Friday, May 4, 2012

The "Luxuries" of Being a Stay at Home Mom

I typically dread when people ask me, "What do you do?" Ugh. Even reading it here makes me a little uncomfortable.

Not that there is anything wrong with being a work-at-home, stay-at-home mom. It's just that when I tell people I work from home, or that I'm a housewife, I get funny looks, or responses such as, "Oh, wow, you're so lucky." People tend to have warped views on the reality of being a stay-at-home mom. The media tends to glamorize it, so I understand the misconception, but society will never truly understand because they never ask what it's really like.

"You're a work at home mom? You must be lazy. Or rich. Or both."
Dana Rothstein |
So, I'm going to clarify a few things.

Yes, I am lucky that I don't have to go out and spend half of my day dealing with idiots who have a sense of entitlement. Sure, I'm lucky to be able to spend as much time with C as possible, until he starts school in the fall *tear* and no longer wants me hugging or kissing him in front of his friends. I'm lucky to have a husband who cares about his family and works hard to provide for us. I'm lucky to have a beautiful home, a car that runs, a supportive family---the list goes on.


We are not rich. I don't get paid a crapload from my freelance writing jobs. We don't have thousands of dollars just sitting in the bank account waiting to be spent. I don't have a maid. I don't go on shopping sprees with my husband's credit cards. I don't have a live-in babysitter---hell, I don't even have a regular babysitter.


I don't watch soap operas all day. I don't sit around in my pajamas 7 days a week. I don't make regular lunch or coffee dates with friends. I don't go to spas and get pampered while my husband works his ass off. I'm not spoiled.

I'm a mom.

"Moms: Kissing boo-boos since the beginning of time."
You see, people either think that stay-at-home moms are incredibly well-off, or that they don't do anything at all. While there may be women who are filthy rich and have maids, nannies, and butlers, and there probably are women who claim to be stay-at-home moms who won't so much as wash a single dish all day long, the majority see it as a full-time job. And that it is.

For 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I'm on call. As soon as I hear, "Moooommmmmyyyy?!" I'm on it. I feed hungry mouths, I kiss boo-boos, I teach my son, I provide affection and reassurance, I clean up some pretty nasty messes. I do it all.

And you know what? Sometimes I feel great. Sometimes I feel crazy. Sometimes I feel like I could have 5 more kids all over again. Sometimes I have to walk away and breathe for 30 seconds before I end up being "that mom"---you know, the one who yells at her kid based on her own frustrations and then regrets it deeply later. And don't act like you don't have those moments either. It happens. Just center yourself with 3 deep, conscious breaths.

Yikes! Control yourself, woman!
Look, I'm just like you. The only difference is that my job is taking care of my child and my castle, while my husband ensures that the castle stands. At times, the routine drives me insane. There have been times that I've considered getting a job outside of the home just to break the monotony, get out of the house, and be around other adults once in awhile. I don't think it's healthy for an adult to talk about Super Street Fighter and watch karate moves all day long.

Which brings me to another point. Because stay-at-home moms tend to immerse ourselves so deeply into domestic and family-related issues, we often lose our friends in the process. That's when it gets lonely, especially if you have a husband who is gone more often than he's home. Ya know, I love spending time with my son, but he's a handful and there are many days when I long for an intellectual conversation with an adult. Unfortunately, with a 4-year-old who must be the star of the show, it's sometimes impossible to even have a telephone conversation without hearing a long, drawn-out "Mooommmmmyyyyy??!!"

Sometimes I think I may have forgotten how to interact with adults, especially females my age. I'm so awkward. I know more about video games and cartoons than I do about the latest beauty regimen that's been tried and tested by celebrities I've never even heard of.

I want you to understand that I know I'm lucky, and I'm not complaining. Being a housewife has its perks. I mean, I can grocery shop on a Monday while everyone else is at work or at home recovering from the weekend. I can take C to the lake or hang out at the McDonald's play place for hours, without worrying about having to leave so that I'm not late for work. I can visit my sisters and my parents whenever I want. I can do housework in my pajamas.

The whole purpose of this post is to help others understand that devoting every second of your time to your child is a huge decision to make. Sometimes it's exhausting. Sometimes it's disgusting (like finding a crusty fork that was stuck in the sofa for God knows how long, or dealing with a sick kid who has diarrhea). But in the end, it's the best damn job in the world. Raising a well-mannered, respectable child in today's society is, quite possibly, one of the most important jobs in the history of mankind.

If you think parenting is easy, you're not doing it right.

1 comment:

  1. You summarized it so skillfully. I've been replacing my wife from time to time in household duties, I'm in awe of stay at home moms. Each time she travels to her friends and leaves me with kids she prepares the meals for the whole weekend in advance.
    You have it right, it's "of the most important jobs in the history of mankind".


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