Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An Open Letter to Stay-At-Home-Moms (SAHMs) from a Working Mom (WM)

Dear SAHMs,

Yes, I am envious of you. Yes, I realize how boring your days can be. Yes, I realize that you do work, and lots of it. Yes, I realize that being a SAHM is not all fun & games, nor is it sitting around eating bon-bons. And yes, I am still jealous.

And if you hear me say that I wish I had as much time as you do, it doesn't mean that I think you don't do anything. It means that I can never seem to find the time to do what you do. Which makes sense, because the time isn't there, as I work outside the home.
And yes, there's a part of me that thinks that SAHMs who get upset at WMs who make such comments might just be feeling a little guilty. Or maybe they wish they worked. Or something. Because I have never found a WM who thinks that SAHMs do nothing. So I'm not sure why there are SAHMs who think that comments about time imply that they do nothing. Unless said SAHMs have a guilty conscience about not doing enough. Or something like that.

Oh, back to the fact that I envy you. Why, you ask? Your life is boring, you say? You feel like all you do is take care of kids, do housework, & run errands, you say?
Because I wish I had more time to take care of my daughter. I wish I were there with her, instead of getting reports from whomever is watching her that day.
Because I wish I had time to do more housework, and maybe our home wouldn't be a constant disaster. And I'd like to actually cook a meal once in a while. A real meal. That would be nice. And healthier for my family. And a better example for FireGirl.
Because I wish I had time to run errands. That trips to the grocery wouldn't be crammed into evenings or weekends. That I didn't pay extra to order stamps online because squeezing in a trip to the post office with FireGirl seems like a nightmare.
Because I would like to actually find a playgroup for FireGirl that meets regularly. And take her to classes & such without feeling like I'm cramming yet one more thing into our days.
Because I would like to take FireGirl to an appointment at her pediatrician's without having to take off work, yet again, and feeling like in order to take care of my child, I have to let my coworker's down.

So that's why I envy you. That's why I wish had the time that you do. Not that I think you don't work, but because as a working mom I'm trying, desparately trying, and repeatedly failing, to cram in all that childcare, housework, and errands into a few measly hours in the evening. You see, just because I'm a working mom doesn't mean I can afford a nanny, cleaning lady, cook, or go-fer. It means that after being gone 8+ hours at my paying job, I come home to my mommy job, and try to do it all. I come home from my paying job, and still have to do the cooking, cleaning, bathing, playing, grocery shopping, wiping of runny noses, changing of diapers, laundry, garbage duty, etc, etc, etc.

Just because I work outside the home doesn't mean that I don't come home to all of these tasks being done. It means that I have that much less time to do it in. Especially for those of us whose husbands are gone quite a bit. Think about all the work you do during the day, every day. Now, try to imagine what it would be like to go to work, be gone for 8+ hours, come home tired from your paying job, and still have that mountain of chores to do. Can you imagine it? Now, do you understand why I envy you? Now do you understand why you hear comments about SAHMs having "more time", "free time", etc.?

Thank you.

A Working Mom

PS - more on being a WM later.

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