mom posts, I saw a LOT of SAHMs defend their roles. They go on about how they cook and clean and they “work” too. If you have more than one kid, I can’t even begin to imagine what it’d be like with two kids at home. But one kid is way manageable.
I’m not sure what SAHMs think WMs do. Maybe they think we have cooks and maids (okay, a lot of WMs do have maids) and people to go to Target for us and that we all get our groceries delivered. (Please note, I obviously know that most SAHMs probably don’t actually feel this way, but the few posts I see that imply that really irritate me.) But I didn’t have any of that. So on top of working, I still had to do everything that SAHMs did. And let’s be real, Jon was pretty useless at home tasks, so that all fell on me. I even had it pretty cushy- I ran errands a lot of times on the days that Jackson was in daycare so I could get stuff done faster, but had I been working every day, that would have happened on weekends or in the evenings (and it still did a lot of time, because my days off were spent on school). Even working 24-32 hours a week and spending roughly 6 hours a week on schoolwork, I was BUSY. I was stressed. I felt like I was always behind. I spent 11 months with my boobs being sucked like a cow during lunch at work (dropping food all over my scrubs and pump parts) so I could make food for my kid.
Being a SAHM? Guys, my house is spotless pretty much. I clean up after Jackson nonstop because I have time. My laundry gets done regularly. I run my dishwasher every night and unload the dishes every morning. I drink my coffee in silence during nap time (if your kid isn’t napping regularly and you refuse to lead your child in their schedule, let’s not bitch about how you never get peace and quiet, because you could totally have somewhat of a regular schedule if you tried to). I even take naps occasionally if I want to. I watch my hour of TV of a day during nap time. I clean the bathrooms during nap time if I need to (usually over 2 or 3 nap times). I have tons of time to spend with my son. I eat lunch with him. I eat snacks all day long if I want. (You know, since I’ve seen lots of people say they just want to get an hour for lunch like working moms do! Not that I’ve EVER had an hour of lunch since being a working adult.)
I even like my husband more (except for this week- I kind of can’t stand him this week, but this week isn’t the norm). I am less irritable because when he leaves his shit all over the house, I HAVE TIME to clean it up! I’m not busting my ass at work and doing everything in the morning to get myself AND my kid out of the house so I can clock in on time. I’m not eating a snack at work before going to daycare to get my kid because I know I won’t be eating right away when I get home. I don’t feel frazzled from being on the go nonstop when Jon walks in the door like I did when I was working. Jon and I spend time together in the evenings after Jackson goes to bed usually (I do sometimes still have to cook after Jackson goes to bed and I usually clean up the entire floor at the end of each day, but it doesn’t take long), because I had all dang day to get everything else done. Our marriage is the best it has ever been since we’ve been in Charleston and I haven’t been working. I appreciate Jon 1,000x more when he’s gone 11 hours a day working hard to make money for our family, while I am having easy days at home.
I can see the frustration of SAHMs not feeling like their “job” is being validated. But really, this isn’t a job. This is parenting. Yeah, it’s parenting 24/7. And maybe I feel this way because my husband isn’t a dickhead about me staying at home and he is grateful for what I do for him (I hear about how some men treat their SAH wives and it’s ridiculous). Maybe I feel different because I know this is temporary. I know I’m going back to a crazy (single-mom) life in September while I work and finish my masters in Georgia, so I can really soak in this time staying at home. I do miss working. I do miss adult interaction, but I set up play dates so that I can still have that. I try to get out and see friends when I go back to Georgia too. Jon is good about being supportive of “letting” me out whenever I need it. I also REALLY encouraged a schedule, and our days look similar every day. We do different activities through the time Jackson is awake, but he naps at the same times every day. I started that from day one because of my sanity! My kid doesn’t wake up all night long because I didn’t let him. And trust me, I do have really frustrating days. I was irritated with Jackson today and then he threw all of his oranges on he ground at the museum.
When I had been working, I thought maybe I was missing something about being a SAHM. I really thought I must not understand because I had never been in those shoes (except for when I had a newborn and that was brutal!). But I wasn’t. At least not for us. I can’t imagine dragging a second kid everywhere with me, but like I said, this is a perspective from a mom of ONE kid. I think being a SAHM has made me even more irritated when I hear SAHMs talking about how hard it is to be a SAHM. Go to work and then come home and have the same amount of work to do at home, plus find time to spend with your little person, and THEN see how you feel…
And here’s the thing- if it IS hard emotionally to be a SAHM, I totally get that. I get how this is redundant. I get that sometimes you feel kind of useless (or I do). I get that adult interaction could be lacking. I get that sometimes, you’ve had it UP TO HERE with your dang kid. I get that. I also get that when your kid is crying all the time as a newborn, that is totally different. Those newborn days can be excruciating and I hated every single minute of maternity leave and couldn’t wait to get back to work. But once your kid turns into a real little person and not just a crying sack of potatoes, I think we’ve had time to figure life out. So, SAHM, please, stop tallying up your duties at home and calling it a job. I’ve been sweeping my floors since before I had kids and it was never considered a job. I was doing my husband’s laundry before and it wasn’t a job then and it isn’t now.
I wouldn’t change working for a minute. I LIKE my career. I work because I WANT to (I still technically work- but only 32 hours a month). I think part-time is the best of both worlds because I get more time at home with my kid, but I also get to be somebody other than just mom (that’s important to me). I like bringing in my own paycheck and feeling like I’m contributing. I am worried that I’ll go back to thinking Jon is annoying when I go back to work, and when we have another kid and I keep working, I worry about that too. There are plenty of days I miss working and when I was working, there were plenty of days where I wished I had more time at home.
For these few short months, I’m going to continue enjoying the ease of being a SAHM. I’m going to soak up my quiet cups of coffee, my trips to Publix with Jackson squealing in his truck cart, days at the beach with my boy, and a super clean house. I’m going to revel in my days that all look the same and having time to play with my kid nonstop.
(Also, this is totally not to say SAHMs are less valuable than working moms. I don’t think that AT ALL. I think we all have different lives and we all want different things out of life. I’ve never thought, “Oh, you’re JUST a SAHM?” More power to moms who stay at home! More power to working moms! We should ALL find what makes us the happiest. And maybe some people did work before and feel like being a SAHM IS harder, and I’d actually love to read a comparison from a mom who thinks that (with one kid) so I could see their perspective. But I guess this is just to say that I don’t think daily tasks around the house should mean that being a SAHM is a job. It’s a role. Being a working mom is a role. Being a nurse is my job. And personally, being a SAHM for ME has been WAY easier than life ever was when I was working!)