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Stop…Call off the Mob!
Yes, I realize that is a CRAZY thing to say, but I knew it would get your attention! And it worked didn’t it? Now before you get too angry with me and go on the defensive please hear me out.
Some of My Best Friends are Stay-At-Home-Moms
My own mother was a stay-at-home-mom and I couldn’t be more thankful for having that amazing experience growing up. I saw just how hard she worked to run our household like a well-oiled machine. And I saw how challenging it was for her. Yet she did it with skill and grace and made it look easy.
So, no… of course being a stay-at-home-mom isn’t actually EASY. Being a parent is hard work. And being at home with the little ragamuffins and away from regular adult interaction all day is even more difficult.
Then pile on taking care of everything that goes into running a household. Including cleaning, groceries, schedules, entertaining, and on and on. All that “mental load” stuff is exhausting.
So please know that I am the first to agree that being a stay-at-home-mom is worth AT LEAST the $143,102 per year that Salary.com estimates.
But Wait There’s More
Then what if you had to do ALL of that (household management) PLUS work 40 hours per week, commute, AND pay someone else to raise your children? Who in their right mind would do that?
But that is exactly what many working moms are expected to do. All while carrying the ever present mom guilt and constantly hearing how being a stay-at-home-mom is the hardest job there is. But no kudos for the working mom.
So I’m standing up in an effort to rock the boat and tell you why stay-at-home-moms have it easy. Or at least maybe ‘easy-er’.
More than anything it boils down to one thing and that is TIME.
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Where Does the Time Go?
1 | Time to Manage Your Household
SAHM’s have 24/7 X 365 to manage their household while working moms are expected to get the same tasks done in half the time. Which really translates to maybe 4 hours per day plus weekends.
That includes cooking, dishes, bedtime routines, shopping, cleaning, errands, entertaining, paying bills, planning travel, holidays, birthdays, organizing, school, homework, sports, PTA, and everything else that we are expected to do perfectly for our families.
How can you get all of that done in 4 hours each day plus weekends? I don’t know about you, but when I get home from work I am exhausted. And barely have time to cook dinner, do the dishes, eat, and do the kid’s bedtime routines before crashing into bed around 10 PM. Then I’m up again at 5 AM to get ready for work and get everything together for the kids each day.
When do we have time to do everything else? On the weekends when everything is closed and we’re supposed to be relaxing and being present to enjoy life with our families? Yup. Yet we somehow make it work because we have to.
2 | Time with Kids
Yes, I do realize that, as much as we love our children, there is such a thing as too much togetherness. And our kids know better than anyone how to try our patience.
However, imagine paying someone else the equivalent of your mortgage payment to raise your children for you 10 hours each day (8 hour work day including 1-hour lunch and 1 hour commute time). So the only time you have with your children is before and after work and on weekends. All while you are trying to accomplish the aforementioned household tasks.
That leaves no real quality time for family. That is not healthy for you or for your children. But it’s very much a reality for working moms.
The only time they have with their kids is after work when they are nagging about homework while cooking, doing the dishes, and running the bedtime bath water. But at least there’s usually time to relax for a bedtime story…
3 | Time for Self Care
One thing that many SAHM’s have that working moms have a hard time finding is time for self-care. Now you may be reading this and saying “Ha…self care…I don’t even remember what that is!”
But if you have ANY time during your day to work out, to get your hair done, a mani-pedi, to journal, do yoga, meditate, or even enjoy a girl’s day of shopping and lunching (even with your kids in tow) then you have more time for self care than most working moms.
In fact, many working moms have to schedule their sick or vacation time just to go to the doctor or the dentist. And forget about using those days for staying home when you’re actually sick. Most working moms have to save their sick days for when their kids are sick. So even though SAHM’s don’t get sick days off either, they can at least chill on the couch between tasks and take things fairly easy for a day or two.
So Is Being a Stay-At-Home-Mom Really the Hardest Job?
So while I do agree that being a stay-at-home-mom is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. I think that being a working mom can often be harder. And that is why I say that stay-at-home-moms have it easy. Or at least easier.
[** And I totally realize that everyone’s situation and temperament are different. There are some happy, successful working moms with supportive partners who have super flexible schedules and can work from home when they want, etc. And I know there are some disheartened stay-at-home-moms who have unappreciative partners and feel their soul slowly sucked out of them every day in an invisible prison. It’s not one size fits all…I get that.]
To all the hard working mamas out there at home or at work, I see you and you are killin’ it! Keep up the incredible work!
If you are a working mom who is tired of the mom-guilt riddled rat-race and would like to find a way to work from home, then you might want to consider starting a blog.
And if you are a stay-at-home mom looking for a project that is all your own or a unique way to contribute to your household financially then starting a blog might be just what you need!