Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Have Fun!

As my husband left for work this morning he cheerily called back to me, "Have fun!" This was not said with any sense of sarcasm. And then it dawned on me: He thinks my job of being a stay-at-home mom is fun. Like I'm just having one big fat party over here all day! And like most jobs, it is sometimes fun. But also like most jobs (AND I'M NOT GETTING PAID F@#$ERS!) it comes with some frustrations, feelings of failure and days when you want to join a hippie-like cult and change your name to Spring Rain or Autumn Snow so nobody will ever find you.

There was some Internet forum I stumbled upon recently and I was taken back at the snide comments people made about SAHMs. Like, "what do these privileged bitches have to be stressed about" and "I'd gladly go to the playground all day if my wife wants to support us" and so on.

Yes, being a SAHM, at least in my case, means spending an inordinate amount of time at the playground. This is fun for about an hour. Children are awake approximately 12 hours per day. You do the math.

I am grateful every day that I get to stay home with the girls, at least for now. And it is fun in many ways. But it is also the most stressful and isolating "job" I've ever had. And trust me, I've worked for some wackadoos under some rather high pressure circumstances.

Men (and perhaps I'm generalizing here but, hey, I like to generalize) take care of the kids for one day and think, "What's the big deal? This isn't so hard!" Because you're doing it for ONE DAY by yourself once in a blue moon. Not the majority of the time 365 days per year.

It'd be like playing President for the day. "Wow! I could get used to this! I'm sitting in a big swiveling chair in the Oval Office and people are bringing me gourmet food like I'm the King of Brunei, I've got my own plane and I'm getting invited to all kinds of cool shit!" But it's only for a day and so you avoid that Aging President Syndrome and even if you aged during that one day you could go get Botox unlike the President who would probably get mercilessly made fun of on the late night tv shows (ask Joe Biden) and all the tabloids would show your before and after photos and plastic surgeons would come out of the woodwork to comment on what you had done. See what I mean? (Don't answer that.) My point is, doing anything just for one day every once in a while is not as stressful as doing it all the time.

Am I comparing the stress of being a SAHM to that of being the Leader of the Free World? YOU BET YOUR SWEET ASS I AM. Presidents and mothers age at exactly the same rate! And nobody is bringing me food and I don't even have a desk let alone a nice cushy chair that swivels.

(It's a wonder I was not on the debate team in high school. I mean really.)

PS -- Why the photo accompanying this post? I originally meant to detail what I did all day so as to make a point but then I started thinking about how if you're president you probably get really stressed and you can't even get Botox and I lost my train of thought. One thing I do with the girls that illustrates the sometimes mundane nature of my day is walk back and forth and back and forth and back and forth over the bridge in Millennium Park with them because they think this is big fun. It's fun the first 50 times and then it becomes mind numbing.

PSS -- I know being a mom who works outside the home is stressful too. This is in no way a post meant to flame that "mommy war" phenomenon which I actually think might be made up by the media.


  1. You summed up being a Stay-at-home-mom so perfectly. When my husband says things like, "I wish I could hang out with my friends all day," I want to scratch his eyes out. Chasing after a toddler in the park while my "mommy friend" is running around after her toddler across the playground is ALMOST like "hanging out with my friends" except a lot most stressful and mind numbing - not that my friends are boring, just that I don't actually get to talk to them much at all. To clarify, my child isn't boring either. Its just that her vocabulary is limited to "bird" and "plane." And, she thinks drinking fountains are the coolest thing ever and demands to be held up to them for hours.

  2. great post. agree with your SAHM stance. that is one of the longest running arguments between me and big D. he thinks SAHMamahood is bons bons and play dates with gossip. of course, when he hangs with lil' D for one day, it is just "so easy" and he doesn't understand why i need "a break to the grocery store or Walmart." i am so excited that lil' D will attend kindergarten next year. my a$$ is getting a job. i can make friends and have watercooler gossip again. wear pencil skirts and heels and feel like a woman again. flirt with hot co-workers or my boss again. ugh, i miss working. take care.

  3. I get the "you don't know how easy you have it" What the . . . he doesn't know how easy HE has it. I worked damn hard at getting these kids on a schedule, taking naps, sleeping at night. Of course when he watches them for a day it's easy, I've got them trained! Then I get one toliet trained and he gives up diapers for the other one. I do the training yet I'm still changing the shit! Bitter is my middle name. Love your post.

  4. I think the mommy wars are very real. Women judge each other's decision regarding parenting all the time. The stay-at-homes judge career women who work long hours and career women judge the stay-at-homes for being dull and giving up their own ambition. I've been on both sides so have seen it quite often.

  5. Being a SAHM is the hardest job I've ever had AND the most rewarding. When my husband watches the boys on Saturday afternoon for me when I need a 'break', he always says he doesn't know how I do it all day every day. He says he goes to work so he can have a 'break' and he's one of the hardest working guys I know. It'll all go by so fast though, and one day I think I'll miss these crazy days so I'm really trying to live in the moment and soak it all in. : )

  6. Amen sister! It's not easy having a "boss" who kicks, screams and throws mashed bananas at you during the, ahem, morning traffic meeting. Also, this is the only job where co-sleeping with the decision maker doesn't result in a promotion or at least some hush money.

  7. Another amen! This job is definitely the most physically demanding one I've ever had. I cannot believe how well I sleep at night (when they let me.) My husband is pretty supportive most of the time, so I can't complain about that, but man, it's still hard. And mind-numbing is a very good description.

    But I wouldn't change a thing, and I think being a working mom would be harder (not necessarily physically, but emotionally.) Plus the balance act required of having a career AND raising children is one I personally didn't want to try.

  8. Amen for the third time! Couldn't agree with you more. Just got my husband to admit that he couldn't do this SAH thing for one minute.

  9. So true! Being a SAHM is really tough. My DH is supportive, but still doesn't get it. My mother always says that having kids changes a woman's life more than the man's. I totally agree. He picks up and goes on with life as it was before - golf outings, business lunches. I feel like everything changes for me: my clothes, my friends, my daily hygine routine, how I interact with the world as a Mom. I feel there's none of that redefining who they are after they have a kid.

    But even after all that, I am happier at this job than the career I left. I am getting over pneumonia,and I couldn't take care of my kids for a few days. When my Mom and DH were filling in for me, I was surprised by how much I missed taking care of them.

    Great post! I must say, I really look forward your new entries!

  10. My ass is indeed sweet. Thanks for the mention.

  11. You make some great points. And good point too, about going to the park isn't really relaxing even if your friend is there with her toddler. As a day care mom, I not only am home with my kids all day, but I can't go anywhere. I have an income, yes, and it's one that lets me be here with my kids. But sometimes it's just mind-numbing. Secretly, sometimes I resent both the "career" moms and the SAHMs because they can both get out of the house. But I think it's just that it's easy to forget that no one's life is a walk in the park, when yours is tough. It's nice to hear from other moms that I'm not the only one to get frustrated with the (very rewarding) mom's life!