Monday, February 25, 2013

I have a full time job, too.

I talk a lot about how much I love being a mom, about how it is a calling for me, about how in love with and in awe of my daughter I am. I know it is not like this for every mother out there. I know there are some moms out there that get annoyed by moms like me. That's okay. I know you can still love your child unconditionally and not be with them 24 hours a day like I am most of the time. Some moms don't have a choice. They can't afford not to go to work. I sympathize with those moms that want to stay home, but simply can't swing it. And I know that there are plenty of moms out there that have a passion or calling that is something other than being a mother. And for those mothers, they are doing a great service to their children by showing them that you are pursuing your dreams and providing for your family.

But let's be real for a second. I don't judge you for going to work, whether you go to work because your career is important to you or whether you can't afford not to. But there are some working moms out there that like to hate on stay-at-home moms like me. Some do it quietly to themselves or to a friend. And some post things like this openly on their blog or their Facebook wall:

Hmmm... And what do you think your daycare provider does while you're working? Do you think they're sitting on their behind relaxing with a refreshment and a good book or leisurely surfing the internet? Do you think they're cleaning their house and doing their own laundry and dishes? Or do you pay them to teach, nurture and watch over your child? How is what I'm doing different than that in the basics?

The tone of this ecard bothers me. Raising kids and running a house keeps you busy, too, hey? Well I'm, technically speaking, raising my kid 8-12 hours a day longer than you. While you are working outside of your home, I'm not sitting around doing nothing because I'm at home. I'm doing the same thing someone else is doing for your child while you're at work. So does that not count as me having a full time job? And running my house? You say you do that all before you go to work in the morning or after your kids go to sleep at night. I have news for do I! The majority of my chores get done while my child is sleeping, not during the day while you're at your full time job.

Yes, I can throw a load of laundry in and fold it while she's playing. But you at least get 30 minutes to an hour to yourself for lunch. When or if Audrey naps, I'm lucky to get a quick shower and something to eat, but I'm usually picking up or setting up an afternoon project at the same time.

We're all moms. And we're all doing the best we can, the best way we know how. We need to give each other a break. I don't think what you do is easy. Do you think what I do is easy? My husband and I make huge sacrifices financially and personally so that I am able to stay at home. It is not easy for us financially at all. You say you can't afford to not work, but really what some of you mean is that you can't afford to not work and maintain the lifestyle you currently have. And that's fine if that lifestyle is important to you. But some of you probably could afford it, it just takes a great deal of sacrifice. Easy? I love my daughter unconditionally and I am grateful for the time I get to spend with her, but spending that much time with anyone, let alone a 2 year, is certainly not easy emotionally.

The moment when a woman becomes a mother is a beautiful catastrophe. We are forever changed. It is wonderful and amazing. But we all, in some way, mourn the loss of the person we were before our child joined us. We can never be exactly that person again. And that can be sad and frustrating, as well as fantastic and overwhelming and joyous. It is easy to take that frustration out on someone who is a mother in a different way than we are. But even though we are all mothers in different ways, and we all mourn the person we were to different degrees, this beautiful catastrophe connects us. And instead of criticizing each other for not doing what we would do, or for doing what we really want to do, but can't, we should support each other. We should remember that being a mother isn't easy for any of us. My struggles simply aren't the same struggles as yours.

*2/26/13 - A few of the sentences in this post have been very slightly edited only to help make my original intent more clear. This post was in response to the tone of the ecard above, implying that working moms are busier because they work outside of the home. I know that not all working moms feel this way. I don't in any way think that working moms or stay-at-home moms have it harder or easier than the other. I was simply saying that I'm not sitting around doing nothing because I'm at home and not in the workplace. The intent of this post was to express that ecards like this are not okay whether they are aimed at stay-at-home moms or aimed at working moms. Being a mom is hard no matter what, and we need to support each other despite our differences, not tear each other down.


April May said...

well said. :)

Anonymous said...

You say all moms should support one another at the very end of the post but here you are right before bashing other mothers for their choices.

I agree, motherhood is wonderful and whether you work outside the home or not, it is a difficult task. However to say one is harder than the other or easier than the other is frankly NOT TRUE. We all have our battles, you don't know what someone else is fighting.

Sonya said...

I think motherhood is a full time job no matter if you choose to work outside the home as well or not.

Motherhood is hard. We should support one another instead of saying I work harder than you because either I stay home or I work full time outside of the home.

Yes I choose to work outside the home and there are many reasons why I choose that. I don't think my way is better than anyone elses.

I don't necessarily love that my kids are in daycare as long as they are but I do like what they are learning and the friends that they have made along the way. I truly value the teachers for what they do and how they are helping to shape my kid's lives along the way.

I think there are pros and cons to each side.

Sara said...

I'm sorry that you felt by reading this that I was "bashing other mothers for their choices," or that I thought one was harder than another. I was actually trying to say just the opposite! I have done both and even though I only working for a short period of time after my daughter was born, I don't think being a working mom is easy at all. It is extremely difficult. I was simply saying that being a stay-at-home mom is not as easy as some people think it is. You are right, it is a difficult task whether you work or not, and I believe I said that in my post. The battles we face are just different.
I certainly don't know "what someone else is fighting." I am actually very sympathetic to that. Just as most people have no idea what I am "fighting" in my day to day life.