Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A life full of Saturdays

At the risk of stoking the mommy wars fires, I have to tell you guys something. This stay-at-home-mom gig? It's like a freaking vacation.

I'm not saying it's easy, mind you. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of chores to be done. And I certainly don't mean to diminish the importance of the SAHM job. But I could describe to you what I do on a day-to-day basis now. I could tell you about the laundry and the cooking and the grocery shopping and the chaufering and the weeding and the dishes and (of course) the actual parenting. But that? That's what I used to call Saturday. That list is what used to describe my day off. Because I did all of those things before too, back when I was working 40, 50, 60, even 70-hour work weeks. I still did the laundry and the cleaning and the cooking and the shopping and the chauferring and the weeding (okay, I usually skipped the weeding), and the parenting, but I did it all in a fraction of the time. Having an extra 50+ hours each week to complete basically the same list of tasks feels positively luxurious in comparison.

It's like a freaking vacation.

Cue the angry mob of SAHM-ers. But before I'm tarred and feathered, consider this: I am speaking of my personal experience only.

I don't suggest or expect that my experience is universal. There are any number of reasons for any number of people to declare being a SAHM the hardest thing they've ever done. And those people, I'm sure, are not lying. The nature of your work, the nature of your kid(s), your temperament, their temperaments, your age, their ages, your special needs, their special needs, how many of "you" there are (adults, I mean, like dads, nannies, sitters, housekeepers), how many of them there are - all of these factor in differently for different people.

For me, the difference between working mother and stay-at-home-mother is drastic enough to make staying at home feel like a vacation. Relatively speaking, of course. This would be a pretty crappy real vacation. But while, when I was working, my weekends were nothing close to relaxing days off, they were still days off. And now, every day feels like those old Saturdays. And I would like to, without offending anyone, express a small amount of joy for my life full of Saturdays.

What about you? Do you have experience with both working as a mother and staying home as a mother (or working from home as a mother)? Did you find one situation more challenging than another? Or was each situation equally difficult, but for slightly (or drastically) different reasons?


Elias said...

Sadly I have no experience as a SAHM myself, but I'm most pleased to hear that you are enjoying it. Hopefully you can even sneak in a real vacation one of these days.

Soccer Mom said...

I've done it all...been a work out of the home married mom, stay at home married mom, work from home married mom and work out of the home single mom. I'd take any of the above that let me be home.

Shannon said...

I'm definitely agreeing with you on this one! My maternity leave was like a vacation. Sure there was the crappy, bleary-eyed early days. There were days when I wanted to scream because I didn't know the last time I had a conversation with another adult that didn't involve pee, poop, or vomit, but overall it was a lot easier to be a parent when I had all those extra hours.

And because I had all those extra hours and there was no daycare, both of us got to see my husband more often....When he works nights, the hours when he is home and awake are hours when we are either at work/daycare or sleeping.


I don't know if I could give it all up and stay home. There are lots of days when I feel like going to work is what saves my sanity!

Starthrower said...

Hey, I understand what you're talking about. The thing is, for me, I can't do both. I can either relish my life as a career woman or relish my life full of Saturdays, but not both.
I also can't have just one enjoyable day a week, that I call a Saturday.

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don't need to escape from. ~ Seth Godin.

My version, "Instead of living a life where one great day a week is called Saturday, why not make every day feel like a great day. No matter what you do. SAHM or working mom. Life is too short for less."

Martini Mom said...

@Elias: Someday you'll make an excellent mom, I'm sure, whether you decide to stay home or continue working. :)

@Soccer Mom: Me too! I've been working very part-time from home over the past couple of months and finding it extremely difficult. I can't afford a sitter, so I have to cram everything in while The Baby's napping or after he's in bed. I'm not doing a very good job of it, unfortunately.

@Shannon: My dad worked nights too. Sometimes we'd go weeks without being home and awake at the same time. So hard! And I hear you on work saving your sanity. I definitely felt that way when I had The Kid... but then, I actually liked my job. This time around I don't miss work per se, but I do miss getting out of the house alone. Or doing anything alone, for that matter. I'm definitely going to need to schedule some "me" time pretty soon, or I'm going to have a little mini break down.

@Starthrower: Love that Godin quote (and your reworking of it). So true!

Tammy said...

I have always been a SAHM and we also homeschooled. I really don't know how women who work outside the home do it all. My children are now grown and I just started a small work at home business. I have a terrible time trying to keep up with everything :) Being a SAHM is a full time job but I do totally "get" what you are saying too :) I LOVED being at home raising my children.

Anonymous said...

When I first had a kid I was a working Mom... I always felt torn. I missed my baby... After my second baby was born (11 months later) I went back to work again. It wasn't 3 months before I wanted to go home. So I did (on extended leave to try it out). But while at home I got really depressed:( I started feeling overwhelmed and trapped. So I went back to work... Then I started missing my kids again, and I quit my job entirely. Now almost 3 years later I am still at home, wishing I was still working:(

My point is... No matter what I chose there was guilt/issues. I love the thoughts of being home with my babies and being the sole care-giver, but the reality is it doesn't make me happy:(

I LOVE that you love staying home with your kids. That is how I want to be!! I think that is where the controversy comes in... Those who judge you for loving what you do WISH they felt that way:) Right?

Cat said...

Dear sweet god, thank you for posting this. Every time I see one of those "SAHMs do the job of a maid, cook, etc..." I think... I do all that too, plus I work, plus I have to outsource 8 hours a day with my kid, which sucks. And I'm not saying there's no value in it, or that it's not hard, because I know it's tough being with a kid all day. But you're living my dream.

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