Every. Single. Day. I am bombarded by questions, comments, advice, and judgment from other people because I am a stay at home mom. Every. Single. Day. It never ceases, it’s like a constant barrage of words pelting my entire body. And of course there are blogs and articles about being a working mom vs. a stay at home mom, which is better and which is worse. This morning, I read a blog on Scary Mommy that had the 12 things a working mother never wants to hear. First off, let me give props to you working moms out there. It’s tough work. I’ve been there and done that. Secondly, let me also just give props to ALL the moms in the world, whether they be working moms or stay at home moms. You, WE, are all rock stars!
Back to this blog I read. Working moms get a lot of grief. I know this. On occasion, I’ve thought negatively about my fellow working moms whether it be because I’m jealous of their adult interactions, having a life OUTSIDE of their kids, or because I just think their being selfish (yes, I have thought this. Shame on me, I know!) After reading this blog, it got me to thinking about the things I, a stay at home mom, don’t want to ever hear.
1. Oh, I’m sorry. You must have lost your job. First off, don’t just automatically assume that since I’m staying home with my kids, it means I lost my job. Some of us actually chose to leave our Corporate America jobs. I went back to work when my maternity leave with Davey was up. He was six weeks old. I turned in my notice when he was four months old. I saw nothing productive out of my day while I was working. Instead all I could think about was what I was missing out on with my son. I would rise at 5 to shower and get ready, feed Davey at 6 and while my husband dressed him and fixed our breakfast, I would finish getting ready, pack Davey’s diaper bag and drop him off at daycare no later than 7:10, go to work, leave work at 5, pick Davey up at 5:30 and then would have maybe 2 hours with him before he had to go to bed. 2 hours! That wasn’t acceptable for me. I can always go back to work, maybe not in my chosen profession, but I can’t go back and make memories. So, no I CHOSE to leave my job.
2. You must have a degree in Home Ec. Yes, I do hear this. Do they even offer Home Economics anymore? I never took it in high school. And just for your information I have an Associates Degree in English, a Bachelors Degree in Speech and Communication Studies & Political Science (I double majored) and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
3. I bet you have time to get caught up on all your soap operas. Yes, I do hear this one as well. Who watches these anymore? I don’t even have time to sit down and watch the news in the mornings, much less watch a soap opera. When the boys are napping, I’m usually doing some sort of housework or maybe squeezing in some writing time.
4. I bet you get to workout all the time. Yes, I do go to the Y, so I do get in some sort of an exercise routine. I don’t do it just for me, as the Y offers all sorts of programs for children. Davey flips out if we don’t go on a Wednesday, since that is his exercise day, but I don’t work out all the time. Anyone who’s seen me knows that I don’t, but I am active with both of my boys, playing soccer or tee ball in the backyard, going on bike rides, and hiking, but my boys are with me 90% of the time I’m getting in any sort of exercise.
5. Your children will be socially awkward. My children will NOT and are NOT socially awkward. That is because I have chosen from the start to constantly have them at various events, from the library, to the children’s museum, to play dates. I give up my comforts of wanting to just stay at home, so that they can have the interaction they need. Being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean we stay home 24/7. I’m very conscientious about keeping my boys active socially.
6. Studies have shown that children thrive in an atmosphere when both parents are working. I went to daycare and look how I turned out. Studies are coming out EVERY day. There’s always a new one. This one touts exercising while pregnant will increase your child’s IQ when he’s 5. Another says that smelling a person’s farts will increase your life span by 6 years. Studies are gibberish in most cases, a waste of time and money. The studies focusing on curing cancers and AIDS and other medical impediments, those are worth the energy to be concerned about Studies are subjective and can NOT be used in every situation. I went to daycare, too, and I turned out just fine, but I want something more for my kids.
7. Your husband must make a LOT of money. Yes, my husband has a wonderful job and it is his job that allows me to be a stay at home mom, but we’ve made sacrifices. We don’t drive luxury cars, I don’t own luxury clothing, we don’t go out to eat at fancy restaurants. We had to change our lifestyle in order to accommodate us living off of one salary. It was hard at first, but we’ve made it work and my kids don’t want for anything. Stop assuming we’re rich just because I don’t work by my own choice.
8. I could never stay at home with my kids. You could, if your circumstances allowed for it. Some moms must work in order to help keep food on the table and the kids clothed. Others do it because they just don’t think they could stay home with the kids. Look, it’s not easy. I lose my patience a LOT, I mean A LOT! Some days I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Some days I feel there has been no sense of accomplishment. I lay my head down some nights and think, “what did I accomplish today?” Being at home is hard work. It’s not easy, but if your situation allowed for it, you COULD do it. I have faith in you.
9. I bet you have all the time in the world to write that novel you’ve been working on. As most of you who read my blog know, I sometimes go for days, even weeks without writing a blog because I just don’t have the time for it. I do most of my writing either early in the morning before everyone is up or during that 30 minutes of time in the evenings when my husband is having his one on one time with the boys. After that, my husband and I spend a couple of quiet hours together. Writing isn’t my priority right now.
10. Must be nice to get to sleep in every morning. You know, you don’t have to get up and go to work. No, you’re right, I don’t have to leave the house to go to work, but I still treat my role as a stay at home mom as a job, a career choice. I get up every morning by 6 (I do have the occasional morning when I get to sleep to maybe 7), do my writing, have some coffee, get dressed and get breakfast ready. I find if I don’t keep a routine to my day, including rising in the morning, then I’m setting myself and my boys up for failure. I don’t let my boys sleep past 7:30 most mornings because I want them already on the routine of needing to get up Monday through Friday. They’ll be going to school soon, after all.
I could add more to this list, but really I don’t have the time, nor do I think many of you have the time to read more. Look, we all have this chip in our head, a little switch that turns our filters on and off, but for some reason it seems to malfunction when talking to mothers. I don’t know if we’re just trying to make small talk, but if this is how it turns out, then just don’t do it. Stop passing judgment on me and my life just because you either a.) don’t understand it or b.) just think it’s the wrong route to take.
My boys are both very smart, testing above their age groups. They love each other and other kids. They’re well mannered and two of the sweetest boys you could ever meet. Could they be this way if I were a working mom? Sure, but I don’t think our relationships would be this great.