|What I wished staying at home looked like.|
Yesterday my husband sent an article about stay-at-home-moms. I have only been a stay-at-home-mom for a couple of month now and have not really heard many of these statements, but I could have been someone that might have made the same mistakes of others, by saying them to a stay-at-home friend. The only statements of these stated in the article that I have heard was the first, third and fourth statements, and the first one, “What do you do with that free time?”, mostly from my husband. Some of them I have not heard because I am not the mom of a baby or really young child.
“What do you do with all that time?” This one is one of my favorites because as any house wife or stay-at-home-mom will tell you is that the work does not end. Some days I find it hard to squeeze in a workout or a shower. Keeping the house picked up and clean, along with ironing, cooking, carpooling, and grocery shopping while staying calm and organized is more work than anyone who has not done it can imagine. Before staying home I really thought that I would have all this time to read and relax, but that is not the reality. I cannot imagine having the time to care for a baby or small child at the same time.
|If only I had that many arms...|
“It must be nice to not have to work.” I have been guilty of thinking this one also. But, the reality is that, I work all day long, it is just different work than before. Now that I am at home, we no longer have someone to clean the house, so the responsibility is mine. The difference between having someone clean your house and cleaning it yourself is that in my case, I had everyone pick up their things the night before so that all that was left was the cleaning. My housecleaner also washed sheets and towels along with putting new ones out. Now I do all that work along with the picking up so I can clean. I have now taken the place of the dry cleaners, in order to save money I iron my husband’s work shirts. I did not know that ironing shirts would take so much time. I know that I am new at it, but it takes about 15min. a shirt. Who knew???
|Bonus: More time with my family.|
“Your husband must do really well. I couldn’t afford to stay home!” This is not the reason that I got to stay at home. In the fall, we found out that I have an auto immune disease, fibromyalgia. The stress and lack of sleep was intensifying the my symptoms of my fibromyalgia so much that in 2 months I had used all of my sick days. There were days that I could not walk, and could not tolerate anything touching me, this does not mix well with Kindergartners. I was also so tired at the end of the day that I would go to sleep upon arriving home, but could not stay asleep for longer than 2 to 3 hours at a time. Our choice for me to stay home was a very difficult one. I love teaching and did not want to leave my kids in the middle of the year, but at the same time, I was hardly there. I also was not helping out at home and my husband was carrying his load of work along with mine. Our decision was made on what was best for our family, my health, and my kindergartners having a full time healthy teacher. I think that things worked out for the best. I love being home and taking care of my daughter and husband.
I have copied and pasted the whole article from The Woman’s Daily below if you are interested in reading it. Their website is also at the bottom. There are some great articles on their website if you are interested.
9 Things Not to Say to a Stay-at-Home Mom
Learn what to avoid uttering to women who don’t work outside the home
By Petra Guglielmetti
Whether or not to stay home is a tough choice many moms have to make, and women who opt out of jobs to raise kids often face a mix of curiosity, jealousy and even disdain in comments that range from silly to downright mean. “You make this personal choice, yet people feel they have the right to weigh in,” says Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Mommy Wars: Stay-at-Home and Career Moms Face Off on Their Choices, Their Lives, Their Families. Here are nine things that stay-at-home moms say they’d be happy never to hear again.
“What do you do with all that free time?”
“I sit on the couch and eat bon-bons, of course,” jokes stay-at-home mom Kimberly of Westborough, MA. As anyone who’s spent a day alone with a child under age 3 can attest, there’s hardly time to use the bathroom, let alone lounge about. “Questions like this come from people who don’t know what it’s like to scrub off the high chair, change diapers, put toys away and fold laundry again and again,” says Steiner. “Plus, depending on the kid’s age, there are times when a mom hardly has a second to herself because her child could choke on a penny or fall in the toilet if she looks away for a moment.”
“If you’re tired, why don’t you nap when the baby does?”
The only thing worse than attempting to function on three-hour spurts of sleep? Hearing the old “nap when the baby does” suggestion again. It’s a smart plan in theory, but people who haven’t stayed home with an infant overlook the downsides to mid-day siestas: The dishwasher doesn’t get emptied, the mail doesn’t get sorted, emails don’t get answered and more. “Also, even if a mom is blessed with a baby who sticks to a schedule, she might not be able to keep her own sleep clock in sync with her child’s,” says Margaret Usdansky, assistant professor of sociology at Syracuse University, who co-authored a recent study about depression in stay-at-home and working moms.
“It must be nice not to have to work.”
Being an at-home mom definitely qualifies as a full-time job. “Parents now are spending a lot more time interacting with their kids than 1970s parents did,” says Usdansky. “In fact, research shows that today’s working mothers are spending as much time with their children as the last generation’s stay-at-home mothers did.” So while there may have been room in the schedule for Tupperware parties and Days of Our Lives back then, modern stay-at-home mothers spend plenty of time reading to their children, helping with homework and exposing them to music classes, sports, language lessons and more.
“Your husband must do really well. I couldn’t afford to stay home!”
However hefty a couple’s savings account balance is, a comment about the family’s cash flow can rub someone the wrong way. Besides, that assumption might not even be true. “People now make calculated and tough choices,” says Usdansky. While many of the highest-earning men have wives who stay home, so do just as many of the lowest-earning ones. And in a lot of cases, not only does the man earn a small paycheck, but the woman’s own earning power is low compared to the cost of childcare—which means that working hardly pays off, especially with the time and stress involved. On the other side of the coin, many women earn as much as (or more than) their husbands, so choosing to stay home means sacrificing major bucks—and living a more frugal lifestyle. “They say to themselves, my house might not be as big and my car not as fancy, but staying home with my kids is more important than those things,’” says Steiner.
“When do you plan to return to your career?”
This implies that one should have a solid plan mapped out, when in reality, this economy leaves many people struggling to figure out the immediate future. Moms who’ve put their careers on hold worry about whether they’ll be able to get a job when they’re ready to return to the workforce—and they don’t need someone reminding them that the future’s uncertain. “Asking when also implies that staying home is a temporary detour, when it might not be for that person,” notes Steiner. It’s better to ask if a woman is interested in returning to her previous career, not when.
“Do you feel like getting your Master’s was a waste of time?”
Nothing conveys a lack of respect for the job of mothering more than this jab. “As one of the moms in my book says, ‘I’d get more respect if I said I was raising chinchillas instead of human beings,’” says Steiner, who notes that this comment also presumes that the ultimate goal of getting more education is inflating one’s paycheck. “Raising children well is hard, priceless work, but our capitalistic society places more value on entrepreneurship and money-making,” adds Steiner. And as Usdansky points out, “Lots of stay-at-home moms aspire to do interesting part-time work, but what’s available is usually a step down, not in a professional area or not challenging.” Besides, many women hope to resume their careers once their kids are in school.
“You’ll never read a book again. Or travel. Or shower!”
This type of comment, often aimed at the new stay-at-home mom, comes from fellow mothers who are home all day with infants or toddlers. Usually, they’re trying to commiserate, not terrify, but sometimes the remarks come off as discouragement rather than camaraderie. “It’s that old ‘I suffered through it and now it’s your turn, so I’m going to let you know how tough it is’ thing,” says Usdansky. “Parents are almost afraid to emphasize the great things about having children, but if there weren’t incredible joys, those same people probably wouldn’t have multiple kids!” A gentler way to bond over the shared challenges ahead? Lead in with a simple: “Oh, you have a four month old and are staying at home? How’s it going for you so far?” suggests Usdanksy.
“I could never do what you do. I’d die without adult conversation.”
“This implies, ‘You must be simpler than me, so you can tolerate it,’” says Steiner. One stay-at-home mom, Heather of Charleston, SC, has even been referred to as Mary Poppins—to which she responded, “Um, Mary Poppins got paid.” Whether intentionally condescending or accidentally so, these kinds of comments sometimes stem from someone else’s insecurity about her own role as a parent. “There’s a lot of jealousy on both sides—from working moms and stay-at-home moms, because honestly, neither situation is easy,” Steiner points out. “It’s like what we all went through in seventh grade—if you can’t feel great about what you’re doing, the next best thing is to feel better than someone else, so you put her choices down.”
“Does your husband give you an allowance from his paycheck?”
Unless a stay-at-home mom views herself as a salaried employee of her husband’s (unlikely!), this comment isn’t going to go over well. And it’s common for the woman to be in charge of the budget and bank account, whether or not she’s contributing funds. “We’ve always had a joint checking account, even when we first lived together,” says stay-at-home mom Rachel of Albany, NY. “Now, I pay all the bills, do all the grocery shopping and decide when the big purchases can be made. If anything, he asks me for money!” Of course, not all relationships work that way; when it comes time for a couple to negotiate how money is spent, some non-working women feel they’ve sacrificed some of their decision-making clout. “Lack of financial independence can be scary, especially for a woman who worked hard to be financially independent in the first place,” says Steiner. Either way, it’s wise not to pry unless you’re a good enough friend to broach such a touchy topic.