Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nothing Angers Me More These Days...

Then people who make inaccurate assumptions about Stay-at-Home-Moms. But before I explain why, let me confess that I use to be one of these people. I truly believed that staying home with my children meant that I would have plenty of time to keep an immaculate home, prepare an organic home-cooked meal every night, keep my scrapbooks up to date, finish all of my writing projects, read a new book every week, schedule numerous lunches and outings with friends...all the while nurturing and teaching my children. I actually laugh to myself every time I think back to those days before I quit my job. I was completely naive...but with good reason. I mean really, one cannot possibly understand how challenging it is to be a SAHM until they actually become one. Plain and simple. But that doesn't seem to keep people from making assumptions about what we "do all day". And that is when I get angry.

My SIL Dana posted an awesome article on her Facebook page that discusses this very subject. If the scanned copy is too small to read, you can click here for the full article. Please read it before you continue this post because I think the columnist hits the nail on the head...


See what I mean? Beautifully said. I think my favorite line in the whole article is where she explains, "It's taking 45 minutes to do what takes others 15". The woman who sent in this question had a point...SAHMs can't list off grocery shopping, house cleaning and trips to the library as excuses for why they are pressed for time because all women (and men) have to find time to do these things. BUT...these other men and woman are not trying to accomplish these tasks with children. A trip to Target alone vs. a trip to Target with two kids in tow is a VERY different experience. If you have never had to leave an entire cart full of items in the middle of the store because you had to escort a screaming, tantrum-throwing child to the car...consider yourself lucky.

The thing is, I don't want to make it seem like I think that being a SAHM is harder than working outside the home because I'm sure in most cases it's not. Both jobs are demanding for different reasons. But just as I don't assume that career women have it easy because they get lunch breaks, vacation days, sick days, weekends off, etc., I would expect career women not to assume that I just sit home all day reading books with my feet up while the kids trash the house around me. If I could make it so, I would like to have more time for my friends. I would like to have more time to answer e-mails as they come in, instead of answering them days or weeks later. I would like to have more time for myself and be able to put on something cuter than a pair of sweatpants most days. I would like to have a phone conversation that I didn't have to interrupt twenty times. But these are the sacrifices I made to be a Stay at Home Mom and you know what...it's worth it to me. I will trade in my wants and needs to be home with my kids any day :-)

So...to all you career women out there who do not have children yet...please be understanding when it comes to your mommy friends. We really do love you and want to spend time with you...it's just not as easy as it use to be. But hey, if you are really missing us and want some time to catch up, it would be awesome if you picked up a pizza and came over one afternoon. Chances are we will be home...or at Target :-)

13 comments:

  1. Well said my dear daughter. I was a SAHM too and the debate even went on then..and that was 30 years ago!! It will be that way until the end of time!!

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  2. Very cute post! I totally understand what you're saying and I've been so annoyed when others act like their 8 hours spent at work were actual 'work' over my 24 hours spent at home with my little one.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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  3. Jen, how anyone can think that being a SAHM is not a job and is easy has not done it. You are one of the busiest people in the world and I must say you probably work harder than the office put together lol. Love you and miss you and don't let anyone tell you that its not a job!!!

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  4. being a sahm is hard, especially with 3 kids as i have found out. i only wish i could do it and not have to worry about beign around 25 kids everyday and then still come home and assume all the mommy responsibilities, when there will be even less time to get all those chores done, errands run and spending time with kids. the truth of the matter is, no job is easy when you have kids.

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  5. I admit, I'm a working mom and sometimes I come home and wonder what in the world my SAHDad did all day! Then I stop and look at my well-adjusted happy child and I let it go. Long gone are the days for long phone calls, impromptu shopping/dinner sprees with girlfriends, and leisurely naps. However, when you have a friend show up with pizza and crayons/coloring book, you don't miss those old days as much!

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  6. Jen, always remember that there are three kinds of Moms:
    1) The SAHM who is able to do so and loves it!
    2) The professional working Mom who LOVES her career and her family and has adjusted nicely to both!
    3) The jealous working Mom who hates her job but isn't able to stay home!

    Now you tell me which one does the most bashing! I get heated over this topic because I was a SAHM and experienced the same, jealous people. I gave up alot to stay home but it was my choice. We did without shopping, movies, concerts and vacations but it was SO worth it!!!

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  7. Thanks for all the great, supportive comments ladies!

    Krissy and Chelle - I realize that working moms have more on their plate than any other woman out there. I can't imagine doing all of my motherly and wifely duties AND working a full time job. I am sure it is exhausting and frustrating, especially when you don't want to be working in the first place. I know I wouldn't be happy if I had to work and wasn't given a choice in the matter. But Eric and I knew we would want to be in this position some day so we made the right financial decisions and here we are!

    I know that every mother has a lot on their plate, whether they stay at home or not. But I feel like stay-at-home-moms get the short end of the stick. We are always guilted with the same ignorant comments that come from every possible direction. Single women, career women, working moms, working dads, and the list goes on. Its as if we have something to prove to everyone every day because we get to stay home. Our house has to be cleaner, our kids have to be neater, our activities list needs to be longer and our appreciation for the opportunity to stay home needs to be abundantly clear to everyone. And even though people say that they "understand" that the job of a SAHM is difficult, we still get bashed the second we make one negative comment because we shouldn't have any thing to complain about because again..we GET to stay home and they don't.

    But the thing is, I do know lots of moms who chose to work because they know that they wouldn't be happy at home all day. My BF Tara tells me all the time that she could NEVER stay home with her kids all day, even if she had the chance, because she would lose it. Haha! I love her honesty and I appreciate her acknowledging the fact that it is tough to be home. It isn't a walk in the park like some people think. Now, if I had 24/7 help with the kids, I could take them more places and go on more fun outings. But at the age the kids are now, I can't just pack up and take the two of them to the zoo myself. So I have to get creative at home and make it fun and educational and that alone takes a crazy amount of energy most days.

    Okay...I'm rambling on. Haha! Can you tell the subject gets me heated? Didn't mean to launch into another novel. BUt I know you two understand. You are both teachers and I am sure you hear ALL THE TIME how lucky you are to be a teacher because you get holidays and summers off with your kids. There are tons of other working moms out there that barely get a weeks vacation, let alone a whole summer. But to teachers, summer isn't enough. You work so hard all year you feel you have earned that time and it isn't fair for others to assume that you have it easy. That is the exact same way I feel about being a SAHM. So...the moral of the story is...don't judge other people until you have walked in their shoes. Ha!

    Thanks again for the great comments ladies! It felt good to vent a little :-)

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  8. WOW! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that article...and after being home this summer I am able to understand it so much better :) Thanks for sharing!

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  9. So...you may not like my answer but I actually think a lot of it has to do with parenting styles. I have a lot of friends who profess to be very busy as SAHMs and no time for anything. I then see the hours they still manage to spend on facebook and blogging and their choice is made abundantly clear. When they talk about saving money, I hear comments like "I could make my own baby food but...really I'm just too lazy for that" (their words-not mine).

    Now I don't think this applies to all SAHMs but I don't think that SAHMs can all be lumped into the same category! Some of my friends kids watch maaaany hours of tv/video games every day while others are actually engaging their kids in healthy stimulating activities and getting involved in their lives.

    I was raised in a family of 10 and I did a great deal of the rearing growing up so when people who only have one or a couple of children complain about their incredible lack of time, it does make me a little incredulous sometimes (not always). When I was just a kid, I could juggle dinner, cleaning the house, homeschooling my younger siblings while still getting my own homework done. In college I nannied 60+ hours a week, including overnights (and yes I was up with the babies plenty of time) while taking classes full time and it wasn't anymore of a hassle to take a 2 or 3 year old along with a baby to the grocery store...we just did it differently. Being a SAHM is certainly not easy by any stretch of the imagination but just like in any category, I think there are some SAHMs who make all the others look bad.

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  10. "Anonymous" - your first paragraph is EXACTLY why there are so many comments made back and forth about SAHMS. Do they not have the right to blog or do facebook because they are a SAHM? Do Mom's that work out of the home get the go ahead on this because they work? That comment alone outraged me beyond anything. I believe that if you are reading this, then you spend time on the computer and take time for yourself. Are SAHM's not allowed time for themselves because they stay home? Unbelievable comment!!

    Good for you being able to juggle all you did growing up in a large family and nannying 60+ hours a week. Jen "nannies" her children 24/7. Again, there are alot of people who do what you did. There are also working Mom's who pick up their kids from day care, come home and plop them in front of the TV. But maybe it's okay for them because they "work" outside the home.

    You are right that some SAHM Moms may make others look bad. I think this can be said for ANY occupation, be it a marketer, accountant, teacher, police officer, etc.

    Jen's Mom

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  11. I actually saw this a long time ago when it was first published as its from a local paper of ours, I think.

    Oh my! I know that Jen didn't share this article so we all could bicker back and forth as to why each of our convictions is stronger than any others... and lots of good points have been made but its not getting us anywhere.

    What I will say is the most obvious thought that I had after reading all of the comments and the article is this... why do we women have to judge each other so harshly? Instead of being jealous we should be happy for the people who have what we think we want. And if its not jealousy that sparks nasty comments then what is it? Let it go. Easier said than done, of course. But it seems like we judge other women (men too, I suppose) about everything else under the sun. What kind of stroller they use, if they're fat/thin, what kind of 'mom mobile' they drive (Escalade or Caravan?) whether they home school or not, the list goes on and on... and on.

    So my point is maybe we all should shut the hell up and stop judging each other so much! Stop being jealous or get the chip off your shoulder & enjoy your own damned life!

    Ok, I just used hell & damn on Jen's family blog... I'm going to be a terrible mother! *wink*

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  12. I agree with Chelsi in that we, as mamas, working outside the home or working within the home, are all a part of this special, amazing club called motherhood. It's not a RIGHT or an OBLIGATION to do any of those items listed by anonymous...it's a priviledge. I work outside the home, but often wonder how different my life would be if I decided to take my career homeward bound. I work because I choose to work, but you don't hear me bitching about it. I also don't come to work and martyr myself out because I was up with the baby, or busy doing laundry. I think the mere fact that anyone would have to list the items they accomplished in taking care of their children or anyone else's for that matter is seeking some sort of gratification. You are a mom because you were given the gift of life and you shouldn't bitch about how anyone else is doing it. Live your life the way you want to. Want to stay at home but feel you can't? Change your lifestyle! We choose our own destiny girlfriends. I think any mom would agree that all the gratification in the world one needs for all they go through each day is the smile on your child's face. Nothing else matters except rearing healthy, well adjusted, happy, goodwilled children who give something back to this crazy world! We have too many other people judging our every move with our children (hello unsolicited advice from strangers at the grocery store!!) that we need to stick together and help each other! My friend who is WWTHMama(working within the home : )has JUST as many struggles as I do, and vice versa. We shouldn't envy anyone's situation...jealousy turns us into spiteful, vicious women! Let's just get over it and start living in the here and now!!

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