Keeping it Real? Or Just Complaining?

Suburban Turmoil writes a fabulous thought-provoking statement about being a stay-at-home-mom. She states simply that she thinks it’s easier than many many people let on.

And you should just *read* the comments!!

I have decided to take much of the next month off from my nonprofit job to stay home with the kids (esp since the twins are heading to Kindergarten in the Fall) and I’ve attacked our time together like a she-lion attacks a boar hog.. Activities, books, swimming, bicycling, talking, adventures and (yes I’ll admit) some “Blues Clues” thrown in for good measure.

And you know what? I think she’s right. I think staying home and spending time with kids is a hell of a lot easier than trying to also run your ass off at a job and then come home and spend 90 minutes of quality time with them. It’s more exhausting in certain ways, but flowing with the going and everyone flouncing around in ragamuffin wear has a lilt to it.

When I think my life is hard, it is. When I think I am blessed and lucky, I feel so much better. How does one strike the right balance between honesty and destructive negativity?

I think the lovely intermediate place is using generous applications of humor. When I can laugh at the spilled food, the crying and tantrums, I feel like I can handle it.

There are days when staying home with them seems incredibly difficult. What’s your experience of this?


17 Responses to “Keeping it Real? Or Just Complaining?”

  1. June 20, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    I absolutely agree. Being a SAHD is the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Sure, there are exhausting days (like in any job), but there are tons of kick-back moments where you watch your kid enjoy the beach or play on her own, too.

    The areas where SAH is harder than go-to-work: * you’ve usually got no “backup” * it can get lonely * lots of housework is usually part of the deal * many people don’t appreciate that it’s a real job… there are probably more, but that’s a start.


  2. June 21, 2007 at 5:29 am

    I think either way it’s hard as hell. I used to stay home with the chillren, but then I decided to go back to work before I lost my ever loving mind. It just seemed like the kids would keep a log all day while I was at work and hit me with, “Momma, I want/need….” the minute I walked in the door. At least when I work I can blame that for my unruly demons and messy house.

  3. 3 karrie
    June 21, 2007 at 6:00 am

    I weighed in on her post a few days ago, and my opinion that it is irrelevant to debate which role is more difficult stands.

    There are too many variables. Some jobs are real pressure cookers, other working parents have relaxed environments and love what they do. On the stay-at-home side of the equation, it really matters how active your kids are, your own personality and tolerance levels, and how involved your partner is.Although, really those things also come into play if you’re working outside the home too.

    Motherhood is hard. Culturally, the expectations of what makes a “good” mother have never been higher. Parenting is undervalued, isolating and often monotonous, and I think that is true if you’re the primary caregiver or if you combine work and family in some way.

    I can think of moms who WOH, WAH or SAH, who have it “easier” than I do, and likewise, I know I’m relatively privileged compared to other moms I know.

    the right question to ask is how can we help all mothers achieve a better work-life balance? Bickering over who has it worse, or who has it oh-so-easy seems like a waste of time to me.

    And in your situation, I think shifting gears, no matter what the direction, always feels like a relief at first.

    One thing I know for certain: combining a full-time course load with caring for your child because the preschool calendar year ends before college, and you lack backup childcare, is a bitch! 🙂

  4. 4 karrie
    June 21, 2007 at 6:08 am

    One more thought. 🙂

    I think there are honeymoon periods when you are a SAHM. I remember occasionally thinking, “Hey! This is a pretty sweet gig!”, and then the next developmental phase would hit, or some other aspect of my life would change, and I would be right back to thinking it kicks my ass.

    Maybe Lindsay is in one of those “easy” phases of parenting?

  5. June 21, 2007 at 7:06 am

    For the most part from reading those comments, it seems that people are confusing “hard” with “stressful.” Like Kristen said, comparing people that work outside the home with those who do not is an apples and oranges thing. There are way too many variables involved in determinging what’s hard for who. Hell, remembering the alphabet is hard for some people.

  6. June 21, 2007 at 7:56 am

    I agree that it is an apples and oranges debate and highly individual.

    Personally, I have had jobs that are less stressful than SAHMing and jobs that are more stressful as well.

    For me, the hardest thing about staying at home is the emotional stuff. Feeling like my day never ends and that every day is the exact same, feeling like people undervalue what I do (including my husband) or patronize me for “just staying home.”

    On the other hand, I appreciate that I have time to garden as much as I want and I can cook the way I like (slow) because I am not exhausted from an 8 or 10 hour work day outside my home. I can take a nap if I need it on any given day. I don’t have to heap 80 loads of laundry on top of a full time job. All the stuff I do now I would have to do if I worked. Why would I want 2 full time jobs? I couldn’t do that. I would need a much more involved partner to take on that kind of workload and I love John, but he is not the help-with-the-houswork-kind-of-guy. (He would beg to differ, but we have different “clean” standards.)

    If I spent my day actively keeping my kids stimulated and stuff like some moms I know, maybe this would be hard but we are pretty relaxed (re: lazy 🙂 ). They dig for worms while I garden. They play on the swingset while I clean. It’s not that challenging for me.

  7. June 21, 2007 at 10:10 am

    I think I FEAR it and make it out to be harder than it is.

  8. June 21, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    My personal experience is this. I’m not cut out to be a SAHM. I tried and I failed. It wasn’t pretty.

    But I am an excellent mom. I’ve found the perfect balance for me and for my family. It’s what works best for us, and we’re all very happy as a result.

  9. June 21, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    I think it depends on so many variables, the mother in question, the phase the child is going through, the level of support the mother gets, the amount of things the mother juggles, you name it. If you simplify, it can be a delight at times. If you don’t…well…you run into issues.

  10. June 21, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    What I don’t get is why the argument? Some of the comments for that post really disappoint me. I wish women and mothers in particular did a better job of uplifting other women. Why does it matter who has the harder job; working mothers or SAHM’s? I don’t find being a SAHM of four necessarily hard but exhausting. I’m constantly on the go and that gets tiresome. Working as a nurse in a very busy ICU wasn’t hard either but very stressful. Now working 13 hours at a busy ICU and then coming home and being a mom would be hard for me. I feel fortunate that I don’t have to do that. I just wish SAHM’s got more respect and weren’t made to feel guilty about complaining. Why is it okay to complain about a job outside of the home but moms can’t complain about being a mom, especially if you are a SAHM? Doesn’t seem fair to me.

  11. June 21, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    I’m a SAHM as well as a WAHM and I don’t think it’s THAT hard. Yes, sometimes it’s monotonous and isolating but hard? Please. I can do something about those issues if I really want to. Going to work everyday and being under someone else’s thumb all day is, for me anyway, MUCH harder.

  12. June 22, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    I think it depends on whether your child or children are particularly demanding and how well you can tune things out. Me, I’m not so good at that, so even with one, I have a hard time keeping a grip on my sanity some days.

  13. June 23, 2007 at 7:34 am

    I agree with karrie about the phases. I am in an ‘easy’ phase now and being an SAHM is good, but I’ve also found it pretty hard at times.

  14. June 23, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    It was never a SAHM v. WOHM statement. Some women just used it as a jumping off point to compare the two. I’m comparing it more to the scale of human existence. Most of us SAHMs have it made. So why all the bitching? I’m including myself in that question.

  15. June 27, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    For me, I miss work. I really miss work. It isn’t financially feasible to put 2 kids into day care so here I am. There are times when it is a really sweet gig, but whether it is “easy” or “easier” isn’t my problem. I miss the stimulation and rewards of an “adult” job. I am at home covered in spit up when my husband is off (as I type) being wined and dined by business associates, solving problems, getting kudos. I get a screaming, teething duo and not much else.

  16. June 30, 2007 at 8:05 am

    I can only speak for myself.

    Um YEAH it’s easier! I am my own boss, I set my own hours, make my own rules! I don’t have to ride the guilt seesaw: not enough time with the kids/not enough time at work.

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