Have you ever gotten that one question…the question about being a stay at home mom that aggravates the heck out of you? For me, that question is “What do you do with all your free time?” Umm excuse me? What the heck is free time? Apparently because I am a stay at home mom people assume that I just hang out at home with my feet up, eating chocolate and watching TV while my kids are at school. As much as I would love for that to be the case, it’s just not what happens. Things still need to get done, I try to squeeze in every single errand during school hours so that I don’t have to get two kids out of their car seats, into the store and then back in the car seats. I try to clean the house while the kids are at school so that they aren’t right behind me dropping crumbs everywhere (I get maybe an hour to enjoy it clean before the crumbs invade). I get my grocery shopping done in a quarter of the time (and spending less money) because I don’t have two kids in tow asking for fruit snacks, Minion apple juice and chocolate pudding. I take a shower while the kids are in school so I don’t have to listen to them arguing over toys and me yelling at them to share from the open bathroom door. On really good days, I even get dinner in the crock pot so that I have dinner already in the works for us. I do not (let me repeat), I do not have free time.
Granted, it is really nice to have both kids in school five days a week (although Wednesdays are half days) because it makes my errands and tasks a little quicker to complete. However, I see the judgement in people’s faces as I drop my kids off in sweats. I see the judgement when they are dropping their kids off and heading to work. I am sure they think that because I am wearing sweats and likely heading back home to shower that I do sitting around watching TV all day. The judgement needs to stop though. You have no idea how many times my two year old has woke up during the night which has caused me and my husband to lose sleep. You don’t know if I woke up early to get a shower (or even a workout) in before the kids wake, only to have them yelling for me a couple of minutes after my feet hit the floor. You don’t know if I stayed up late to hang out with my husband, who had to work really late, so that we could talk about our days or just watch a show together. You also may not know that many nights I lay awake, unable to fall asleep due to my anxiety. That some nights I don’t close my eyes until almost 3 am, only to turn around and get up with the kids at 6:30 or 7 am. Even with all that, I take care of the household, the kids, dinners most nights (my husband handles the grilling) and still fit in time for my marriage. While being a stay at home mom is a lot, it’s a decision that my husband and I came to together. Often times we are looked at as less educated, unknowing of real life expriences and lazy. I am here to tell you that if you think that, you need to get your facts straight! I have been a stay at home mom since our second daughter was born and I am by no means any of those things! Don’t believe me…here are some facts about me, a stay at home mom.
I am educated. I have my paralegal degree and still continue to take online courses. I enjoy school and would have gone to law school had I not decided to focus on having a family instead. I joined the military before I even got out of high school. When I swore in I was still a senior in high school. I was also an assistant manager of a shop inside the mall as a high school student. I entered into the military out of high school, went through my training and within six months of completing my training I was sent on a fifteen month deployment. I came back from my deployment and spent the next five years serving my country from home. I went through counseling to help deal with my post traumatic stress disorder. I learned coping skills I needed to live life as normal as possible and as luck would have it, in 2010 I reunited with a friend from my junior high days. After only eight months of dating we were married and after almost six years we have had two kids, a move overseas and my husband being promoted twice. When our first daughter was born I continued to work as a paralegal. The money was great, I enjoyed the work and our daughter was at the Child Development Center (CDC) on base which was one minute from my office. I would go and have lunches with her or just check in to tell her I love her. Then we became pregnant with our second daughter and I started having complications very early on. Within a month of finding out I was pregnant I was put on modified bed rest (meaning I could walk around but no work, lifting, etc.) and stayed on it until she was born. After that, it was time to make a decision. We had continued paying childcare for our oldest daughter since I was on bed rest; however, now we had two kids and the childcare costs were going to be INSANE. We broke it down and realized that after paying for the childcare and gas to get back and forth to work, I would make a whopping $100 a month. I’m sorry but the time away from my kids was not worth that little of money. That my friends is when we decided it was time for me to be a stay at home mom.
It by no means was an easy decision and I struggled with it because I loved my job and I had never been a person that didn’t work. Come to find out, being a stay at home mom is one of the TOUGHEST (yet most rewarding) job I have ever done. I was able to see our youngest daughters first for everything. I didn’t miss any of it! Now, as time goes on, I have found ways to earn an income while still at home with my kids. I am the one that drops them off at school each morning, picks them up each afternoon and while they are sleeping or off at school I get my work done. I actually know MANY moms who work from home and are doing pretty darn good for them and their family. Oh, and by the way, they drop their kids off in sweats or yoga pants with their hair in a ponytail too!
Now, I can’t speak for every stay at home mom obviously. I can speak for the ones that I personally know and those ladies (some dads too) ROCK! While I admire and give major props to the working moms, I think they often judge us stay at home moms too harshly. The ladies I know (myself included of course) don’t judge you for working outside the home so why should you judge us for staying home with ours? I was just talking to a friend at lunch today about how I was able to find better balance for my home, work, self and family when I was a working mom. Things were scheduled into my working day. Now, as a stay at home mom, there are days that pass where I realize that I didn’t eat until dinner time…I miss workouts…where everything for the kids, husband and home come before my personal self. So when you see me dropping my kids off at school and I am in my yoga pants or workout clothes, don’t judge me…just say hello and smile. While I can’t (and won’t) compare working mothers to stay at home mothers…I will say that they both have their benefits and challenges. You have to know that you are doing what you believe is best for YOUR family just like the other person is doing what is best for HER family.
Stop judging each other and start showing compassion, support and encouragement. We could use a little more of that in this world!
What are some judgements or comments you have faced about being a stay at home mom? Please share, I would love to hear about them.