I have to admit, I’d always thought being a stay-at-home mom was a bit of a luxury… sleeping late, hanging around with your favorite little people, lots of stories, Disney movies, not to mention the joys of witnessing all those important firsts and then… I… had… a… baby.
I can’t help sharing the reality that hit me after the buzz of leaving my corporate job wore off – that being a SAHM is the hardest role on the planet. Really, if someone posted a job description for being a mom, they wouldn’t get a single resume (even in this economy!): Ridiculously long hours, undefined responsibilities including handling unpleasant bodily fluids and lots of screaming, and the pay is, well, you know. Plus, there’s no training, no benefits and certainly no two weeks of vacation.
I don’t even want to call being a stay at home mom a “job” because it goes way beyond that description. A job implies you go home at the end of the day, but as a mom, your responsibilities come too. Rather than 40 hours a week, being a full-time mom requires the full 168 hours. Plus, a teething infant, sleepy toddler or hungry preschooler is more demanding than the toughest boss, and usually louder! You can’t call in sick (no matter how late you were up worshipping the porcelain throne) and quitting isn’t an option.
While we’re on the subject of titles, the person who coined the term “stay at home mom” obviously wasn’t one. Because, honestly, what mom is actually staying home? Between running errands and chauffeuring the kids, a mom could easily think of her house as merely a reloading station in her family’s orbit.
So if you are a full-time mom, kudos to you! I wish the government had a stimulus plan to send you a babysitter, a housekeeper and maybe even a personal assistant – you deserve it! If, for some reason, you stumbled upon my blog and don’t have someone calling you “mom” (or “dad”!), find a full-time mom and make her dinner, clean her house or send her on vacation, or simply offer to take the kids for a few hours so she can make dinner, clean her house or book the family vacation. Better yet, just give her some credit. Stay-at-home, home-based, full-time… whatever you call it, being a mom is tough.