There are a couple things I’d like to tell you.
1. Whether you stay home, or work outside the home being a mom is hard. It can be exhausting. It can be mentally draining. It is a job that even the best moms can feel like they’re failing at. It is the most important and most difficult job you will ever have. It is also the most rewarding. That’s why I choose to stay home. I love the moments I get with my kids even after a long day or a long night. Getting to snuggle with my babies, an “I love you”, or a simple random hug make every bad minute worth it. I get envious at even the idea of someone else getting to spend more time with my kids than I do. I feel so sorry for any mom who would love to stay home, but is not able to.
2. Your implication that only women in wealthy families get to stay home with their kids could not be further from the truth. Along with mine and my husbands choice for me to stay home also came the choice to cut our income almost in half. On top of that, I also do not have a company to pay a portion of my health insurance anymore, so that is an additional expense that we did not have before children. We do, however, live comfortably. Why? Because we planned and budgeted, and worked hard to put ourselves in the position we are in. We do not have car payments, we paid for our graduate school out of pocket, and we stashed away all the extra money that we could into savings for those three years that I did work before we decided to have kids. My kids and I do not get to run around spending money as we please each day. We budget, we plan, and we sacrifice. Even if I could run around shopping each day, there is no way I would. Shopping with two little kids is about as fun as trying to herd a blind cow back into a cage. In heels. (Which I’ve had to do before) With that said, I do realize that some women absolutely have to work to make ends meet. Some even work from home pulling double time taking care of their kids and bringing in money for their family. I admire any women for doing what is necessary for her family, because that is what us moms do, we put our families first. However, please understand that many of us who get to stay home with our kids sacrifice financially to do so.
3. “The most annoying thing is not even woman who stay home, but women who stay home and have a dirty house and dirty kids. I mean, if you’re gonna stay home at least keep your kids and house clean and have dinner on the table when your man gets home.”
-Being able to stay at home with your kids means that you and your kids will be in your house all day long. Your house is not empty during the day and you do not come home to the same house you left in the morning. You live it in all day. You tote around your fussy 7 month old while your two year old runs around getting into and destroying everything imaginable….and some things you can’t even imagine. For example, finding your two year old naked and using the kitchen sink as a toilet while you were trying to put said baby down for a nap. Or destroying her closet for the millionth time for the day because one must change their clothes every 30 minutes in order to stay fashionable. Or cleaning poop off the bathroom rugs and floors because they insist they can go to the bathroom on their own. The day is filled with constant dirtying and cleaning up and dirtying and cleaning up and cooking and cleaning up and cooking and cleaning up. Please understand that if our houses aren’t always perfectly clean it is probably because we haven’t quite made it to the latest mess that was made. Or perhaps that maybe snuggling with the fussy baby or playing with the two year old was more important than immediately cleaning up the play area.
-My house stays pretty clean for the most part, however, I do have a dirty child running around very VERY often. Why? Because she loves to play outside and we spend a lot of time out there. If your child doesn’t get dirty playing outside, then you aren’t doing something right. It is not possible to give them baths every time they get dirty during the day, it’s just not. Sure they get wiped down with a wet one, but they still look pretty grimy sometimes until bath time comes. We can’t bath 4 times a day though and that is what it would take to keep my very messy child spotless.
-Cooking and making meals is an important thing in my household. Home made meals are much cheaper and healthier than eating out and so I try to cook as much as I can. A lot of days it is really hard to have dinner ready when the husband gets home though. It can be time consuming to put healthy, homemade meals on the table and between the baby who wants to constantly be toted around and the wild two year old, it is very difficult to spend much time cooking. Most days dinner is not finished until after the husband gets home because he can help take care of the kids while I finish dinner. Then after dinner he helps take care of the kids so I can (once again) clean up.
I love that I am able to stay home, and I want to make sure everybody knows that I am not complaining about my choice in career, but the notion that stay at home moms have it easy is so disturbing to me. I’ve worked full time (while also doing grad school) and I’ve stayed home full time. They’re both a lot of work and a lot of days now I feel like I’m running around being pulled in a million different directions, scatter brained, un-showered, and with wild hair flapping in the wind. Our days are very similar to those who hold a career. We start early, we work all day (and often without a break if the kids don’t nap at the same time), and are on duty till the kids go to bed. Even then, still on call for babies who need to nurse during the night and a house to clean up, just as working moms. As mothers we have enough internal battles to deal with. Stereotypes and judgments aren’t going to help that. We all have our trials and insecurities and I wish we could stop the idea that many moms tend to have, that somebody has it better and easier than them. You can always find someone that has it easier than you. You can also always find someone that has it more difficult than you.
Climbing off my soap box. Over and out.