Here's Why Being A Stay-At-Home-Mum Is Harder Than A Working Mother
It's hard to catch a break at home!
Everyone knows that being a SAHM is all about playgroups, mommy meet-ups, luxuriating in baths during nap time and preparing a three-course dinner for your partner. It’s a relaxing set of days where you get to do yoga and have private time to catch up on your favorite shows or do some DIY activities you’ve found on Pinterest. Yes, it is the life, right? WRONG!
Unfortunately, I had that same misconception about being a SAHM with my own mother.
My mother worked outside the home a good portion of my life, and once my last two siblings were born decided to stay home. I had often thought that she had such a carefree life. I truly did not understand that my mother had desires, dreams, and aspirations, but also wanted to raise five children with support and love from a parent who was constantly in the home. I just kind of thought, in my naïveté, that she enjoyed going batsh*t crazy when there were dishes in the sink or clean clothes stuffed under our (my) beds.
In my first year of motherhood, I got to experience both.
Ironically enough, I read an article that stated being a SAHM is equivalent to 2.5 full-time jobs. I thought to myself, “No shi*!” It baffles me that people have this idea that staying at home versus going to work outside the home is much easier. Unless you’re a Kardashian/Jenner, I’d beg to differ.
I spent the first seven months of my son’s life at home and breastfeeding exclusively. To be honest, I hated it. I was sitting in postpartum depression and dried breastmilk and wanted out. When I got the opportunity to go back to work, I ran for the door. Of course, it was bittersweet but it was also a sense of freedom I desperately needed.
Working outside the home I had a schedule. I knew exactly what was to be done for that day and was able to plan, to some extent.
I even got to enjoy my lunch break. I got a portion of the day where I could actually eat and relax for a morsel of time. In all the months I’d been staying at home, I had far too many missed meals or meals that would go cold that I’d have to scarf down in order to function.
I had a salary — a wage as compensation for its demand and constant headache to my life. It wasn’t six-figures or even the best “thank you” for some of the stressors I endured day to day, but, it gave me more legroom to do things for myself. Plus, I got a chance to talk to other people who understood my plight as a parent. It was almost like a support group, of sorts. Although I didn’t completely confide in my coworkers, I still had an option of being able to talk about things of common interests.
At home, I was at the whim of the most tyrannical boss of them all.
If ever I had a schedule for my son, I’d probably just choke myself with it. There’s no such thing as expectations and goals because baby bosses do exactly what they want, when they want it no matter what was planned for the day. Once, I thought I’d set a play time for my son because I woke up with a nasty cold and just needed a little more rest because we all know stay-at-home moms don’t get a ton of sleep.
As I prepared and organized his play area with all of his favorite toys, I proceeded to lie on the couch directly adjacent to his play area. I began to shut my eyes and could feel the weight of baby butt on my head. As I made attempts to try and lie down again, just to inhale some eucalyptus oil, I was swiftly met with him rolling his way up on top of me at least four times. The idea of “sick-leave” crossed my mind and I wanted to cry at the idea that no matter what percentage I was running on for the day, I had to be all in as a SAHM.
Need I remind the world the countless times I’ve gone through the day without getting a chance to shower, brush my teeth, or even skipping bathroom breaks despite the fear of my bladder exploding? Yes, I believe that people in the workforce are overworked and underpaid in some areas. But, I honestly believe that SAHMs bear a heavier burden. Everyone has this expectation that you’re just supposed to know everything about your kid and love it without losing your damn mind in the process. SAHM don’t even get healthcare provided in the event they need to see a therapist.
I’d take leaving a few hours a day to have a change of environment over a toddler who has no comprehension of “mommy just needs a break.”
At least I can openly verbalize to an employer what my needs are and although some work spaces aren’t as receptive, there’s often a human resources department that allows for employees to voice their questions, comments, and concerns. Who can a SAHM run to without the judgment of someone assuming she just doesn’t want to be a mom? Her partner? It’s unfortunate that people believe that staying at home would probably be much easier and would often dismiss a mom’s claims of weariness.
I get that some of the things that come with working a job are not necessarily considered perks, but what does a SAHM get? Please tell me more about the satisfaction of being there for your child every single day so that I can scream. The stigma that a SAHM has such an easy task at hand is borderline offensive, especially when they have also worked outside the home and truly know what it’s like to do both.