My Life As A Stay At Home Mom.

I had a brief moment of delusion at the beginning of last week, when I actually thought that my husband might stay home from work for a few days and take care of the kids so that I could get at least a little bit of writing in while Rosa is on vacation.  But the moment quickly passed after I suggested the idea to my husband, whose response was a brusque, “yeah right.”  Why is it, I asked him, that you automatically assume that I will be the one to stay home with the kids and miss work?  And why is it that just because I work from home, my work is deemed less important?  Because I make more money, he answered, and because it is less important.  To which I had no good answer, because he does make more money, and because I guess it might be true that me making up a story that I haven’t even sold yet is probably not quite as important as being responsible for an entire company.  Fine.  Touché. 

And so, given my low-paying, less important job, I decided to embark upon a little experiment.  Despite being given the numbers of several housekeepers, nannies, and babysitters who could work a few days here and there in Rosa’s absence, I declined them all and decided to see what it is really like to be a stay-at-home mom, if only for two weeks.  And not a fake, LA, stay-at-home mom, who doesn’t work but still has a full-time nanny and someone who comes twice a week to clean the house and do laundry.  No, this was to be the real deal; kids, cooking, housework and all. I wanted to spend some time on the other side of the mommy wars so that I could see for myself what all of the fuss is about.  (Full disclosure: I probably would have called some of those nannies or babysitters, but Davis would never go for it.  I once tried to leave him at a daycare when we went skiing, and he cried for two hours straight.)  And so here I am, your faithful martyr of a blogger, with a full report on what it is really like on the dark side.

First of all, let me say that I have a newfound respect for stay-at-home moms.  I always knew that it was the hardest job ever, but honestly, until you do it day in and day out, you can’t really understand.  And secondly, let me say that I have not changed my mind about working, nor do I wish to no longer work.  If anything, I appreciate the job that I have more than ever, and if for some reason I could no longer do this job, I would, without question, go out and find a different one.

Re-Post
07.12.07

It is so refreshing to see an article where a woman can say “this is great, but it’s not for me”. I have wondered for a long time why working moms and at home moms often feel the need to beat each other up as if their way is the only right way. I am a stay at home, home schooling mom who loves what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world. I have friends who work at home, friends who stay at home, and friends who work full time. Each chose their situation for a variety of reasons. I can understand that my one friend would go nuts in the house all day and feels the need to have a full time job, but she sometimes feels guilty she doesn’t spend more time with her children. I know my one friend feels extremely blessed to be able to work at home, but sometimes she feels overwhelmed when she can’t find quiet time during daylight hours to do her work. I know my one at home friend loves being with her children but wishes she had more time for herself once in a while. There are always balances to be made no matter what career path you choose, and like my friends I think the important thing is to be able to celebrate the similarities. I can talk to my working friend about what her children do in school, but I can’t talk to her about how it is to rush from the house at 6a. I can talk to my work at home friend about the demands of children, but I have no idea what it’s like to try to juggle work and housework. I can talk to my at home friend about keeping the house nice and the kids happy, but she doesn’t know what it’s like to home educate. Instead of focusing on the differences, we stick to what we do know. We chat about what we have in common, and we have good friendships based on that. Just like any friendship, there will always be things we don’t have in common. We respect that about each other, we enjoy the conversations we do have, and we support each other. It would be nice if everyone could be so understanding…and if every article could be as nice as this one. Then there wouldn’t be “Mommy Wars”, just good mamas chatting about things they have in common. :)

Posted By: mrsncook

Re-Post
07.12.07

Risa,
This post really rings with me, and I can’t help but laugh and agree heartily with you. I’ve currently given up my very demanding job as an obstetrician to take on the also very demanding job of motherhood! I’ve had ups and downs, loving the joy of being with my newborn son, but also feeling the harsh withdrawal of adult communication and validation from being a professional. I always thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but somehow I can’t see myself as the storytime/soccer/shopping mom that some of my friends are. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to going back to work part-time, and hopefully having the best of both worlds.

Posted By: ocmom

Re-Post
07.12.07

I’m not quite sure there is a work-life balance. At least not in my line of work. I’m lucky, as being a freelance photographer has allowed me to stay at home with my kids, but in an effort to get ahead, I took the summer off of daycare ( I have two toddlers) This has resulted in no time for marketing, limit resources for shooting and very stressed.

My latest daydream, concocted as I steal my 15 minutes of peace in the shower and let PBS do a little work, is a haven for the woman owned business. I dream of a place with a courtyard and a great play structure that I can see from my office space above - or maybe the shared conference room. Its a place where women who have chosen to have children, but also are working to launch thier own companies can have support, safe and flexible childcare and a great working environment.

Now I just have to figure out how to make it work. Any ideas?

Posted By: jenhogan

Re-Post
07.12.07

I feel for you. I think it’s hard on all sides of the aisle, and the most important thing is that we make peace with our own choices. Because if we’re happy, the kids will adjust. But I think they can smell our fear/anxiety.

I stayed at home with my first son until I couldn’t handle it anymore. We have Kamala now and I love her as much as he does. I am snippy and snappy while she is always calm.

Now, I’m “home” with my second son while my older one is still with his nanny for part of the day and I’m fully on duty in the afternoons.

In October, I return to work again and I’m nervous all over again. But also excited.

Posted By: rookiemomheather