Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dear Stay-at-Home Mom

Dear Stay-at-Home Mom Friend,

I'm an all cards on the table kind-of gal; and, right now, I need to confess something to you... I've been a little jealous-y and a little unfair to you lately.

Here's the thing, I'm in a bit of a funk (we'll call it the late-January blues) and have been playing the "grass is always greener" game BAD.  I've been telling myself some version of this the last few days: "If I just stayed home with Sam full time I would actually have time to...  exercise/ organize the basement/ go on play-dates/ cook healthy meals/ put away my laundry/ really PLAY with Sam."  You know, fill in the blank...

Almost every morning these days I throw myself the same little pity party where I ache to stay in my bed just.a.little.bit.longer, to wear my pajamas until noon, and drink coffee out of a real mug while watching cartoons with my boy.  Once I'm here, I'm good, but mornings are the worst.

Just once, I think, I'd like to be in a season (ahem, I think they call it summer) where there are no "due dates," no "appointments," no set schedule.  I'd like to wake up in the morning with a list of Pinterest recipes and crafts to try, "meetings" scheduled with friends over lunch, and all the time I need to finally put away the laundry.

But, here's the thing friend (are you even still reading?),  I KNOW I'm being ridiculous.  I know the imaginary life of a SAHM mom that I'm making up in my head is just that - imaginary.  I know that you don't spend your day lounging and lunching and kicking your feet up.  I KNOW that, many  days, even the life of a high school English teacher feels a lot more glamorous than yours.  

Sure, you might meet a friend for lunch once in a while, but you are toting seven bags and three kids and eating nuggets, while I'm quietly eating a salad at my desk and listening to a book on tape.  You might get to sleep in for an extra hour in the morning, but then you are ON all day.  There is no "planning period" or "lunch break" or chance to run a quick errand alone on your way home.  And, let's be real, you might be drinking your coffee from a cute little mug (instead of my ugly thermos), but it is cold and a little stale from too many re-heats.

Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, I'm SORRY for letting myself believe (if only for a few minutes) that your life is somehow easier than mine.  IT IS NOT.  Yes, we have different obstacles to overcome (and mine might involve more panty-hose and pencils than yours), but we both have obstacles, and (I'm pretty sure) we both have mornings where we desperately wish we were in the other one's shoes. BOTH of our jobs have good days and bad.  BOTH of our jobs are hard.  BOTH of our jobs are important.  I know these things.

Please accept my apology.  I'll sit in silence for ten minutes for you if you'll brew another pot and color another picture for me. ;)

*For the record, I still love my job.  It's just... January.


  1. I love this post! You are right, I suppose there are plus sides to both - and I feel like there is NEVER enough time to do everything either way, but as someone who still works one day a week, I think it would be even harder with working every day! I don't know how you do it.

    Though that stale, re-heated coffee? So true. And then before I can finish it one of the kids drinks it. Ah!

  2. I am so with you on the January Blues!
    Why does the grass always seem greener... I have only been back in the classroom for 6 weeks and I am ready for summer!

  3. I agree about the January funk too!

    Some advice or tips-- why not set a monthly goal to get a big project done (like basement organization) and reward yourself when you get it done? I also try and do something around the house (cleaning, food prep, grocery shopping, laundry) every day or otherwise it gets overwhelming. Find what works for you--

    hope you and sam get out and enjoy the snow today! Jen

  4. Here's the difference between being a SAHM and not. Being a SAHM is a luxury, one that many cannot afford. SAHMs need to remember that. They are EXTREMELY fortunate.

    Is it hard to raise children? Of course. Is it easier to do when you don't also have a job on top of it? I would say yes.

    Elizabeth, you are "on" all day as a teacher. And then you have to come home and be "on" all evening for your husband and Sam. Putting the laundry and going to bed without dishes in the sink isn't going to make Sam's life better -- your relationship as a mother who works her butt off is!

  5. apology accepted :) i'm sure i could write a similar letter to working moms.
    now about that coffee...

  6. So timely since I often dream about having a real job outside of the house.....the grass is always greener and it is a struggle to be content exactly where God has us. For me, I find myself dreaming of summer a lot lately as if that would make life so much easier. I am trying to enjoy the present as much as I hate the freezing cold weather in New England and do not love being pregnant.

    Thanks for sharing!

  7. Also - I am not sure if I agree with anon. It can be a luxury, but it also can be more practical. I don't have my teaching degree, but occasionally substitute teach - I may $60 ($20 less than Virginia Beach), which is a joke where we live and the COLA is 30%. I would break even if that if I paid a babysitter for the day. Just a thought.

  8. Also! Just wanted to clarify - I do think working moms have it really hard too. Especially will you maintain a blog and working and being a mom, but I just wanted to disagree that it is not always a luxury.

    Also - this is one example of the break down of a sham I have seen - http://www.salary.com/stay-at-home-mom-infographic/

  9. It's soooooooo January...I hear ya! I always think the same thing until I actually do stay home with Cam and get NOTHING done and go on zero play dates, my to-do list grows longer and I don't shower for days. And definitely no blogging...I know that was al bad grammar (sorry), but I SO feel you on this. I come to appreciate my planning period where I can secretly blog or budget for next month. I love to be able to stop at the grocery store on my way home while Cam's still at day care and eat lunch all every day in peace. Well, usually... :)

  10. I'm not going to lie, most days being a SAHM rocks. I was miserable as a working mom and do feel very blessed to get to do this. If you get to the point where it's no longer January-blues and work becomes a burden, then you'll know it's time to transition home. Play dates, pajama days and snuggling will definitely happen, but you'll also feel much less productive than you ever imagined! (my laundry has been sitting in the baskets waiting to be folded for about a week now!) I always finish my first cup of coffee though... priorities! :)

    1. I was going to say almost exactly this as well. I'm still working mainly weekends - but for me I knew that while staying home wasn't as lovely on our pocket book, it was what I needed mentally. Both paths are tough in different ways, and I can understand both sides. Hugs, lady!

  11. As a part-time high school English teacher (one day a week) and a SAHM for the rest of the time, I feel like I have a great balance. Enough time at home to get the majority of things done, and enough time at work to satisfy that craving for adult company and acknowledgement of achievements. Of course, the marking/correction could disappear and I wouldn't complain! ;-) I'm sure you know what I mean. It has grown easier over the years as my daughter has become more independent, but I'm glad I have been able to find a good balance between her needs and mine.

  12. Not to get in a pissing match with anon, but I think describing SAHM's choice as a "luxery" is a bit much. Many, many SAHM moms I know are not living a luxurious lifestyle. As a matter of fact, their income is very meager and live paycheck to paycheck however, they make the choice to be home because they feel that is their "job" right now - to be working in the home and raising their children. They make sacrifices, go without, and live very meagerly on one paycheck so that they can be home to raise their children. "Luxery" is the last word I'd use. Moving on...

    I am home with Madeline 2 days a week and to be honest, most days I can't even begin to tell you what I accomplish or even what my name is, LOL. It makes me sad, the divide that still seems to exist between working moms and SAHM moms. We are all beautiful, talented, and extraordinary women all doing great work in our homes and the working world in our own way, and in the best ways that work for us as individuals and as a family. At the end of the day, don't we all already face enough in the world as women? Let's be supportive, uplifting, and kick ass together!!

  13. Funny post! :-) I'm a fifth grade teacher turned sahm, but this year I have been guest teaching (aka subbing) a few times a month at the school I used to teach at. It has totally given me a good perspective for both sides. Sometimes I am with my son and wishing I could take a "break" and go to work, but on days where I teach I wake up and dread having to leave him. There are always positives and negatives to every decision, it just has to be what is right for you. I couldn't work full-time and feel very good about my job as a mom, but I know that some women are much better mothers when they do work full-time. Hang in there...those January blahs for teachers are the WORST! :)

  14. Oh, I needed to read/hear this right now - thank you! Four weeks back at work with a 4 month old at home, and I play "the grass is greener" game a lot. The thing is, I KNOW that my working is the best thing for me and my family (for many reasons) - when I focus on that, I feel totally at peace with the situation. Just need to keep these little nagging doubts and comparisons in check. :)

  15. I was nervous to read this....just wasn't sure what you were gonna say. But in the end, I loved this post. I had my day(s) this week where inside I was DYING to go into work. I mean, you know I work from home, but that just feels like double the work, haha. I will say there are FOR SURE perks to staying home. Helloooo jammies all day if I want and coffee at all hours. However, all those things you listed? Yea. I have trouble, majorly getting them done in a day. I might have got a twinge of jealousy when you described your lunch :) that sounds amazing!

  16. You are certainly not alone in this at all! There are so many days where I wish I could just stay home, but then there are days where I'm extremely grateful that I get to go to work. Both jobs are hard work and both have their respective benefits.

  17. Oh, I love this post:) As I'm getting ready to go back to work after maternity leave, this has been on my mind a LOT!

  18. I was so surprised by the sincerity of this ceremony. I really was very impressed and might have also shed a tear or two....three...:)


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