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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.

As if it wasn’t hard enough.

They say staying at home raising kids is hard work. Really? I must be doing it wrong because I think it’s the easiest thing in the world! There’s no TPS reports, no budget meetings, no politics or backstabbing. I sit around all day drink Gin and Tonics and watch TV. Oh wait… that was a dream I had. Never mind.

This is where I introduce an acronym for my new (not new, just new to us) phrase of Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (AYFKM?) My family says I’m swearing too much lately, I think it’s some leftover hostility from my 20s I never released, so I’m trying to use curse words less often, even in print.

Parenting is hard work. No shit.

Now the ‘experts’ say that raising children full time at home, makes you less healthy than if you go off and work in some actual paying job, according to the American Psychological Association’s “Journal of Family Psychology” article.

AYFKM? Yeah. DUH.

Thanks. So now I have the guilt of, “oh, I never pursued my career past the  rearing of my children, and devoting all that time to them is going to shorten my life span so now I won’t be able to enjoy my grandchildren.”

Let’s rewind a little shall we?

I’ve always wanted to stay home and raise my children. My mom did this for us kids. She was completely there for me. She packed my lunches, made dinner, did the laundry, sewed our clothes, everything. My dad worked hard at his job Monday through Friday. It was pretty much your traditional 70s/80s upbringing.

After college, I fell in love, got married and had a kid. Well it took 5 years, but still, I didn’t take the option of running away to Hollywood or Broadway to pursue my acting career. Something deep down told me to stay put since love and family was probably going to prevail longer than any waitressing acting jobs that might come.

I have no regrets about this. None.

My job at the time of getting pregnant with Emma was a glorified administrative assistant for a start-up company. What am I saying? It wasn’t glorified. It was hard ass work. I did the job of 3 people and was paid the salary of an admin, but it was good experience and great medical benefits, if I remember. So I stuck it out and counted the days until my maternity leave. (I was put on bed rest at 25 weeks of my pregnancy, but that’s another story altogether). Lucky for me the company went under while I was on maternity leave, so I didn’t have to leave my sweet pink bundle of joy and diapers called Emma, for my stingy, troll of a boss that micromanaged every trip to the bathroom I took. Now I took my boss (Emma) with me to the bathroom!

So staying home with her was a blessing. BUT, GEEZUS it was HARD. I mean, really HARD. No adult interaction, no showers, no make up, no cute clothes, saggy engorged boobie bags that looked like a cow’s, nursing bras that had been leaked through so many times I didn’t care anymore. Feeling like a zombie. Rinse and repeat….

The idea of pulling myself together enough to leave the house to look professional, spend 8 hours away from her and then to come home and have to spend half the night up breast feeding, just didn’t sound like a party.

So I admire those that do this! Being a mom is hard. A mom of a newborn especially. Heading off to work must be painful.

But, and I mean a big BUT, I can see the rewards. To get paid for what you do is a good thing.  Intellectual stimulation from peers and colleagues- good. Going out to lunch- good. Looking like a human with clothes and makeup- good.

I found this excerpt of the article to sum it up: “After interviewing hundreds of mothers repeatedly over the course of a decade, the researchers found that those who worked 32 hours per week or less were more sensitive to their kids’ needs, less likely to have symptoms of depression, and more likely to split household duties with their spouses than mothers who were not employed.” AYFKM?

And therein lies my problem. I’m depressed and don’t share household duties. Okay, I’m not really depressed. I take my meds and do fine. But I know a lot that are, and I’ve been down some dark times myself. And I always feel like I’m doing all the household duties myself. Not very well, but still.

Then the kicker later in the article:

“Additionally, mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms may have more difficulty seeking employment or keeping a job.” AYFKM?

Fantastic. Now I’m just screwed if I did choose to go back to work. Who wants a whiny, not employed in a decade housewife to come work for them? Apparently, no one.

Here’s what it boils down to:

I chose not to work. I never regret staying at home with my children. In fact now it’s the greatest. They go off to school, I pretend to get stuff done around the house, they come home from school and I’m in a good mood since absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I’m not getting paid, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. My children are fine individuals. I’m raising them real good.

I don’t need an article to tell me I’m depressed and overly sensitive- my husband tells me this all the time.

Pretend I never wrote this blog. I could have started with the last three sentences and have been done. But alas, I just wanted other depressed, pill popping, gin and tonic drinking moms to feel empathy with me.

(borrowed from Bluntcard) Look how happy she looks!

Here’s that full crappy article if you want to read for yourself:

Working Moms are Healthier

As if it wasn’t hard enough.

They say staying at home raising kids is hard work. Really? I must be doing it wrong because I think it’s the easiest thing in the world! There’s no TPS reports, no budget meetings, no politics or backstabbing. I sit around all day drink Gin and Tonics and watch TV. Oh wait… that was a dream I had. Never mind.

This is where I introduce an acronym for my new (not new, just new to us) phrase of Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (AYFKM?) My family says I’m swearing too much lately, I think it’s some leftover hostility from my 20s I never released, so I’m trying to use curse words less often, even in print.

Parenting is hard work. No shit.

Now the ‘experts’ say that raising children full time at home, makes you less healthy than if you go off and work in some actual paying job, according to the American Psychological Association’s “Journal of Family Psychology” article.

AYFKM? Yeah. DUH.

Thanks. So now I have the guilt of, “oh, I never pursued my career past the  rearing of my children, and devoting all that time to them is going to shorten my life span so now I won’t be able to enjoy my grandchildren.”

Let’s rewind a little shall we?

I’ve always wanted to stay home and raise my children. My mom did this for us kids. She was completely there for me. She packed my lunches, made dinner, did the laundry, sewed our clothes, everything. My dad worked hard at his job Monday through Friday. It was pretty much your traditional 70s/80s upbringing.

After college, I fell in love, got married and had a kid. Well it took 5 years, but still, I didn’t take the option of running away to Hollywood or Broadway to pursue my acting career. Something deep down told me to stay put since love and family was probably going to prevail longer than any waitressing acting jobs that might come.

I have no regrets about this. None.

My job at the time of getting pregnant with Emma was a glorified administrative assistant for a start-up company. What am I saying? It wasn’t glorified. It was hard ass work. I did the job of 3 people and was paid the salary of an admin, but it was good experience and great medical benefits, if I remember. So I stuck it out and counted the days until my maternity leave. (I was put on bed rest at 25 weeks of my pregnancy, but that’s another story altogether). Lucky for me the company went under while I was on maternity leave, so I didn’t have to leave my sweet pink bundle of joy and diapers called Emma, for my stingy, troll of a boss that micromanaged every trip to the bathroom I took. Now I took my boss (Emma) with me to the bathroom!

So staying home with her was a blessing. BUT, GEEZUS it was HARD. I mean, really HARD. No adult interaction, no showers, no make up, no cute clothes, saggy engorged boobie bags that looked like a cow’s, nursing bras that had been leaked through so many times I didn’t care anymore. Feeling like a zombie. Rinse and repeat….

The idea of pulling myself together enough to leave the house to look professional, spend 8 hours away from her and then to come home and have to spend half the night up breast feeding, just didn’t sound like a party.

So I admire those that do this! Being a mom is hard. A mom of a newborn especially. Heading off to work must be painful.

But, and I mean a big BUT, I can see the rewards. To get paid for what you do is a good thing.  Intellectual stimulation from peers and colleagues- good. Going out to lunch- good. Looking like a human with clothes and makeup- good.

I found this excerpt of the article to sum it up: “After interviewing hundreds of mothers repeatedly over the course of a decade, the researchers found that those who worked 32 hours per week or less were more sensitive to their kids’ needs, less likely to have symptoms of depression, and more likely to split household duties with their spouses than mothers who were not employed.” AYFKM?

And therein lies my problem. I’m depressed and don’t share household duties. Okay, I’m not really depressed. I take my meds and do fine. But I know a lot that are, and I’ve been down some dark times myself. And I always feel like I’m doing all the household duties myself. Not very well, but still.

Then the kicker later in the article:

“Additionally, mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms may have more difficulty seeking employment or keeping a job.” AYFKM?

Fantastic. Now I’m just screwed if I did choose to go back to work. Who wants a whiny, not employed in a decade housewife to come work for them? Apparently, no one.

Here’s what it boils down to:

I chose not to work. I never regret staying at home with my children. In fact now it’s the greatest. They go off to school, I pretend to get stuff done around the house, they come home from school and I’m in a good mood since absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I’m not getting paid, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. My children are fine individuals. I’m raising them real good.

I don’t need an article to tell me I’m depressed and overly sensitive- my husband tells me this all the time.

Pretend I never wrote this blog. I could have started with the last three sentences and have been done. But alas, I just wanted other depressed, pill popping, gin and tonic drinking moms to feel empathy with me.

(borrowed from Bluntcard) Look how happy she looks!

Here’s that full crappy article if you want to read for yourself:

Working Moms are Healthier