I’ve been on both sides of the fence so I feel strongly that I am at liberty to share my point-of-view about what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom who works and also as one who doesn’t have a paid job. Staying home with your kids full-time is incredibly hard. I’ve been there. But wait! I still am there, now I am just throwing in 40 hours (sometimes more; if I’m lucky less) a week of work on top of it.
So, what’s the difference? Well, the dirty dishes certainly stay in the sink longer. And I’ve become the Jedi master of laser focus concentration amidst episodes of Paw Patrol playing in the background. (It’s playing now, for instance.)
And I certainly don’t feel chained to my desk like your average 8-5er, but more comfortable in my little kids-free zone of my home, the place in which I tell my kids is “Mommy’s” and no one else’s.
But aside from all the hours put in, the laundry that never seems to come to an end, the constant alerts hitting my phone, remembering to be at the preschool on time, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I can honestly say, I never look at anyone else’s life and envy them. I earned this life, these kids, this career, the minivan I never wanted but feel good driving. We do things we may never have thought possible, because once you become a parent, you may never have realized your full potential. At least for me, that is.
Before I had kids, (let’s say 10 years ago) if you had told the 21-year-old version of my extremely narrow-minded self that I would be juggling a career and spending my lunch breaks going grocery shopping with 3 kids, I would have told you to “get lost”…and quick.
Parenting is not for the weak. It takes a buttload of hard work, dedication, long hours, loss of sleep, so many things. But so does a flourishing career. So, I know that becoming a mother gave me the training that I needed. Aside from my brain that generates all my creativity and keeps me sharp and driven. Wanting to succeed at my job is a major driving force behind what I do, but knowing that I have these three little awesome people I created who will grow up seeing Mommy work her butt off inspires me to achieve even more.
The other day at a preschool playdate I was making conversation with a parent of one of my daughter’s classmates when the “work thing” came up. Now, I know that if I am at a playdate at noon on a Friday in the suburbs, it’s natural to assume that another SAHM is the same as you. (Stay-At-Home, obviously). And that’s just it. We ARE the same. I am no different than you. I just happen to work, too. The only difference is that some other SAHM’s don’t see it that way. As did this one, for example.
I know how to “present” the question in a delicate manner as not to offend. I would never belittle someone for staying home and not working, because I have been there too and know good and well sometimes that is just best, or working is simply not an option if the opportunity is not right. But when the question arose, quickly the friendly mother I was speaking to transformed: “Oh…I don’t have to work, my husband’s a ….”
This certainly wasn’t the first time this has happened to me, and surely it won’t be my last. You know what though? Good for you. Bravo. I am so glad. But you know what? I don’t have to do anything either. I just choose to.
Modi Ramos is a mama to 4, with her husband being the oldest. Lover of animals, laughter, sports, wine and espresso.