A friend of mine named Shaun and I decided it was time to give the people what they want: the differences between a working and stay at home mom. Being on one side doesn’t mean that you know what its like on the other side. So we are bringing our powers together explained why we do what we do, the ups, the downs, and whether we are happy. Go to Shaun’s blog at As the Days Go By to read my version of a Working Mom.
“It was never my intention to be a stay at home mom (SAHM). I think I always envisioned having a career of some sort, at least until I had kids. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I was working retail. It was always my intention to go back to work. We had it all planned out. My mom was going to watch the baby while I worked. Since I was in retail, I knew I could get away with working mostly weekends. It was going to be the perfect plan. Even after she was born my plan was to go back to work. I wasn’t going to work retail forever, mind you, just until I could go back to school. Then a week came and went, then two, then three, then before I knew it, it was time to think about going back to work. That’s when the panic attacks started. I would get terribly depressed. I couldn’t sleep. I cried at the mere mention of work. It was awful. I just couldn’t leave her. I physically couldn’t do it. I can’t really explain the sheer terror I felt at leaving my tiny little daughter, even with family. I think God was trying to tell me that it just wasn’t the right decision for me.
So, I sat down and looked at our budget. We figured that I could stay home, as long as we were VERY careful about how we spent our money. I was so happy to find that my husband was on board with me staying home. I was like a new woman! I won’t like, it’s hard juggling all the bills on one income. There are times when something doesn’t get paid exactly on time. There are times when something doesn’t get paid at all. It’s a fact of life. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.
I wish that society would value the contribution I am making to the world. I’ve had people say some pretty nasty things to me about staying at home. When I went to fill out paperwork for something or another, the woman asked “And what is your occupation.” When I said “I’m a stay at home mom, “ she said “Oh, so you don’t have a job then?” Sadly, this is how most people think. I’ll tell you, yes I have a job. I’m a cook, I’m a maid, I’m a laundress, I’m a professional potty trainer and diaper changer, I’m a comedian, I’m an artist, I’m a teacher, I’m a singer, I’m a songwriter, I’m a story teller, I’m a librarian, I’m a finder of lost things. I’m a Mom. I do it all. Try putting that on a form where it says “occupation” though.
I also love it when people say “Oh, well, you stay at home, you have time for stuff like that,” in reference to my use of cloth diapers, my blog, my Facebook account, or the crafts I make. I kind of get the meaning of what they’re saying. I try not to get angry, but it’s terribly hurtful. It makes me believe that you devalue me as a person and a mother. Yes, I do have more time to do crafts that a working mom, I know that. But, I don’t say “Oh, you work..you’re kid must be hellion.” Or something equally derogatory. As a SAHM, I ask all working moms to give us a little credit. No, we don’t go punch a clock for 40 hours (or more) and then come home and do the cooking, cleaning and child rearing. However, I think staying at home is more difficult that some people think.
I get little to no time alone. I don’t get any decompression time. My day started when my first was born and hasn’t stopped. I don’t get those precious minutes when you’re in the car totally alone. I don’t have the luxury of stopping off at the grocery on my way home from work for a gallon of milk, or scheduling a doctor’s appointment during the time when my child is at the sitters. If I want to go anywhere, I have to load up both kids (ages almost 3 and 6 mos) into the car and drag them with me wherever I go. Try taking your child with you to your yearly GYN appt. Yeah, that’s fun. Or taking both kids to the grocery when you just need a gallon of milk, or to the post office when you just need a book of stamps. It takes me longer to take them in and out of the car than it does to do the actual errand. There are days when both my kids are being especially difficult and I wish I could take them to the sitters and drop them off. I think “then someone else could deal with them!” But, in the end, it’s me. It’s always me.
I don’t know how mothers that work outside the home, like Ashley, do it. Honestly, I don’t. I can’t imagine working a full day, then coming home and having to take care of the children, the husband, and the housework. I would most likely have to be checked into a mental institution! Or I’d eat fast food every night. There’s just no way I, personally, could juggle all that at once. I give Ashley, and other like her, some MAJOR props. And being a single mom? Forget it! They deserve some kind of a medal or something.
The fact of the matter is, there are all kinds of moms out there. I would never tell a mother that works outside the home that my job is any better or harder than hers. All I would ask is that they do the same in regards to stay at home mothers.”