Friday, June 29, 2012

Stay At Home Mom vs. Working Mom. Who's Right?

Pin It I recently wrote an article about being a stay at home mom (SAHM). I thought it was pretty tame. I tend not to get overly judgmental over how other people parent...I got that out of my system when I was pregnant for the first time. No one is a better parent than someone without kids right? But that's a whole post for another day. Let's save that little chestnut, cause it's worth coming back to.

This article, which I thought was fair and balanced (and not in that icky FOX news kind of way), sparked some interesting discussion on a couple of forums. Some of the comments actually got pretty heated, mostly due to people making asshat assumptions about what being a SAHM is really about.

I was told it was intentionally inflammatory. Me? Inflammatory? No way.

Bitchy? Absolutely. Sarcastic and snarky? Sure, but never intentionally inflammatory.

I was told that it was biased, since it only discussed being a SAHM.

Really? I AM a SAHM. I wouldn't write an article, for example, about being a dolphin, or an astronaut.

All of a sudden, it's on like Donkey Kong.

Stay at Home Mom Vs. Working Mom.
Round 1675.
Ding, ding, ding.

Oh, hell no! Did she just say daycare is raising my kids?

This is a battle that will never be won, yet it still gets rehashed and reenacted more often than the Civil War. The thing you gotta realize about this particular catfight...some people are really touchy about their choices. When those choices involve how they parent...well, the gloves are coming off. There is also a certain type of woman who believes so strongly that she is right that anyone who disagrees must be, obviously, wrong. When these two traits meet in one person, head for your zombie apocalypse bunker. (What? You don't have one?) We are talking about a meltdown of nuclear proportions. In a perfect world we could all just live our lives the way it made sense for us, without all the judgement from other people.

The internet is FAR from a perfect world.

Having said that I thought it might be a hoot to actually BE intentionally inflammatory. Why the heck not? I have been branded as such and I would really hate to make a liar out of anyone. Besides, no one wants to hear the boring truth anyway. It is WAY more fun to use hackneyed stereotypes and gross generalizations. Before anyone decides to flame me I have to add this disclaimer:
    The following examples are composites of shameless stereotypes. It's called parody. If you are offended by satire I would suggest not reading further. It is bitchy, snarky and in poor taste. If you persist in reading and find yourself offended I would suggest rereading the first part of this disclaimer.
    You haz been warned:)

    That article was so offensive...where's my brain bleach?

    The Stay At Home Mom

    The SAHM is a better mother than you.
    She is actually raising her kids, thankyouverymuch, and isn't afraid to denounce the working mother for "outsourcing" her children. She can take her kids to the park on a Tuesday afternoon if she wants to. She probably won't...but she could if she wanted to. She has the freedom and spontaneity to be as lazy as she wants to be, anytime, anywhere.
    She knows that her kids are going to grow up healthier and happier because mommy was around to watch daytime television them grow up. She judges mothers who look well groomed. In her eyes you must sport a ponytail with roots, yoga pants and a sweatshirt with spit up on the shoulder in order to be a proper mother.  Her husband sympathizes with her needs, like when she needs a night out. He has no problem watching the kids for a couple of hours so she can unwind after a busy day of doing...nothing much. Beats the hell out of listening to her nag about how she has no one over the age of three to talk to all day.
    She is the busiest person you will ever meet. She spends most of her day on the internet, whining about how hard her life is. She hasn't cleaned her house yet today, she just hasn't had time. She was too busy posting a never ending stream of "inspirational quotes" about motherhood to her Facebook timeline. Her Pinterest boards are jammed full of crafts she will never make and food she will never cook. Despite her lack of enthusiasm for all things domestic she is able to maintain an aura of smug superiority about her homemade laundry soap.
    It is SOOO tough being a Stay At Home Martyr Mother. Especially when all the major networks cut away from Channing Tatum's appearance on Live! with Kelly Ripa (NSFW) to cover the stupid President and his healthcare bill.

    "Tell me again how hard you have it. How's that indoor plumbing working out for you?"


    The Working Mom

    The working mom is a better mother than you.
    She is setting an example for her children thankyouverymuch. She has drive, ambition and childcare. She went into labour at a board meeting and STILL managed to stick it out until the coffee and donuts ran out. Her kids are going to grow up knowing about responsibility and hard work. She is teaching them valuable lessons, that is to say, she hired the people who are teaching them valuable lessons.
    Same thing.
    She pities women who choose to be homemakers, they are so obviously lacking motivation. She manages to juggle 10 hour workdays, soccer games and still finds time to do Zumba three days a week. If she can do it, anyone can. She is climbing that corporate ladder and she doesn't care whose backs she has to step on, even it they belong to her family. It's for their own good. She scoffs at those who call her husband henpecked. It's just more efficient for her to make all the decisions. She is the CEO of their home. Someone has to keep the staff in line. It's hard work!
    She also spends most of her day on the internet whining about how hard her life is, the only difference is she logs on from her office. She schedules play dates around her conference calls and get her hair foiled on her lunch break, being a mother is no excuse for shoddy roots. She is a better mother when she doesn't have to spend the whole day with her children. Spending time with your kids is overrated. She needs more stimulation than that. She needs to interact with that cute guy in Human Resources grown ups. She plans on sending her kids off to boarding school ASAP. That way she can continue her career uninterrupted. She's going to miss them though. The company newsletter is coming up and they look great in her profile picture.
    Maybe she can hire a couple of stand ins?

    "Darling, the new Swedish nanny starts on Monday"

    I have painted a couple of pretty extreme and obviously fictional pictures here. No one really lives like that, right? Right? There are a million ways to be a mom, none of them right or wrong. Even if someone judges you for the way you parent just take comfort in the fact that someone, somewhere, is judging them for the way they parent. There are a lot of people in this world, blinders firmly in place, gathering stones to throw from the comfort of their glass balconies. Doesn't bother me. My house is made of rubber. Shit just bounces off.

    What is YOUR house made of?

    Photo Credit: All photos courtesy of Pin It

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Going for...Launch?

    Pin It Happy Monday Y'all,

    Today was the big day. My mini blog on LHC went live. Since I am going to be featuring all original content over there I thought, maybe instead of writing an unrelated post HERE I would just direct you guys THERE, lol.

    Check it out and I will see you guys later this week with my long anticipated "fringe" post. This time the subject is one near and dear to my heart:  Extreme SAHM vs. Extreme Working Mom. I am going to explore how the extremists in each case do their very best to make us sympathetic...for their husbands.

    Until them, take care and enjoy life...half crunched:) Pin It

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    The Island of Misfit Crafts

    Pin It So, do you guys remember me telling you I was going to be featured on Life Half Crunched? They featured one of my posts, Fun With Magnets - Magnet Board Tutorial, very exciting, especially since that was a crafting disaster of Titanic-esque proportions.

    Even more unexpected, I received the following message from Renee, one of the lovely ladies who founded LHC:
     "(the owner of Keleigh Belle Creations) going to feature your LHC guest post on the Crafters United page. That's a networking trifecta ladies. ♥"

    What? How is that possible? This was a crappy little craft that didn't even turn out. Why would respectable crafters, with actual websites, be interested in my crafting fail?

    I am guessing that for every beautiful object displayed on a website or Etsy page, there is another, slightly wonky craft displayed on that island of misfit crafts, Regretsy:  Hot glue oozing out of the sides, glitter haphazardly thrown at it and a silkscreened picture of Robert Pattinson/Taylor Lautner framed in LED lights.

    I can't take credit for this disaster. This was featured on Regretsy. Sadly, the original Etsy post is no longer available.
    I guess every crafter enjoys laughing/commiserating at the "craft that got away". That works for me. My lack of crafting ability, when coupled with my awful taste and inability to follow instructions, should provide MOUNTAINS of material:)

    So are you ready to hear my even MORE exciting news?

    LHC is going to be featuring me REGULARLY!!! That's right, I am getting my own mini blog on the network. It will feature all original material geared towards the crafty/frugal side of my personality, which is fantastic and will allow me to get back to using THIS blog for the purpose for which it was created.

    Making you all jealous of my gorgeous kids and amazing parenting skills. (Did I just say that with a straight face?)

    Oh yeah, and shamelessly self promoting my book. Did I mention I'm writing a book? (Ok, I'll shut up now.)

    Anyway, the launch date for my mini blog, MamaZinga's Melting Pot, is set for Monday June 18, 2012. Look for it on Life Half Crunched. Have yourselves a great weekend:)

    Thanks for reading,

    P.S. If anyone can tell me how to make those annoying white squares go away I am all ears:)
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    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Stay At Home Moms: Worth Their Weight In Gold

    Pin It Any stay at home moms (SAHM's) in the room?

    C'mon, raise your hand, don't be shy. It is nothing to be ashamed of. I know how hard you work, I'm right there too. Complete with judgement from other people about how much I don't do every day. Apparently SAHM automatically conjures images of a slovenly woman lazing on the couch, eating bon-bons and watching soap operas. Oh how I wish it was true.

    I would love to be able to do nothing all day. I am lazy...There, I said it, someone had to. Anyone who knows me will tell you the same thing. I don't want to work. I want to win the lottery and spend the rest of my life in comfort in a big house with a staff of domestics to do all the heavy lifting. I want to have a luxury car and a driver to take me and the kids wherever we need to go. I want a cook to make me delicious meals every day, a housekeeper to manage my staff and a chambermaid to fluff up my feather bed. I would love to have an Au pair to keep my children pristine all day and wipe their runny noses...Le Sigh.

    Instead my life is filled with snotty faces, poopy diapers and seemingly endless piles of laundry. My work day starts at seven am and ends at eleven pm when I drag my tired, overworked ass to bed for a well deserved least, until two, when Parker wants her nightly feeding. I work six days a week and I get one day off, where I get to dress up, fix my hair and go to my "real" job, as a hairdresser. Thats right people, going to work is my idea of a day off. I get to talk to grown ups, I get to make some money, I seldom get thrown up on and my clients are, for the most part, already potty trained.

    No matter how you slice it, as a SAHM I work my ass off. Oddly enough my house does not reflect this. It is frequently untidy, with a minefield of mega blocks ready to hobble you as soon as you set foot in my living room. This is life with a toddler. To those working mom's who don't get why it is so hard to keep up with housework I have one word. Daycare. That's right. If your kid is in daycare they aren't messing up your house. They are messing up someone elses house. Someone who is getting paid to clean up after them. Enjoy it, because the alternative sucks. I vacuum three times a day. Doesn't matter. I still find cheerios in the toybox. I feel like the guy in the circus who follows the elephants around with a broom cleaning up their crap all day. That's me. Cleaning up crap. All. Damn. Day. It's not always bad, some days are better than others. At least one day a week I just say screw it and leave the toys all over the place and the dishes in the sink. These are usually the days someone will drop by unannounced for a visit and then cut their eyes at the mess in my house. *Face palm*. I suspect this is how the stereotype of the lazy SAHM was born. Everybody and their dog has a cell phone these days. How hard is it to call and say "Hey I'm going to drop by in half an hour". I can make my place look presentable in ten minutes. With a half an hour I can make it sparkle, at least in the rooms that company sees. 

    Mommy, watch me throw these blocks all over the place

    Don't even get me started on the laundry. How two little people manage to generate so much laundry is beyond me. I am usually so busy doing their laundry that mine gets neglected. Thankfully Mr. Zinga does his own, it might not get folded and put away for a few days but he does it. Then there's the cooking. We choose to eat a lot of whole foods, some processed but mostly whole. I make our bread, four loaves every week. Three for us and one to give away. I cook from scratch most of the time. I made most of CeeCee's baby food and I intend to make the bulk of Parker's too. If I worked a full time job there is NO WAY I would have the patience for that. When I was working we ate take out all the time or threw some Hamburger Helper together at the last minute. I refuse to feed my kids that way.

    I also have to budget. We aren't poor but we are a one income family, well two if you count my Maternity Leave, which is still only a fraction of what I used to make. Also it runs out in November. A lot of times I hear the argument that "I can't afford to be a SAHM". In my case I can't afford not to be. In a good month at work I clear anywhere from $1400 to $1700. I am worth WAY more than that as a SAHM. Lets do the math.

    • Full time daycare for two kids. $1400 to $1600 a month
    • Cleaning lady. $15-$20 bucks an hour. Two six hour days a week would run $180 a week or $720 a month. And they don't all do laundry.
    • Laundry service $60-$80 a month
    • Take out three night a week for two adults one child, $240 a month

    I'm already over $2600 a month and I haven't even factored in the amount of overtime I should make putting in 16 hour days!

    Mommy, you need to learn to relax, like me:)

    It's OK though. I got to play with my oldest daughter for a solid hour this morning and she was being way too adorable. Then my youngest daughter woke up and I got to watch her and her sister interact with each other. After CeeCees nap we will colour, or read books. Maybe later we'll go play in the puddles in the backyard. I'll make us all a yummy dinner and as much as I whine about laundry I love the smell of baby clothes when they come out of the dryer. In between chores I get to write and do research for my book. Hell, I'm nursing Parker right now! One thing about being a SAHM. The pay sucks and it is back breaking work but the schedule is flexible.

    I am not trying to take anything away from full time working moms. Or work at home moms (WAHM's) for that matter. I think being a mom has to be the hardest job in the world, no matter how you choose to do it. I am only speaking from MY experience. In my experience I am overworked, underpaid and often judged. People ask me if I plan on working at a "real" job when my maternity leave runs out. I tell them I have a real job. I am an early childhood educator, cleaning lady, chef, chauffeur, nurse and referee. Why would I want a real job when I already have the best job. I am Mom. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    At least until those lottery tickets start paying off.

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    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Busy Little Bees

    Pin It Happy Monday faithful readers, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. Mine was the usual craziness of my token one day of work on Saturday PLUS the added bonus of a double header of parties on Sunday. Somewhere in the middle we found time to play in the garden.

    Exciting development on the blog front, I have been chosen (along with several other super talented ladies) to be a guest blogger on the group blog "Life Half Crunched". It's a little Crunchy, a little Crafty...It's SO me:) Check out the link, there are tons of great articles. Who knows, maybe these gals will be a good influence on me. It would be fantastic to be good at crafts, instead of good at hiding and/or disposing of bad crafts.

    My new home away from home:)

    I only have time for a quick post today but I had to share my good news:) I am currently hard at work on my next post. Due to popular demand I am continuing Does the Fringe Make You Cringe into a serial. It is also a teaser for the book I am currently writing. I have been asked how I find time to do all of this AND raise two kids under two. It's really easy, people. It's called insomnia. Insomnia and copious amounts of coffee.

    In the meantime, enjoy your week and check out Life Half Crunched, you'll be glad you did:) Pin It