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?