Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Battle of the Moms

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I had a little scare and went to the emergency room. While going over my paperwork with the nurse, she asked what my occupation  was. At the time I wasn't working and told her I was a house wife. She looked me dead in the eye and said, "Home Maker". At the time, I was just like, "Uh... whatever you say."  

A couple years ago, while having my taxes done by a wonderful older gentleman, he also asked what my job was. I said that I was a Stay at Home Mom and he shook his head. He, also looking me dead in the eye, responded that the appropriate title was Domestic Engineer. I like that one. But any time I actually use that term, people look at me like I'm tooting my own horn or like I tried to make a joke that they're just not understanding.

I've never really had any one treat me differently because I am a stay at home mom. I've decided that there's two possible reasons for this. Either 1) people see me with three really little children and a husband who works long hard hours and they realize that I really do have a "job" or 2) people see me with three really little children and a husband who works long hard hours and they realize I'm totally insane and are too afraid to say anything to me that might just make me turn feral. Either way, it is what it is.

However, lately (and it's probably been this way since the existence of working mothers and stay at home moms but I'm just now getting around to it), I've noticed that there's a "war" between moms with jobs and moms who stay at home. Like its some weird kind of competition. Who's life is more stressful... Who's the better parent... Who's more spoiled than the other... "I do my job AND yours!"... It's weird and silly in my opinion.

I'm Switzerland. Neutral. Not taking one side or the other. But I will say how I feel about both... just a little.

I look at my own mother and I'm baffled. I don't know how she did it. She went back to work just a few weeks after I was born. She worked a stressful job and came home after picking me (eventually "us") from the babysitter or school or day care and cooked dinner, bathed us, helped us with home work. My Dad was always very involved with us too and did a lot of work in and out of the home but we're talking about mom's here. She played softball on the church team, helped with school events and church events, carted us around to practices and tryouts and tournaments and such. She had her own hobbies and projects and kept our house clean and smelling good and food on our table. I don't know how she did it all. I actually feel this way about most mom's who have jobs outside the homes. I have no idea how they don't get burnt out. I wont lie, I hear about some women's jobs and I have to laugh because I'm kinda like, "I'd sure love to get paid to goof around like that all day." But then there's other women who's jobs I'll hear about and I"m like, "What the?... How do you function? NO THANK YOU!" And other times I think, "It sure would be nice to get a paycheck for all the work I do."

But for the women who DO work and don't think that Stay at Home Moms really have it tough, let me explain a few things to you. No one else is taking care of my children. I am solely responsible for their "education", the discipline, the entertainment, three square meals, field trips and everything else. I have three kids to take care of. Three kids who are constantly in our home making messes. I understand that working mothers come home from their jobs and cook and clean but my house is CONSTANTLY being used and lived in. So there is CONSTANTLY something that needs to be cleaned or re cleaned or that's broken and needs to be fixed. Every meal I cook, I have to clean up from. There's no day care worker in my house serving meals and cleaning up from them. No teacher telling the kids that it's time to clean up and putting them in time out for me when they refuse. Because we're home all day, my bathrooms are continuously being used... and peed all over and pooped in. I have to purposefully make an effort to have my children socialized. They don't have the benefit of being in a school or daycare surrounded by other children. Teachers teaching them. Day care workers doing art projects with them (which ALSO can create huge messes to clean). Working moms may deal with some real difficult people at work but the three people that I love most in this world are the ones that scream at me. That disobey me. That stress me out. All day every day. I don't mean to say that they're always bad but I sure could handle a coworker giving me a hard time much better than my own child. It's emotionally draining. And when things aren't going right, it's so easy to feel like a failure as a mom. And trust me, I've worked before. I've worked out side the home longer than I've been a stay at home mom. I've screwed up at my jobs before. Sometimes pretty bad. But never did I feel as miserable afterwards as I do when I know I've screwed up as a stay at home mom. It down right blows. And please, don't for one second think that just because I'm home all day that my evenings are completely free when the kids are in bed. I was up late last night doing laundry and ironing. Just because the kids are in bed, doesn't mean my work is done. Just like a working mom. I'm not sitting around eating bon bons all day, just like a working mother isn't. Alright, I guess I AM getting a little bit defensive here so I'll stop.

Now, I will admit that I have gotten comfortable in my role as a stay at home mom. I like it. No, I LOVE it. I get to spend time with my kids all the time. Some days are harder than others. Some days I get less hugs and kisses than on other days. But some days, I get to have water balloon fights or movie nights or "baking parties". Other days, there's so much poop every where that I wonder if I myself have turned into a turd. It's all part of the gig.

I guess I'd just like to say to the waring moms to get a grip. Stay at Home Moms: stop acting like you're victims. Stop acting like you just climbed Mt Everest while performing open heart surgery and cooking a 10 course meal. You didn't. You GET to stay at home with your children. That's a huge blessing. Stop acting like it's a chore. Working Moms: While I do feel bad that you don't get to spend as much time with your babies as I get to spend with mine, stop acting like we're nothing but a bunch of lazy people. I work hard. Some days harder than others. I know you work hard too (or at least I hope you do). I don't get monetary benefits from my job but you do. Your job may be stressful but mine is too. Give it a whirl. There's plenty of working moms that become stay at home moms and end up wishing they were back at their jobs. Worry about your task at hand and I'll worry about mine.

That being said, no matter where you "work", being a mother in general is a 24/7 gig. I don't think it ends when the kids are grown and out of the house. My mom still takes care of my sister and I in many ways. Still invests time into us and now my kids. Still works, still takes care of her home and my dad and their dogs and a whole lot more. No need to argue about who does how much of what and where it gets done.

This cup of coffee is for all the Moms out there, Wannabes Supermoms or just straight up Supermoms. Here's to all the work we do, in and out of the home.

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