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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S. Good said...

HERE HERE!!! I am a SAHM and damn proud of it, it is absolutely the most rewarding as well the most back breaking work there is. I'll take my dirty floors and my kids happy faces over a big paycheck any day!

Anonymous said...

Great post! Very honest and I hope more people read it.

DP said...

I LOVE THIS! I work outside the home, you know, and I was just saying TODAY that I was underpaid, overworked and unappreciated. I can't wait to sahm....then at least I can poo in my own toilet. :)

MamaZinga said...

Lol yeah DP but the thing about toddlers is you never get to poo alone:( I would go back to work just for that five minutes of privacy.