Lets get real with each other mamas: Being a mama is not an easy job. Whether you're a SAHM (like me) or if you go to work and make some money for the fam, we are all grinding day and night. But somewhere along the way it became some bizarre competition between loving mamas to see who puts in the most hours. What is the deal with that? When did we decide to start to belittling our fellow mamas for making the best choice for themselves and their families? I'll tell you what, I've lost count of the number of raised eyebrows I've gotten when I tell people I stay at home with my son. I've basically started to tune out how many people have asked, "So, what do you do all day?" And stopped counting all of the rolled eyes I get when I tell friends I had a hard day with my son, when they worked a 9-5 that day.
We SAHMs feel like we need to make up for the fact that we don't go to the office all day. It's hard to see the tangible results of our hard work, because we don't have a pay check to show for it. If you SAHMs are anything like me, you expect so much of yourself! You try to show your husband that you really do have a full-time job taking care of your little one! We have this internal struggle when we think about telling him about the struggle it was getting babe down for a nap, or that he wasn't eating anything you made for him, because we feel like it won't compare to his hard day at the office. If you're a SAHM, closing the wage gap isn't even about money, it's about feeling like you're a contributor to your little family without actually supporting financially. Why do we feel so inferior to our working sisters? And why do we feel so inferior to the hubs who puts in the hours outside the home? How did it get to this point?
Turns out this post coincides perfectly with my first summer working since becoming a mom, so snaps to the blog for that one. Since having my son 18 months ago, I've stayed at home while my man has been providing for the three of us. But this summer we had the opportunity to reverse the roles. He stayed home with our little man, and I went to work during the day. Two words: Eye. Opening. Up until a few months ago, I don't think that I fully comprehended how hard it would be to leave my family at home for the day and go to work. It was agonizing! Thinking about whether or not babe had a good nap, if hubby is taking care of the bills and making the appointments, wondering if they will have done something fun while I've been at work. And all of this goes through my head before lunch time. Ugh. And once you finally get home from an exhausting day at work (ugh), when all you want to do is chill and eat some Cheetos (nom), you've got a babe to look after, play with, feed, bathe, and the list goes on (ugh). All I can say for those mamas who go to work full-time all year round: Respect.
But what was most shocking to me about this summer was my husband's reaction to staying at home. When my husband was able to admit to me that being home full-time is hard work it was probably one of the most validating things I have experienced in my young life. And this isn't to say my husband was a tough critic when I wasn't working! He was always sweet and supportive. But the same way that I couldn't understand his point of view, he wasn't able to fully empathize with my daily routine until he lived it. Getting up and being at little man's beck and call all day. Taking care of the house while making sure everyone gets fed, and preferably isn't glued to the phone all day, takes work and it takes attention. It's enough to make the hardest working person catch their breath. Whether you're used to working a desk job or not, being with a baby at all hours of the night and day is the furthest thing from taking the day off.