Monday, July 11, 2011

SAHMs, I need you to be quiet for just a few minutes.

"Stay at home Rock Star."

"I have the greatest salary in the world, because I get paid in hugs and kisses."

"Stay at home moms should make over $100k a year. They work as a daycare, psychologist/counselor, chef, CEO, teacher, accountant and maid. They work 97 hrs./wk. If you are stay at home mom and agree, repost this as your status for 24 hours."

Oh, stay-at-home-moms.  Okay, first off, how long a disclaimer do I need to stop a flame war before it starts?  Let's see:

Stay-at-home-moms, I know you work hard.  I know raising kids and running a household is tough.  I'm also aware that not all of you are self-righteous martyrs about it.  This post is directed towards the women who choose to stay home, and then either spend hours a day complaining on Facebook about how unappreciated they are, and/or who look down on working moms.

Just like with every other subculture in America, there is, apparently, a growing branch of militant SAHMs.  The ones who think that working moms are selfish, that we "abandon" our child to daycare, or even the ones who just make the snide little comments about, "Oh, I could never go back to work.  This is time spent with little (insert top 100 baby name) that I'll never be able to get back.  Maybe when he goes off to kindergarten I'll pick up a part-time job...if I don't homeschool."  (These moms also, almost invariably, end up homeschooling.)

And, you know what?  I'm sick of it.  I don't love my child any less.  I don't work less.  Every weekday morning, my family and I get up early, have breakfast together, get dressed, and go to work and preschool.  My son learns about colors and bugs and how to share nicely and play with other kids.  His Daddy physically kills himself at his farm research job, while Mommy deals with the stress of making sure millions (some days, billions) of taxpayer dollars are allocated correctly.  (Sorry, but I think that's a little more pressure than organizing a bake sale.)  Then, when we leave work and school, we got to the playground, or the pool, or maybe even for icecream or a movie.  (Treats that two salaries help pay for.)  Depending on the day, we may have a church function, or go out with the extended family.  When we get home, we get to the business of working as a "daycare, psychologist/counselor, chef, CEO, teacher, accountant and maid".  When my son goes to bed around 8:30 or 9:00, my husband and I then have maybe an hour or two to hang out just the two of us.

Because, you know, we're just so selfish.

Then, we have the weekends together.  And my son is learning early on the value of family time on the weekend.  Yesterday, the three of us just laid on our tummies on the bed and watched a movie together, bowl of popcorn in front of us.  Then I gave my son a haircut and he sat relatively still, trusting me despite the fact that I'm just some egg donor/stranger who heartlessly drops him off at the orphanage/daycare every weekday (and despite the fact that I really did not know what I was doing).  And it was awesome.

By contrast, there's this toddler kid I know whose mom is a SAHM.  Which again, is fine if that's what you want to do.  But this kid (who is not a little baby, but again, a toddler) has still not psychologically separated from her mom.  So on the infrequent occasions when she has to be away from her mom, she screams, non-stop.

Not "cries".  Screams.  At the top of her lungs.

Now, maybe I'm not a child psychologist, but I feel like maybe, just maybe, my son being outgoing and easy-natured from his time spent adjusting to new people and situations in daycare is more emotionally healthy for him than if I stayed home with him and he could not psychologically function outside of my presence.  Again, we're dealing with extreme examples here, but that's also kind of the point I'm trying to make.  Keeping kids at home is not better 100% of the time just like putting kids in daycare is not better 100% of the time.  It's a case-by-case basis, based on what works best for each family.

So, if I had to write one of those cheesy Facebook status "update and repost" things, here's what mine would say:

"I should make $150K a year because, when I'm through working in an office for 8+ hours, I have to come home and do all the same stuff a stay-at-home-mom does, but in a fraction of the time.  Update and repost if you agree, or if you're just sick of SAHMs acting all mommier-than-thou."


Michelle Craps said...

so good!! thanks for that! i hate how some ppl make you feel bad about being a working mother, but hey it works for our family.& even tho sometimes i wish i could stay at home, i dont think i would have the patience to do it everyday. lol! so far i'm pretty happy. :)

Chloe said...

As a current SAHM, and former working mom, I can assure everyone that working is much harder. You HAVE to go to work, knowing you would much rather be with your child, and then spend about two hours with them, which includes meals and bathtime before they go to sleep. Then comes the housework, followed by maybe an hour of husband and wife alone time. Then back up at 5:30 the next morning to start the vicious process again. I am VERY blessed that I am able to stay home with Laila. Sometimes she does drive me crazy, but being here with her while I can is amazing.

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