It was your typical dinner conversation. How was your day? How were the kids, blah blah blah. It turned sour fast though. My husband had a rough day and said something to the effect that it sure sounds nice to just lounge at home all day with the kids.
Wait, what? Lounge at home with a three-year-old and a one-year-old? Did I just miss something?
“I’m sorry, do you think that’s what I do all day?” My voice was rising and I could feel myself going into full postal mode any second now.
“You only have to watch two kids,” my husband retorted. “I have to babysit a whole office.”
My husband is a small business owner. I know he works extremely hard and spends more of his day putting out fires and keeping the office lights on than what he’s actually passionate about. I don’t begin to imagine his job is by any means easy. And in fact, his description of having to babysit his employees is probably pretty accurate. It’s how he described my “job” at home that had me fuming.
Stay at home moms don’t just lounge all day and watch the kids.
Did you know that? Did you know there’s a little more involved than that? If this is breaking news, let me piece together my day for you. Here’s yesterday in a nutshell:
5:30 a.m. – Wake up early to get in my morning run (I have to fit in “me time” before the kids get up)
6:30 a.m. – Kids are still sleeping? OMG. Quick, take a shower! What a treat for mom, this is definitely going to be a good day!
6:50 a.m. – Kids are up. Screaming, throwing things, and bickering begins.
7:30 a.m. – In between feeding the kids and picking up the food they threw on the floor, I begin what will be four (4) loads of laundry for the day.
8 a.m. – One year old needs a nap. Put down one kid and tell three-year-old he can now play with the toy they were fighting over earlier. Mama uses this break to eat breakfast.
9 a.m. – Laundry
10 a.m. – One year old has a big blow out. Poop everywhere. Impromptu bath and new clothes time. 3 year old is upset he doesn’t get bath time. FINE! YOU CAN BOTH TAKE A BATH. Water goes everywhere and everyone is crying after five minutes. Bath time’s over. Kids want to go on a walk. They refuse to share a stroller though. I take them on a walk using two, yes two, strollers. Fun times.
11 a.m. – Laundry
12 p.m. – Lunch! More screaming, more food throwing. Dog picks up the food so fast off the floor, I have no idea how much either kid ate. I stuff the food I pick up off the floor into my mouth. Momma’s gotta eat too!
1 p.m. – Nap time. One year old goes straight to bed. Three-year-old comes out of his room after five minutes. TV magically turns on. I try to use this time to check email, pay bills, plan for the weekend, buy birthday presents for upcoming parties, make a shopping list for the grocery store, clean up all the toys and food laying around the floor, and if there’s still time… use the toilet.
2 p.m. – Well, look at that… laundry time!
3 p.m. – One year old is up. Go figure, everyone’s hungry again. Let the food throwing commence.
3:30 p.m. – Grandma’s here! Thank God, because I just realized we are completely out of toilet paper. I use this break to run to the grocery store and get TP and everything else on my grocery list. Also, a pair of tweezers because mine always disappears. Where does all my stuff go, anyway?
4:30 p.m. – Time to start planning dinner. I also do a final cleaning session so when hubs comes home the house is still recognizable.
6 p.m. – Hubs is home! Here, take the kids!!! WHAT? YOU NEED A FEW MINUTES FIRST? AYFKM? Ok, go change and come right back. Time for dinner… where is everyone? Fuck it *opens wine bottle*
How does that day of lounging sound? Are you as exhausted as I am? Not only am I keeping the kids alive, I’m also managing a household, working as chief event planner, and cleaning… always cleaning. Being a stay at home mom is serious business.
Look, I’m not trying to say my job is harder than my husband’s, my old office job, or your job. I’m actually not trying to compare jobs at all. I just think stay at home moms get a bad rap. We get teased about our yoga pants, ponytails, and wine obsession. But the fact is we take this job as serious as a heart attack. Raising kids is important work! It’s also hard as hell.
Next time you see a SAHM mom, bleary eyed, making her way through the grocery store, or mindlessly pushing her kid on a swing at the playground… crack a smile. Give her a knowing head nod. You know she’s tired and she’s working her booty off. Show her you get it, you understand it’s tough.
The fact is, it’s the best job in the world because it’s rewarding, not because it’s easy.