Thursday, June 9, 2011

SAHMs vs Working Moms

I usually try to avoid debate, really, I don't want to stir up more drama than I already have in my life... but I'm having such a hard time keeping my mouth shut on this one.  YES, I know staying home with your kids is tough - I get it, my husband stays home with our kids, it's what works best for our family.  To those of you who are able to stay home, I admire you. I honestly don't think I have the patience to do it, I need to be busy and being in the house all day (thinking cold, cold winter days) would make me want to crawl the walls. Really, I'd go crazy. I love my kids to death, but I just think I'd stress too much and get too frustrated when things aren't getting done. 

What really bugs me is how innundated I feel with some SAHMs acting like working moms don't have it hard at all, that only SAHMs know what it's like to have a full time job that doesn't stop.  Maybe those SAHMs don't have husbands that help out at all, or take them for granted. Maybe.  I hear so many SAHMs say how bad they need a break, how their husbands come home and they want some down time and a small break and these SAHMs get annoyed because they (the hubands) too want a break.  Okay, I get it. Honestly, I do. When I was on maternity leave, I was essentially a SAHM for 3 months. I looked forward to my husband getting home and me having some time to relax, but I knew he also needed some time too.

When we had first made the decision that Derek would be quitting his job to stay at home with the kids, I was so worried that he would feel underappreciated because of all these complaints I've heard. I would come home and try to give him a break, try to keep the kids busy, try to help get things done around the house. We take turns with dinner - it just depends on our schedule, whether he has work that evening at his part-time job or if it's gymnastics night or if it's just a family night with no rushed schedule. If it's a rushed evening, he generally has dinner done or nearly done by the time I walk in the door. If it's not a rushed night, we plan for something that I will cook once I get home, and I have to admit that he's awesome and depending on what I'm making, he may already have a lot of prep work done for it.

But you know what - I got burnt out too. I was so worried that he wouldn't feel appreciated and I didn't want him to feel like housework was only his job, that I felt guilty if I tried to take a break at all.. Here's the main problem I have with all this SAHM/Working Mom mumbo-jumbo... for those of you SAHMs who love to say how their job never ends, how they don't get breaks, etc... do you really think that working moms do? Honestly?!?  Because I get up at 5am every morning while my husband and kids are still in bed... drive my 30-45 minute commute to work (as long as there's no traffic), work my 8 hours where I'm under deadlines to get my projects done, clean up messes, get equipment fixed, etc etc, drive my 40 minutes home (again, as long as there's no traffic) and then I walk in the door to two children who are so excited that I'm home that I don't usually have a minute to breathe. After the kids are asleep, it's time for me to get my schoolwork done (This one was my choice) so really, I rarely get to sleep before 11pm. I'm running on 6 hours sleep most night, maybe less, while my husband easily sleeps until 8am most mornings because our kids like to sleep. I know this isn't the case for all people, and my husband also has a part-time job so he's really run thin too.  So, for those of you SAHMs who thinks that us working moms/parents have it "easy" - I say bullshit! That's right! Yes, you have a demanding job staying home, keeping up with the house, keeping the kids entertained and making sure they are also learning along the way... but so do I! I do those things PLUS work a full-time job, so please, stop telling me how it's not hard to be a working mom. Maybe I don't do as much laundry as you do (okay, admittedly I rarely ever do laundry, even before kids... my husband is awesome) and maybe I don't have as much time with my kids (which stinks) but I still have the demands that you do.  Work is no break, believe me. 

I also wanted to say that not all SAHMs seem to have this mentality, so I don't want to offend those of you who haven't said these things. I can actually think of a few of my friends who are SAHMs who go way above and beyond and I have NO idea how you guys manage to get everything done in a day with crafting, activities, cooking etc... especially those of you who have husbands that travel a lot for work and/or are in the military and are deployed, etc. The funny thing is, I can think of a few SAHMs that are in this situation and they AREN'T the ones who complain about having a break, having a hard job, etc.

In essence, the point I'm trying to make is that we all make the decision (based on our needs and what is possible) whether to stay at home or go to work... this isn't an easy decision to make, so stop knocking others who made a decision different than what you have!

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