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January 21, 2009

Speak On It! (Seriously...I want you to!)

Ok my Mommy-readers (and Daddy-readers)- I would like you to chime in on this subject...

I'm a Mommy...have been for over 2 years now. My husband and I decided when we got pregnant with Little Miss that I would be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). I'll admit, at first I thought, "How hard can it be? I'll be able to take care of Little Miss, cook all our meals and keep the house clean...and I'll have the whole day to get everything accomplished!" Hahaha, must've been all those prenatal vitamins that had me thinking like a complete wackjob.

Recently I've heard this statement more than I'd like to:

"You're a SAHM...so we can do *lunch/dinner/coffee/etc* whenever because you don't have a schedule, right?!"

Actually, I do have a schedule. My boss (the 2 year old) runs a pretty tight ship- she likes to eat about 10 minutes after she wakes up in the morning and she expects a hot meal. About 3-4 hours later she expects another hot meal...and right after that, she expects me to snuggle with her before she falls asleep for 1-3 hours. In that 1-3 hour window, techniqually I'm on break...but you know, child welfare tends to frown on leaving your sleeping 2 year old alone in your home. So sure, we can get together then- but you'll have to come to me. If that doesn't work for you, after I put her to bed (between 7 and 9pm) I techniqually go on break again until the following morning...unless of course, she wakes up and needs me to help her get back to sleep, needs her diaper changed, or needs more water in her sippy. And again- you'll have to come to me.

"But...I mean, can't your husband just watch her? Or your Mom? (If I'm in NC)"

Sure...but my husband works from home- and he tends to be a bit of a workaholic, God Bless him. My Mom? Of course she would love to watch her granddaughter any and all times I needed her to- but on top of working 40+hours a week, she also takes care of my 95 year old, great-aunt. I tell her constantly that she is doing too much- so why would I say that and then add one more thing onto her already-overflowing plate?

Friendships are supposed to be give and take relationships. Your real friends are supposed to be understanding of your obligations. I hate to think like this- but I think some of my friends would be much more understanding of my busy schedule if I had an out-of-the-house job. I mean, I certainly don't say "Well, you should just take off work tomorrow because tomorrow is the only day I have a babysitter..." So why would they expect the same treatment? It's a hurtful realization, really.

One of my favorite people told me a few days ago:

"I didn't know that to be a good friend you had to constantly be doing things for one another- I thought you just loved each other and spent time together when life allowed for it. You don't have to talk every day or see each other all the time to be close friends."

Maybe she is more understanding because she is a Mommy, too. Or maybe it's just because she's a real friend, someone who is there no matter what...no matter how few times I call her, how many times I'm a day late wishing her 'Happy Birthday' or how few times a year we actually get to physically visit with each other. (Love you, Cassie.)


So Mamas and Papas...have you ever encountered these issues? What are your thoughts?

13 comments:

  1. Obviously, I am not a Mom, (am I still allowed to comment??) but I believe that your daugther deserves your undivided attention. Anything aside from that wouldn't be fair to her, or to any other technical 'boss'.

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  2. YOU ALWAYS HEAR PEOPLE MAKING COMMENTS ABOUT SAHM’S. WELL, NEWSFLASH, UNTIL BEING A SAHM IS YOUR JOB, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HARD IT IS!!!! IT IS A NEVER ENDING JOB. A “NORMAL” 40 HOUR PER WEEK JOB WOULD BE MUCH EASIER IN MY OPINION.

    IF YOUR FRIENDS ARE “REAL” FRIENDS THEY SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN NOT SIMPLY GO AND COME AS YOU PLEASE. YOU HAVE A SCHEDULE JUST LIKE WITH ANY OTHER JOB. MOST OF MY FRIENDS ARE PARENTS, SO THEY UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY, BUT MY 1 FRIEND WHO ISN’T (HI CORY) ALWAYS MAKES SURE THAT OUR PLANS ACCOMMODATE MY 2 LITTLE BOSSES (HI BRENN & TRIS)!

    I ONLY GET TO STAY AT HOME DURING THE WINTER, I RUN MY FAMILY’S RENTAL SHOP IN THE SUMMER. I WILL BE THE 1ST TO ADMIT THAT WORKING FULL TIME OUT OF THE HOUSE IS MUCH EASIER!!! I ALMOST FEEL LIKE WHEN I GO TO WORK IT’S A BREAK, LOL! YOU DESCRIBED THE TYPICAL SAHM SCHEDULE PERFECTLY, IT IS LITERALLY NEVER ENDING. THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE IN MY HOUSE THAT NEEDS TO BE FED, CLEANED, BURPED, PLAYED WITH, ETC….I’M USUALLY LUCKY IF I AM DRESSED & SHOWERED BY THE TIME MY HUBBY GETS HOME FROM WORK ;)

    GOOD LUCK GIRL….HOPEFULLY ONE DAY PEOPLE WILL UNDERSTAND JUST HOW HARD BEING A SAHM REALLY IS! IT’S NOT ABOUT STAYING HOME AND HAVING COFFEE OUT EVERY MORNING, GETTING YOUR HAIR & NAILS DONE, AND SHOPPING. IT’S ABOUT TAKING CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN & WATCHING THEM GROW =) OK….ONE OF MY 2 BOSSES IS CRYING AND NEEDS ME ;)

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  3. Thank you! I've heard a lot of that myself and it's getting just a little ridiculous. I jokingly tell people "What do you think I do all day? Sit around in a bubble bath drinking martinis and eating Bon Bons?" lol! I've just been telling myself that they couldn't possibly understand... until one person decided to say "but why are you living your life around your daughter? She should adapt to your life, not the other way around... otherwise, aren't you kind of spoiling her?" which of course, brought out my "attitude gun" which I just started firing away with! I don't believe that working around her food and sleep schedule(BASIC LIFE NECESSITIES) is anything that i could ever change. It's not like I'm spoiling her by letting her eat and sleep when she needs it. She's not even 10 months for crying out loud! Also, I thrive off her schedule just as much as she does. I know at what point(s) in the day I can get things done and the best way to go about doing them. Anyway, I could go on for awhile, but I'm with ya girl. I'd love to see my friends and family more often, but it's not an easy task and it does help me out tremendously when they come to me... but even then, you can assume that you will not have my undivided attention because at this particular juncture, Mady is quite certain that it (and by "it" I mean the world) is "all about her." lol

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  4. Well i'm not a stay at home mom however I do go to work and take care of kids all day and then come home and take care of my own while still being responsible for everything else such as dinner, play time, bath time and bed time and also school on top of that! I do have the occusional person wonder why I can't just pick up and go out!!! My child has been with me so much since birth that it is hard to even get him to stay with his grandparents let alone a babysitter. On my days off when I usually clean house a little bit, I keep my son home with me and it is truly a challange to get all the "chores" done because I still have to give him my attention as well because it is his day home with mommy! It aggravates me to see all of these "mom's" who are seen out on all nights of the week. Parenting is a full-time job and some people just don't get it! I wouldn't have it any other way!

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  5. Well let me just say (and this may come off rude) that those people who don't "understand" will probably be those same people who pawn their children off on everyone else. :) haha...

    Needless to say, raising your children (whether it be one or 12), is the most important thing you can do with your life. As hard as it may be, it takes a strong woman! Its one thing to get up in the morning, take your coffee with you and head to the office. Its another to wake up in the morning to your demanding duties of a child and never even have TIME for coffee!!

    Keep up the good work, SAHM!!

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  6. **Stepping on soapbox**

    I absolutely agree that your real friends are the ones who understand your obligations with your children. I have said NO to so many things because I'm a mom and my priorities are different. Kids come first. And second.

    Having said that though, there are SO many people who claim it's "easier" to work outside the home, and I think that is CRAZY. I went back to work at a full-time job when Dylan was 6 weeks old, because I didn't have a choice (LA rent is NOT cheap), and worked that same full-time job for 7 years. It was not easier. You still have to do ALL the same things when you get home, baths, dinner, cleaning, etc....but you have less time to do it, and you are already tired from working. I was up at 6, to work by 9, and not home till about 7. Then I had a child to take care of. And I won't even talk about the guilt you feel for NOT being able to stay home. Tell me again how that is easier?? I have seen both sides, and can say that those who have the choice to stay at home should count their blessings. I now have this choice, and love it, and DO count my blessings. Parenting is not easy either way, but being a stay at home mom is NOT the hardest job in the world.

    **Stepping off soapbox to take newborn to first Dr. apt.**

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  7. Okay, okay, you know I'm not a mom, but I have enough little cousins to know how the drill works. One aunt and uncle have four kids, and after almost every one of them was born, I spent about a week at their house when my uncle went back to work and my aunt was home with the kids. Even with me there and helping here all hours of the day and night, she took full advantage of the kids' nap times and took her own nap because she was so worn out. I can't say whether or not I'd want to stay home with kids (it's for sure way harder than my job!), but I know that moms who do are really fortunate. They get to see their kids grow and learn and explore all parts of life while partaking in that fun with them. I think it's great that your husband is able to allow you to do that and from reading your blog, it sounds like you do a ton of awesome stuff with the little one. It's sad when friends don't understand the demands of your life, but you're right in the idea that your true friends will always have you in their thoughts, even if they don't get to spend time with you. Keep up the awesome work, lady :)

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  8. It's a big balancing act. Friendships, family and fun all have to be worked on and with. Being a SAHM is hard work! It is unlike any other job on the planet. I think you do a great job of balancing!!

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  9. hey girl! i just caught up in your life! i read like the past 5 post you made...it's been a while since i've read it but this one was my favorite!!!

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  10. I am not a stay at home mom, but I do completely understand where you are coming from. I have gotten similar responses from people, such as oh we should catch up...lets go do lunch...lets go shopping and then when I suggest them coming to my house to visit or doing something near my home, it's too much of an inconvenience for them. Until you have a child, you will never understand how difficult it is just to go and run a few errands or even to put in a load of laundry. I love being a mom and I wouldn't change any part of my life. I LOVE spending time with my daughter.

    During my pregnancy I started to notice that people that I considered my friends stopped calling me or visiting me or wanting to catch up with me. At first this really started to bother me, but in the end I came to realize who my true friends really are and those are the people that you may hardly ever see or every once in a while get to talk to, but you know that they are always there for you when you need them.

    I really think though that these people are never going to fully understand until they themselves become a parent. The moment that you become a mom or a dad you stop thinking of yourself and you start thinking about your child and that is how it should be. I will step off of my soap box now.

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  11. Good Job! I see this post created much interest-everyone has a story including me. I was a SAHM 25 years ago, my beautiful baby girl was named Eden. I suffered many comments from people that didn't have a clue, they always expected me to run errands, volunteer for everything,be ready at the drop of a hat to meet them when their busy work schedule allowed a lunch or shopping d break.I could do all these things and feel fortunate to be asked because I didn't WORK !! Define the word work for me. Then the workers tried to make me feel guilty because I spent time with my child instead of having her in daycare . I came to dread the conversation " What do you do?" I always quickly added that I did bookkeeping for a Salon from my home while I stayed home with our daughter. Then came a pre-school for 3 mornings a week and of course kindergarten. So many Mom's said unkind things about me staying home with my child for those years, to them I say " Oh well you get the idea " The thing that made a difference to me was what was in my heart, nothing could replace that time we had. I knew that she didn't care if we had another bedroom or newer car but she will never forget the walks in the woods and the barbie doll playing. I wouldn't trade it and yes I feel blessed that my husband was willing to go that extra mile so we could parent this way. It is much debated but in the end it is an individual decision. The family finances have much to do with how it works out today as well as when I made the decision to be a SAHM. We made my being with Eden a priority, everything else was second. And now I provide care for Mom's that work or go to school and I understand their position - it is still the debate I Love You Mama

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  12. I totally agree with you. As a SAHM of two young children, one with Autism, I constantly have this argument with people. And I've done both sides: working a full week while leaving one at home, then stay at at home full time, and having another one. My life is harder than it ever has been, and I've worked three jobs and balanced a social life before. People assume it's all rainbows and butterflies, which drives me insane. You know all those things that your kids are learning at daycare? We're responsible for teaching them those things now, so that they'll be ready for school just like the rest. Oh, and we're also supposed to keep our house clean all the time, since we're always there, and run errnads, which is so much fun when it's raining, your kids fell asleep in the car, and you have to wake them up and drag them in screaming while other people stare at you like you're a monster. And God forbid we don't go out as much as we used to, we must not love our friends enough to get a sitter. Who, by the way, WE'RE TRUSTING OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES TO, so let's just call in anyone at all shall we?

    You know what? People work 40 hours a week and say I'm so lucky. Yes, I can, and often do, wear my PJ's all day long. I think it's a small luxury considering I'm working or on call, since neither of my children sleep through the night yet, a grand total of 168 hours a week. I feel accomplished if I brush my teeth twice a day. My life has never been more worthwhile.

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  13. Eden,
    No matter what you do in life there is always someone on the other side of the fence pointing a finger in disagreement or misunderstanding.

    I have seen both sides of the fence - SAHM and working mom - and I have to say that both have their challenges and rewards and neither is easier than the other.

    One thing that I have learned in my life is when you are a friend, it is really important to understand what that word truly means. Do your best to put yourself in their shoes before making comments that will hurt them, making you put your foot in your mouth instead. If you do not understand their lives, ask them and maybe you will have a new understanding of life. This is when you will grow, as a person and as a friend.

    Some people get it, some people don't, but situations like this have enabled me to weed through the unappreciative friends and pick out the true ones :)

    ~e

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