This is not an attack on working mothers.
This is a message, an explanation to those who think stay-at-home moms are lazy.
When I was in the work force, I woke up every morning around 6:30, dressed and sent my oldest off to daycare.
I then sat in nearly an hour of traffic and arrived at my job working for an optical shop. I loved my work; loved my co-workers, and I felt accomplished.
During my shift, I would answer phones, file papers, help customers, talk with our insurance coordinator. I enjoyed being told I was efficient and helpful.
I got half an hour for lunch and two, ten-minute breaks during which I would walk and read while I ate.
At the end of an 8-12 hour day, I would sit anxiously in another hour of traffic until I reached my son at an after-daycare sitter. By the time I got him home, fed and bathed, it was bed time. Hours after he was asleep, I would collapse into bed just to start over the next day.
My life now is drastically different but still just as busy and fulfilling if not more so.
Now I wake at 5:50 a.m. so I can read, exercise, write and make the bed. I also get dressed and ready for the day.
The kiddos are usually up by 7. That’s when I go out to the main living room area. I start laundry and do the dishes after making everyone breakfast.
While the little ones work on waking up (it’s a slow process) I start on my daily chores.
After about an hour, I administer baths and they get ready for the day.
9:15 we do some “practice” school to make the fall transition easier.
Then come doling out chores to Tyke 1, wrangling Tyke 2. There are constant meals, diapers, questions, activities and more until dinner.
After dinner there are dishes and the final chores of the evening before my hubby comes home.
Then Tyke 2 is down for the night. An hour later, Tyke 1 follows.
One final sweep of straightening up and then the hubby and I have the evening to ourselves.
It’s not that my work is harder or longer (though I certainly don’t get lunch breaks or time to myself), it’s just that it’s different. I would not trade all the praise of being good at a job for the moments I get with my boys. I would not trade the convenience of a second vehicle if the cost was 2 hours of traffic, 6 days a week. Even the financial finagling is worth leaving behind the sadness I felt every time I dropped my son off for someone else to look after.
I am learning to give myself days off at my husband’s insistence, though.
I have the opportunity to really serve my husband and help in ways that I couldn’t if I were working. Nearly all of the housework is done, so that when he gets home, he is able to just relax. He can spend quality time with the kiddos and not have to worry about a billions things around here. I can spend time coming up with new and better ways to improve our frugality. Having only one income means we have to live within a very restrictive budget, but we manage. It takes time, hard work and the money savers I’ve found or created, but it is possible.
I take these responsibilities seriously.
To me, running the home efficiently is as important as watching over the children. Not only am I leading by example, but I’m also showing my husband that his hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. It gives me a chance to show him my gratitude.
I am so fortunate, but I am not lazy or ungrateful. I am more at peace, but I am not without responsibility.
I challenge all the women today to just realize the judgements you make.
If you’re at home, don’t assume that working mothers somehow care less about their children than you do. Consider the fact their finances may not allow them to be home, or that their family values success and that is the lesson they wish to teach their children. In that regard, they are meeting their family’s goals.
Working Moms, don’t assume stay-at-home women are lazy or leeches. Recognize that putting aside worldly accomplishments is a sacrifice for many, but one they make because they believe that time is precious and that the old way is their way.