Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

Hey, have you guys seen this Gallup poll "Stay-at-Home Moms Report More Depression, Sadness, Anger"?  It's been making the rounds 'round the net the last few days, with responses ranging from "of course stay-at-home-mom's are more depressed, why the heck would someone do that?" to "well of course being a stay-at-home-mom is hard, but does that make it not worth doing?"

I thought I'd address the other side of it, as a stay-at-home-mom who would, at this moment if anyone asked me, report a rather low worry/sadness/stress/anger/depression level, but on the other hand, really hated working a full time job when I had one and no kids.

My two kids (3 and 4) wake me up somewhere between 5 and 7am every day, and, just so you know, I would much rather be woken up by raspberries being blow into my hair than an alarm clock beep-beep-beeping at me.

The kids potty, and then watch cartoons for an hour or so while I set up my french press and drink the whole thing while I try to wake up.  We finally get cleaned up and breakfasted, and, if the weather's nice, head to the park/playground, where we stay until lunch time.  Yup, that's three hours where the kids play in the warm sun, and I sit on a park bench and, while I keep half an eye on them at all times, I sip coffee and read.

We come home, eat lunch, and they go down for "nap time," though only one of them actually sleeps. This is when I get stuff done, I clean whatever needs to be cleaned, I pay my bills, I write a random blog article, look up Ryan Gosling get the idea.

After nap time, we play Candyland until my three-year-old starts screaming that she wants to be on the ice cream square NOW, and then we color or play with lego or something like that.  We discuss ABCs and 123s and talk about Life, the Universe, and Everything.  Eventually, they go play by themselves, and I make dinner...if they are all up in my business, I turn on a cartoon to distract them.  No guilt here, I'd rather they watch an extra hour of tv than burn themselves trying to trip me while I cook.

Family dinnertime when hubs gets home, and then I clean up while hubs plays Donkey Kong or Mario with the kids, and then we take turns going for a walk/jog/run.

Now, I don't know what it's like being a working mom, but I did work full time before I was a mom.  My day consisted of alarm clocks, bad coffee at work, uncomfortable chairs, harsh florescent lighting, irritated customers, ineffectual managers, and take out for dinner.  We had a perpetually messy house, and no energy to do anything.

I was worried about money, even though we had two incomes neither were very good, and I didn't have time/energy to work on a budget or even learn how to do a budget, plus we ate out so often since we didn't know how to cook and both of us came home starving.

I was sad, my whole life revolved around spending most of my waking hours in a place I disliked with people who I didn't care for and didn't care for me, for the most part.

I was stressed, yes.  I was angry occasionally.  I probably wasn't depressed, but I don't lean in that direction naturally.

What I took away from this poll is that there women who are staying at home with their kids when they obviously need something else, just as there are women who are working who would rather be with their kids.  Being a working mom isn't for everyone.  Being a stay-at-home-mom isn't for everyone.  It does work for me, though.

Disclaimer: I am mostly in the "of course being a stay-at-home-mom is hard, but does that make it not worth doing?" camp, but I also think if you're miserable, do something else.  "Do something else" doesn't necessarily mean send the kids to daycare and get a job, though; I think most of our mom stress comes not from what we are doing, but the preoccupation that we are doing it wrong.  If you file a piece of paper wrong at work, who gets hurt? but if your kid eats too much gluten, doesn't get visually stimulated by a Sophie Giraffe, watches too many episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba, and then knocks over a 7-11 on your watch, that's all on you.  That's stress, my friend.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! :) Our day obviously looks a little different since B is now school age and I homeschool him, but even on the days that ARE more stressful - they still beat going to a job for me, too!