“If I was able to be home all day my house would be so clean!” I would think every night after a long day of work. The dishes, laundry and pet messes that awaited me every night exhausted me to no end. My husband has always been an great help, but still, the thought lingered about how much easier my life would be if I could be home all day long.
(Let’s all go ahead and have a good belly laugh at that one…)
Then the opportunity arose for me to actually put this plan to action! I was pregnant with our second child, we were getting ready to move to a new place where I didn’t know anyone. We knew we could figure out how to live on one income especially with the raise in pay my husband got by switching jobs, we knew that if I did work my entire paycheck would go to daycare and gas money. That was IF I found a job, and if it paid enough for me to even think about affording a daycare center. So, I put in my two weeks notice and looked forward to sleeping in and having a clean home. (Once again, please laugh along with me at that one.)
We seem to think that being a stay at home mom is somehow easier than being a working mom. The thing is, just being a mom is hard work. Most of the work is unseen with the worry, the planning, some of us even clean so efficiently that our family members must be under the impression that fairies come into the house at night and fold their underwear and mop the floors. It’s magic!
Almost as soon as the decision was made, I started to see the differences in my life. In the weeks leading to my last day at work I got comments like, “I wish I could afford to stay at home!” “You’ll regret it!” “I bet you’ll find another job as soon as you realize how much things cost!” (WTF to that last one… I was a grown adult with a mortgage and kids, well frickin’ aware of what stuff cost TYVM)
So, here’s a list of why we’re so very wrong about stay at home moms.
- You must be lucky. This is rarely said with awe. That’s the problem with this one. It’s always said in a snarky way, it comes from jealousy. But you know what? I am lucky. I am well aware that I’m lucky to be able to see all of my kid’s first moments. I’m lucky to be there when they wake up every day and lucky to tuck them in every night. I feel extremely lucky to still be home with them now during their school years and teach them how to read, and watch them climb those educational milestones while I cheer them on. I don’t discount this, but there’s no place for snarky remarks that are supposed to somehow make you feel better. I usually reply with a smile and huge thanks while I sarcastically make my life sound like a dream.
- I wish I could afford it. Why are we so weird about money? We aren’t eating caviar and lobster every night on our yacht, I work tirelessly to make our budget work and to make sure we’re on track. As I said in the beginning, by me staying home we saved around $800/month. When we lived up north I could afford a baby-sitter because it was someone I trusted, she was extremely cheap, and it was for only one child. There was no way I could find that here when I didn’t know anyone. There have been days where I wish I could afford to go to work, especially in the beginning when we were still learning how to live on one income (honestly we are still learning, every pay period, every month, every year, always learning how to make it work). It’s funny hearing people tell me this when I know they went to Disney world, or that they drive brand new cars, or shop at the expensive grocery stores. Overall, if you really want something you figure out how to make it work, you figure out how to afford it. That’s what most stay at home parents do, they figure out how to make their priorities work.
- You chose it, so you can’t complain. I have literally been told this. Not by my husband either, he wouldn’t dare. That’s like telling someone they chose to be poor, so they can’t complain. That’s like telling any parent they chose to have kids, so they can’t complain. If I said my dog was being naughty today would someone really reply back to me that I chose to have a dog, so I don’t get to complain? I don’t think so. We listen to our spouses and friends who work outside of the home complain about their jobs, we get it, there are hard days. Not every situation is perfect, not every day is perfect. So if you hear a stay at home mom complain about the damn dishes, or feeling run down, you either reply with kindness or you don’t reply at all. Chances are you have stuff in your own life that you complain about that could be changed and remedied, but you haven’t gotten there. If you don’t want her to point that out to you I suggest you shut your trap. 🙂
- My house would be spotless if I were home all day. Calling my younger self out on this one. The thing I didn’t really realize at the time was that, if I’m home all day- my kids are home all day too (especially the younger ones). My house is just as messy now as it was back then. While I’m picking up one mess, they tend to be in another area making a new mess. Yes, I’m teaching them to help out, and it’s so much better now than when I had a toddler and a baby, but that’s parenting whether you work outside of the home or not.
- People think that just because I’m a “stay at home mom” means I stay at home all. Day. Long. Especially at the beginning of this journey, people come to visit with out notice, and, (surprise!) I’m not home. I would get phone calls and texts asking where I was. Doesn’t matter where I am. I’m home often enough that I need to leave it now and then and change my scenery to keep my sanity. Self care, people!
- People expect you to be at their beck and call. “I can’t do that, I have to work!” And I sit on my couch eating bon bons all day? (ahhhh the dream life!) I run a small business that I’m trying to make grow every day, I have kids around me 24/7 and I am the teacher of these children to boot. You can’t talk about improperly educating and then assume I do nothing all day in the same breath. Thank you, next.
- What do you do all day? I’m going to start replying to this one with, “What to you do all day?” And then proceed to ignore everything they say. I mind my own business, that’s what I do!
I want to take a second and say that I’m not pointing fingers at working moms. We’re ALL working moms. You ladies work at least TWO jobs and that’s BOSS! Almost all of these things have been said to me by men, or by women with grown children who lived in a completely different time. I’ve done both. I’ve worn both shoes. And they each really do have ups and downs. I liked making my own money, I liked have other adults to talk to, I liked getting out of the house. I hated being away from my children, I hated missing things that they did, I couldn’t afford the cost of childcare that I needed to have in order to even go to work. Now I’m home with my babies, I don’t miss a SINGLE thing most days, and I get to really prioritize what I want to do with my time between taking care of the kids and the house. But I’m ALWAYS around my kids. I work from son up to son down (not a typo), I have to budget every cent that comes through, and I totally get a little hate almost every day from certain people about it.
At the end of the day all that matters is that we do what is right for our situation, we do what is right for our kids, and every single kid has different needs. Every family has different needs and priorities. Let’s just have more respect for each other, okay?
I love you guys!!