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Dear Working Mothers- you are the shiz

Please know SAHM, I am not dissing you. I am a SAHM myself. I think we’ve got one of, THE HARDEST, thankless, jobs on the planet.

But last week kicked my arse. My lilly white, dimpled, jiggly, arse. I don’t know how women leave the house, looking decent, and then proceed to come home and take care of all the chillin’s and house work and such.

Ever since my lovely brood has come into this world, I have not worked outside the home. I am so, so, so grateful for being able to stay home. My husband has been blessed enough in a job to provide for us. We have worked it out financially so that I can stay home. Would he want another income? Heck yeah! But I think sometimes what I’ve given up in income has supported him in so many ways that he wouldn’t know where to begin to count. The fact that I’m always available to take the children, drop them off at activities, care for them when they are sick- let’s him do his work thing without many limitations.

In the early years when the children are young, when you have to wipe bottoms, wipe faces, sticky hands, change your clothes 3 times a day from puke and errant oatmeal, bathe, clothe, entertain them constantly- working outside the home sounds kind of like a relief! A break! You can get dressed in nicer clothes, wear a bra, put on make up, wear jewelry that little chubby hands won’t rip out of your ears. Wear a blouse that a wandering fist from a two year old boy won’t reach into and hold on for comfort.

Ahh- to shake off those little ankle biters for some adult conversation, stimuli and a paycheck! AND maybe a coffee break or lunch you can eat uninterrupted! (of course, I ate at my desk almost every flippin’ day for my boss to holler from his office for some mundane question like, how to send an email, which would have me up and down and eating between hollers.)

So now my children are older. I have long stretches of time when we are at home together, they are doing their thing, I’m doing my thing. Like right now- I hear Adventure Time on the Cartoon Network in the other room. I’m sitting here typing in a different room. So far, no one has said, “mo–ooommmmmmm! can you get me some juice” even the dog hasn’t bothered me. This is kind of weird actually…

In fact, I do get some moments of peace. And when they go to school, I have the freedom of the time from 8:30 until 3 to get my day going in the way I choose. Does this always happen? No. I seem to always have an appointment, errand, chore or duty that will inevitably distract me from staying on course and actually getting a project done, like cleaning out my closet. Allison over at  Motherhood WTF describes this to a T! She nails it when it comes to what we actually get done.

I’m a volunteer queen. I have done PTA since Emma was in Kindergarten. Before that, I was chairperson to her preschool board for several years. Once Owen came along and was old enough for preschool, I stepped down, and that’s when I went right into PTA.

I loved the idea of PTA. I have memories of when my mom would come to school to help with something. Just seeing her in the building made my heart swell with comfort. Knowing mom was near. I felt special. I figured I would do the same for my kids. Giving them that feeling that I was connected to their education, letting their teachers know I supported all they did. Staying abreast of the administration and what goes on inside the building. All good things.

So I started with small committees, help in the classroom, fundraisers. Then boom- I helped chair the Talent Show. Well, the rest is history. I chaired 5 talent shows, served as President for 2 years, continued to chair events, tutoring in the school, and now I’m back to being President at the middle school level AND Vice President at the district level, or council, is what we call it. Look at me, I’m such an over achiever.

I feel the need, get asked, and continue to fulfill. It’s my duty. I’m a sucker, I know. I’m always reluctant. I’m not volunteering to volunteer. I am asked and then feel kinda guilty. Or feel, well, yeah, heck- might as well. Hey- it keeps me out of the mall spending all my time playing at Sephora like a crack head.

The family seems to always grumble when they know something is coming up for me to do, whether it’s a big auction or back to school event. Owen hates when I leave for my weeknight meetings. But I think it’s because they are used to me being around 24/7 .  Going out for an evening meeting a few times a month is a good thing for them to realize that, mommy is a person who can do things out of the house. Is he at a friend’s house playing or on XBOX while I’m gone? Usually. So he’s just being a stinker.

Last week, I left the house in the morning three days in a row to be at the PTA table for the middle school’s registration days. Emma was in charge at home babysitting herself and Owen. They had play dates and friends to entertain them as well. Some of the time they were just home hanging out. I would come home for lunch or a mid day break. I went back to the school. I got home around 2:30. That’s pretty early in the day, right?

But I was SPENT! I had nothing left in me after talking, smiling, gesturing, thinking, being charming, articulate…. you get the idea. It worked muscles and neurons in me that get to snooze most of the day. Being ON is hard work! I recruited parents, answered questions, engaged with staff. My face hurt from smiling.

Then on Saturday, it was our region’s Fall training. A whole day of classes and once again, I was there to help check people in, answer questions, facilitate sessions. I needed to look like a smart, edumacated person. Not just a mom who lounges around in yoga pants, blogging all day with Real Housewives in the back ground.

I made a trip to the grocery store on the way home and was home just before 5:30. I had left that morning at 7:15. I didn’t have nearly  enough to eat or caffeine consumption I would’ve preferred throughout the day. So I came home sleepy and famished. It took forever to restart my buttons. I was exhausted, but restless. I wanted to walk the dog outside, but curl up on the couch.

I was left thinking, is this what it would be like if I worked all day? Would I be a complete pile of useless flesh and bones on the couch every night? Would we be forced to eat mac n cheese and take-out for the rest of our lives?

Nothing got done last week. No laundry, no cleaning, no straightening.

I suppose getting in a routine of this, I would figure out a way.

Hearing from some other blogger mom’s that worked out of the home helped me see the beauty in some of their achievements. Younger kids off to day care, sometimes getting home a little before the husband picks up the kids to get some straightening done, or errands. Nobody home during the day to mess up the house. Having cleaners come in to clean while you aren’t home and the kids are in day care, seems like heaven to me!

Then there’s the group working FROM home and being in charge of little kids.  Dear God,  now THAT seems like a challenge. Holy shit! How would you get ANYTHING done? That’s like brushing your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos. Unproductive.

OR the husband that works from home while you are trying to do all the household stuff and he’s just another mouth to feed and body to clean around. BLERG! Drives me crazy.

I have to say that whatever your schedule is, working out of the home mom, working from the home mom, stay at home mom, I hope that you have found balance. This isn’t a mommy wars piece. I am not arguing the merits of one versus the other. Or trying to ‘out do’ other moms. Like birth stories trying to one-up each other over who had it worse- ‘well, my perineum split in two and had to be stapled together during the birth of my son.’  ‘oh yeah, well, when my milk came in my daughter latched incorrectly and chewed off my nipple and then I got double mastitis’. Yeah- that’s not what I’m going for here.

A frickin MEN!

I love my SAHM existence and really don’t want anything to rock that boat. Those days that I’m off for volunteer duties will just require a lot of pre-planning and organizing.

And seriously, why HAVEN’T the kids bothered me by now? They are too old to shave the dog or play with Sharpies…. oh wait. YouTube. I gotta go- I think someone just googled inverted nipples instead of invertebrates.

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Comments

  1. LOVE this blog today, Frug! Seriously. I’ve been a working mom since my oldest was 3 months old. Get constantly asked how I handle it all, especially with my husband working in DC with an almost 3.5 hour commute round trip. My answer is: It’s NEVER easy, my floors don’t get clean, I’ve got dust on top of dust, I’ve got enough dog hair in my house to make a third dog. But in the end, my kids won’t remember (please GOD don’t let them remember) a messy house, they’ll remember the things we did together when we could make the best of our time together. I work for a paycheck, I work for some sanity outside of the house and because I DO work outside the house, we can afford new soccer cleats, or a gym membership so that they can do extra basketball practices, etc. It’s all in your perspective. And yes, I agree with that picture: ALL Moms are Working Moms!!!

    Thanks!
    Teri
    Snarkfest

  2. I think we all think the “others” have harder jobs than we do. I for one, think being a SAHM would be WAY more difficult than what I do every day by going to work. And I will have to work full time when the babes come, as my husband and I don’t make enough for one of us to stop. Truly though, I LOVE WORKING. I love getting up and out every day. I am sure I will be scratching my way back after my maternity leave for all the reasons you list above. we have choices today, too many sometimes, but I’d rather that than be forced to stay home with kids when I don’t want to. We ALL have a hard job to do by just being a healthy functioning part of society and a woman. Add on a job and kids, and BAM. next to impossible to do it “right”. Luckily there is no right, only what we believe to be our right. Great post Frugie. Really got me thinking. And you with your volunteering and awesomeness, I want you in my circle. FOR DAMN SURE.

  3. I am the shiz. And so are you. Loved the blog!

  4. I love this post. It tells my inner struggle so well. To work, or not to work. I loved working outside the home just because I was able to have that interaction with other adults and “me time” during my commute to work where I could actually listen to the music that I like and not Dora or the monsters screaming in the back seat about how one of them was poking the other or who was looking at who. But I know that I’d miss every little boo boo that needed a kiss or snuggles in the morning before breakfast, or being the first to hear all about their day at school if I wasn’t at home with them all day long. I got suckered back into PTA again today at our back to school night. And I’m by no means as important as you are, you over achiever you. But I understand the toll it takes to have that demand outside the home and also come home and be needed so much also. I’ve been lucky enough to have been on both sides and both sides of the grass are equally green and not praised enough.

  5. “Would he want another income? Heck yeah! But I think sometimes what I’ve given up in income has supported him in so many ways that he wouldn’t know where to begin to count. The fact that I’m always available to take the children, drop them off at activities, care for them when they are sick- let’s him do his work thing without many limitations.” Thank you for articulating exactly what I need to remember and say to people when they question our choice. And I must say that sometimes the people who question it the most are other women/moms. We all work hard. Thanks for a great post.

  6. I’m shitting myself laughing. You just hit a bunch of nails right on their heads. I’ve done both – and I honestly think being a working mom is harder, mainly in terms of logistics. Being home does have it’s challenges, of course. But I have to admit my house is in better order when I’m not working – because, as you mentioned, I was too damn tired to get any of the crap done that needed to get done after getting home at 5:30. I cook more elaborate meals too, now that I stay home. Forget blogging if I was working. Seriously, just forget it. I bow down to working mothers. For realz.

  7. I just fell in love with you. It is all hard and awesome and smelly and overwhelming and rewarding- whichever road we are on. I taught for 18 years and am a new WAHM- there is no “right” choice…just “right for right now!”
    Now, I have to run. PTA letters to write and someone is wailing for “JUUUUUICE!”

  8. I’ve been every kind of mom – a working single mom, a stay at home mom and a work at home mom. Every journey is hard. Every journey we need to support each other in. I’m so thankful for moms. Each one of you should be celebrated!

  9. I think whether you are a SAHM, WAHM mom, or work outside the home mom, we all deserve a medal for what we do. I do think working moms have to deal with a lot though and I love how you addressed just how much!! They rock because most commit 150% to their jobs and then come home and do the same with their kids, often leaving little time (or no time for themselves. Awesome post!!

  10. Rebecca,,, great post! great views! Ah motherhood… can’t live with it and most definitely can not live without it!! SAHM, WAHM, DWICM (do whatever I can mom)– What’s right for me may not be right for you… I think House TalkN has it right… there isn’t a “right” choice, just what’s “right” for the time being. Grace, peace and blessings, Carla

  11. JoulesDellinger says:

    I’m a working mom and have been since my baby was 10 weeks old (or so). He’s only 6 1/2 months old now, but I can honestly say that not only is it hard but it would be totally impossible without the support from my husband and mom (who does daycare 4x week). Yes, you’re exhausted after a full day of work. Yes, it’s hard as crap to then rally and get your house stuff done too. But having my little man’s kisses truly does make it all worth it. Sorry, that wasn’t funny at all — I hope I haven’t disappointed you.

  12. Great read! And I really believe that the mommy wars are promoted by the media, not by us moms!

  13. thetwistingkaleidoscope says:

    I think no matter what our full-time occupations are, they’re going to be draining because that’s just how women are! (Okay, flesh and blood women, not “real housewives,” but you get it.)

    As for “Then there’s the group working FROM home and being in charge of little kids. Dear God, now THAT seems like a challenge. Holy shit! How would you get ANYTHING done? That’s like brushing your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos. Unproductive.” :

    YES YES YES! I have a 6-year-old, and I STILL end up finishing up work late into the night. Also, brushing your teeth with a mouthful of Oreos sounds kind of pleasant. I might try that someday.

  14. Now that I’ve done both, I wholeheartedly agree that there are pros and cons to both. Trade offs either way. But it’s funny that I’ve only been home for 8 months and I can no longer imagine getting myself ready for work and out the door with kids by 8 in the morning. I don’t know how I did it. I also don’t know how you do all that volunteer stuff – sounds exhausting!