Sometimes as mothers, we are quick to judge other moms without giving them a fair chance. For moms that stay home, it might seem like the mothers who have the “opportunity” to go to work on a daily basis have it made. Moms who work may feel envious and slightly bitter by the moms who have the “luxury” of staying home. Like many times in life, the feeling stems from inside oneself, rooted from that “grass is greener” on the other side theory. Our views can become easily skewed when we feel that things did not turn out the way we expected them to be. When our dreams or visions for our lives and ourselves suddenly become a fantasy that seems unattainably beyond reach, we become jaded as a result.
Personally, I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum. Feeling the weight of both sides I can honestly relate to either situation. When you are living it, nothing seems ideal. It’s hard being at home day in and day out, and it’s just as hard going away and missing your children or feeling sad that those precious moments will pass you by. It seems that women sometimes forget that everyone’s situation is different, and many women judge without even realizing it. Staying at home is an easier choice for those who live a lifestyle where money isn’t an issue and don’t necessarily have to work. And to be honest, some women don’t have a strong desire to work. But if that’s how they feel, then so be it. Then there is the harsh reality that staying at home with children eliminates the high cost of childcare. If a mother is to work, there really isn’t much point to working if the majority of that money is just going to be forked out to daycare. As an obvious solution, many women stay home with the child, especially if they have multiple children. So at times this may be a result of reality versus the desire. When this happens, it can often lead to frustration. Particularly from a mother who feels “stuck” in her current position. Nevertheless, their desires of all things strictly domestication are met with immediate judgement by some women who may be jealous. Especially when women are working their butts off to earn a living to see Suzy Homemaker sharing her dessert treats on Pinterest that she whips up in her “spare time” while the kids are sleeping.
For myself, I have always had a strong desire to work. Not that taking care of kids all day long isn’t work, because that is more exhausting than anything seeing as you hardly ever get a break. For a mother that stays home with children, there is something about the way the children behave when you aren’t around. And when you aren’t you are usually worried about them or how they are doing with Dad or whomever is watching them. Being away is difficult because:
A: getting someone else to watch them is challenging to say the least.
B: when you are away from your children you may not feel as comfortable, like all hell will break loose while you’re gone.
And often times it typically goes this way. When your phone rings within 15 minutes of leaving, you can’t enjoy yourself because your time away is not met with the same consideration as theirs. Or when they ask you rudely before walking out the door, “You’re only going to be gone an hour, right?”
In blog comments and different articles I’ve read online, it seems that some stay-at-home moms, or SHM as they refer to themselves feel trapped in their life and their living situations. Staying home with your children is a privilege no matter what way you look at it. It’s not the most glamorous lifestyle and yes, you may feel deprived from the lack of adult conversation. But ultimately you will have the moments to cherish when your child is older and you can look back at all the time you were able to spend with them.
Above all, be grateful that you have those moments. Even if the version of yourself that you’ve transformed into is not one you ever could have imagined yourself to be. But keep in mind, no one told you to stay in pajama pants all day with a scrunchy in your hair. You don’t have to be a Stepford wife that acts like a robot and vacuums the house in high heels, but remember to take a few minutes to put yourself together, this isn’t to impress anyone, it’s to make you feel good about being you.
If you’re a mother who works, as many must due to financial constraints, divorce, etc., be thankful that you are showing your kids a strong work ethic. It takes a lot of work (literally) to ready children, shuttle them to school/daycare, exert yourself all day at the office, and then come home to play Mom to the kids who’ve been eager to see you all day. I’ve seen very resentful comments towards SMH blogs of working mothers who are easily irritated by those moms who “just sit at home all day” and don’t “have to” work. It’s mean and blatantly unfair to judge other moms so callously like that and to be honest, rather ignorant.
Every mother is entitled to their opinion, regardless of what label of mother they are. Not all moms chose to “sit at home” and they shouldn’t be met with disgruntled opinions about their life. I myself was very unhappy not working, although I never took to blogs about it. But it wasn’t because I didn’t want to work, trust me. It’s because my husband and I spent two of our first years of parenthood with me working evenings 3-4 days a week. Trust me when I tell you that it was very difficult. Especially when we were hardly able to spend time together as a family unit as most of my work came on the weekends. It caused a huge rift in my relationship, and of course the kids did whatever they could to make things as challenging as possible on him without my presence. And him adhere to any kind of schedule that I wanted while I was away? I should have just been happy that the house didn’t burn down.
For myself, I find that I currently fit into a rare, but steadily gaining popularity, mold now in my life. I work from home exclusively. I don’t get to leave to go to work. I still have to clean up cereal bowls and listen to my kids scream, shuttle my oldest back and forth to preschool, make sure my family is fed come dinner time. Often I hardly sleep or rest so that I can get work done in the hours that work best for my schedule with kids. Deadlines, expectations, email inboxes that constantly alert me, all of the things that come with work still follow. But do I complain? NO. This is my life, and it is unique and different and in the end it all boils down to one thing: sacrifice. All of us who are mothers need to understand that we are sacrificing. That’s what motherhood, and parenthood for that matter, is all about.
As I’ve always said, no good mother is ever well-rested, well-fed, or well-groomed. I don’t care if your version of an office is an entire house, a tiny office space inside your home, or an office cubicle. We all sacrifice as mothers day in and day out to give our kids a good life. Don’t hate on the moms who can’t see that we are all in this together. Be proud of yourself for all that you do, and remember, there are millions of other women out there just like you who probably feel just like you do. You’re doing a great job. Those who can’t see that all mothers need to vent a little are just kidding themselves. Just vent to your friends off of Facebook.
Even as I write this at 6AM, my kids are surprisingly awake asking me to fetch them this or that. So you see, no matter who you are and what you’re doing, your job as a mother never ends. It’s a lifelong profession you signed up for from the time you read “pregnant” on that tiny fortune teller’s stick you peed on oh so long ago. Be grateful for all that you have, and thankful that you even get to label yourself a mother, regardless of the type. In the end it’s just a descriptive adjective that goes in front of the word that we all share, Mom.
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