You may have already seen it. On April 22 the Wall Street Journal published a list of 200 occupations ranked from the best to the worst based on five criteria. I scoured the list, but “stay-at-home-mom” did not make an appearance. Apparently, it’s not considered a “job,” and for all intents and purposes, maybe it’s not a “job” as much as it is “life” for those who do it like myself.
Over the past almost 7 years, I’ve gotten myself on a cleaning, shopping, laundry and babysitting schedule, threw away my to-do lists (they only caused me undue amounts of frustration), learned not to apologize for toys on the floor, as well as started growing a few fruits and veggies like the textbook housewife “should” do.
Just when I thought I had gotten the logistics of this staying-at-home-thing ironed out, I started struggling to navigate totally different aspects of this job. Over the past few months, I’ve been extremely lonely, operating on zero motivation, and possess an almost non-existent tolerance for feuding children… not exactly the best mix for being at home full-time.
One day, while working through some SAHM frustrations, I wrote up the following thoughts. (Working moms… although I’m sure there are things all moms have in common, I know you also have your own unique set of frustrations, stressors, and joys. I’m not saying being at home full-time is harder than working outside the home—in fact, I’ve often thought the opposite, but obviously I can only write from what I know personally. So working moms, you’ll have to excuse me for not including your side of the story.)
What being a stay-at-home-mom means to me….
It means trading in your cute high heels and sassy work outfits for $3 flip-flops and a stained burp rag.
It means saying “good-bye” to lunchroom treats and staff Christmas dinners and “hello” to the 4th day in a row of leftover vegetable soup.
It means cleaning one room while another room is torn to pieces.
It means you know the librarians at your local library by name, and they know what day of the week to expect to see you.
It means grocery shopping at 10pm because it goes four times faster without children.
It means taking your child to the doctor’s office becomes the most talked about event of your week.
It means being able to recite “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” from memory.
It means laughing yourself silly while cleaning up the 8th spill of the day for the 3rd day in a row… otherwise, you’d just sit and cry.
It means you talk to yourself more than the average person, and you answer yourself (out loud) far! more than the average person.
It means doing random math problems in your head to assure yourself you still possess math skills beyond counting to three.
It means locking yourself in the bathroom at least once a week… not for the usual bathroom purposes.
It means intense feelings of panic when your car is in the shop – no. way. to. leave.
It means doing all the jobs you said you’d never do just save/earn a few bucks.
What it also means…..
It means being your own boss, making your own schedule.
It means being able to sketch out a blog post during nap time.
It means catching a few zzz’s yourself during nap time.
It means cuddling with your little ones during nap time. (Can you tell I like nap time?)
It means holding a small hand while puddle jumping in the street on a random warm, rainy day.
It means being able to drop what you’re doing (sometimes) and help out a friend.
It means wiping fresh tears and loving-on every, single boo-boo.
It means witnessing untamed creativity while your children figure out 100 different ways to play with a jump rope.
It means being the one to hug your child when she gets off the bus after a hard day of school.
It means sitting on a park bench on a Tuesday morning, watching your child play in the sandbox while the sun warms your body and you drink in the sight of flowering trees.
It means hearing “Buy that dress, Mom. You look pretty in it.” from your four year old son while fitting on clothes in the dressing room.
It means being there for all of the “firsts.”
It means hearing “I love you” at 9:23am… or 11:52am… or 2:08pm.
It means living my dream, each and every day… there’s nothing I want to do more right now.
To all moms out there—at home full-time or working part-time/full-time—I wish you a very Happy (upcoming) Mother’s Day! Know you are extremely valuable to your kids! And I sincerely hope you are able to live your dream too.
(By the way, if anyone knows what the yellow flower is in the top picture, let me know. I’m not well-versed in names of flowers. It is not a rose even though it looks somewhat like one. I saw it this past Sunday and would love to try my hand at growing them.)