Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stay At Home Mom Job Is Tough

I don't talk about homeschooling or children or diapers or other kid-related stuff much because frankly, blogging is my escape from all of the above. It is the time where I try to learn something new, do something creative and extend my influence beyond these four walls. Plus, in a world where many women have to work, it seems churlish to complain when I have the choice to stay home or work part time (which I do) or work full time.

But my Sister Friend writes eloquently about her experiences as a stay at home mom versus being a working mom. Her conclusion is the same as mine: staying at home is harder. I'll let her explain:

When you stay home you have someone hanging on you every second of every minute of every hour of every day looking to you to meet all of their needs. It is exhausting to be utterly responsible for every whim and desire of a little one.
That, my friends, summarizes the challenge of being at home. What I have told my husband is this: On your worst day, when everything goes wrong and no one is happy, you still get paid. On my worst day, when everything goes wrong and no one is happy, I get paid with a worst night, where everything goes wrong and no one is happy. At your job outside the home, getting shit on is metaphorical. At home, it's literal. And puked on, too.

And these are the days that are forgotten when the kids grow up and go on Oprah. That any children make it to adulthood is quite miraculous. Children are delightful, but let's be real here. Up until a certain age, all they do is eat, poop, make messes, throw up, cling, cry, scream, make noise, and did I mention poop? They aren't civilized. They are primal beasts driven by insatiable curiosity and destructive desires. And a mother is blamed when the child never civilizes.

Mother's Day rolls around once a year. And you know what mom's want? It's insanity. That's what motherhood is. We want sloppy hand prints. We want hand written poems. We want squiggly art.

Moms dream of getting away. Calgon commercials allude to this desire and all moms know darn well that the kid is bursting through the door any minute or pounding non-stop until mom gets out. The reality of getting away is more like torture. Being without the children, I think of them, worry about them, and want to tuck them in at night. When my daughter was two, the hubby and I got away to celebrate our anniversary. At one point, I knew she was crying, felt it in my bones, and called home. She was crying and I was four hours away. Helpless. It was this defining moment that made me realize I was doomed. Being with the kids all the time was the hardest work I'd ever done, unrelenting and some days, punishing work, but being without the kids was just as bad or worse.

Ah motherhood. It's not for wimps. As an aside, this is where I find the feminists denigration particularly insulting. They define success as going out and making loads of money and enjoying lots of sex (doesn't that describe success for a man?) while diminishing mothering, the most quintessentially female thing to do. It's outrageous. What is even more angering is equating mothering with daycare. The care a child receives at the hands of a daycare worker is not the same as a mother (and yes, I know, sometimes it's better, I'm making the assumption of a good mom).

Annyyyyway, go read Sister's post. She has a nice balanced view of staying at home verses going out to work.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling your pain! Thanks for the link, somehow it helps when you know others are going through it or have gone through it. An older gentleman told me once that of all the times he misses, he misses the most when his children were young. I try to remember that someday, I'll probably miss them! HKH

Anonymous said...

And on top of regular motherhood, you have the courage to home-school your children. Hats off to you and all the moms you have that kind of commitment. You are definitely more sane than I am. I am not sure I could do it...unless I really had to. I really do look forward to a few sane hours.
The one thing that gets to me more than anything else as a Mom is the fighting and bickering between my two over the dumbest things. It is maddening!

Hang in there! This too shall pass!

Sister Sassy said...

Thanks for linking to me. Maybe you should get an iPod ;)

sandy said...

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