I get what she said, I really do. I know that being a stay at home mom is HARD. I have many friends who are SAHMs (in fact the majority of my friends are SAHMs), and I have seen their weary faces after a day of kids who didn’t nap. It’s hard, and I have so much admiration for SAHMs.
Here’s what wounded me about the comment this blogger made: it implied that somehow being a working mom isn’t hard. That I “get” to go to work every day and forget about my kid and have a carefree, blissful existence until 5:00 p.m. rolls around. That I don’t have to deal with cleaning up messes all day long and chasing after a toddler and fighting nap time and trying to cajole a stubborn toddler into eating a vegetable or two. That I have the easy life.
And it’s true: I don’t have to chase around my toddler all day long. Instead, I “get” to drop her off at daycare, where she’ll spend the majority of her day away from me. She’ll live 40+ hours of her week outside of my presence, and that is hard. Even though Charlotte is over 2 years old, some days I can barely breathe for how much I miss her. In exchange for this, I “get” to go to work and deal with stress and deadlines and demanding clients and errands and piles of paper, day after day. I “get” to let someone else have fun with my kid, get hugs from my kid, watch my kid learn and grow and develop. Then when I get done with my “vacation,” my day in some ways just begins. I pick up my daughter, I take her home and try to find something she won’t immediately reject as dinner, I bathe her, wrestle her into her pajamas with my sweet husband’s help, and convince her that bedtime is not the end of the world. Then there is dinner to make, a house to straighten, a floor that ALWAYS needs to be cleaned, etc. Just like that mom that stays home all day with her kids and tries to come up with yet another craft to make on a rainy day, I too am tired at the end of the day. I too just want a break.
Being a working mom is not my first choice, but it is what has to be right now, and I am thankful that I have a job that helps me contribute to our family. But even if working outside the home were my first choice, that doesn’t mean that I would be exempt from struggling as a mother. The truth is, NO mom has the easy life. Whether a mom works outside of the home or works in the home, being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world (and so, for that matter, is being a dad). Can we all just agree on that and stop with the judgments, stop with the assumption that the “other side” (whomever that may include) has it easier? Can we remember, to borrow from High School Musical (which I promise never to do again), that we’re all in this together?
Let’s go out for some ice cream, share a hug, and laugh until we can’t breathe. That is just the kind of vacation I need.