These days, the mere mention that being a stay-at-home-mom isn’t a “real job” could have you burned at the stake. In the dictionary, the word “job” is defined by receiving some form of remuneration in exchange for your time. But every parent knows, despite the countless rewards for parenting, there are moments where no amount of cuddles could make us feel like we got paid that day. With the exception of those birthing Bieber-like child celebrities (who might as well come out of the womb with a fistful of Benjamins), parenting is a position with no monetary payout (quite the opposite, actually!).
But a secondary definition of the noun, “job”, really does sum up my idea of parenting: “anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility”.
When we make the decision to have children, we bear the responsibility of providing everything they need to help them grow into well-adjusted adults. With that in mind, I view parenting as more of a responsibility than a “job”.
Call it a job, a responsibility, a life sentence, or whatever else you mutter under your breath when your toddler just rifled through your wallet and glued all your credit cards to the wall, whatever the term may be (…of endearment…of course!….ahem…), we all agree that parenting can be hard work.
Or is it?
Get your matches ready for that stake…some of you might not like this…
I think being a stay-at-home mom is easy.
There, I said it.
I once received an email forward that lamented about all the tedious tasks of being a stay-at-home mom and as I scrolled through them all, I realized that not a single one applied to me. And yet millions of other moms have sent this email around the globe as validation for what a hard job they have.
I don’t get it. What does a stay-at-home mom really have to complain about? Having the luxury of choosing to stay home with my kids while my husband works is nothing short of amazing. In all honesty, managing a home and raising kids seems like child’s play compared to the drama and politics of the corporate world.
I climbed the corporate ladder while raising small children and know the cost that comes attached to that decision. A nanny raised my impressionable babies/toddlers and I missed out on hundreds of hours worth of relationship-building (and life-shaping) opportunities with my boys because I was too busy sipping espressos while gazing out from my corner office to the ocean below.
Of course, that’s just the part I like to remember.
Beneath that shiny facade was a chaotic both-ends-burning kinda life. Busting my hump for 9 hours a day to make money for someone else to enjoy while I rush home to find some semblance of organization in a dinner that hasn’t been planned and a house that hasn’t been cleaned. Worse yet, behind the supposed glamor of being a successful Hybrid Mom, I had a failing marriage and when brutally honest, felt like my children were more of a nuisance than a blessing.
I’ll admit that deciding to leave the corporate world was hard at first. I missed the challenges, and the accolades, that my career offered. But it didn’t take long to realize how much better my life (and my marriage, and my family…) was without those meaningless additions. As the old adage goes, no one looks back from their death bed wishing they had worked harder. And yet what really surprised me was how carefree I felt — I realized that I had spent all these years being stressed to the max without even realizing how stressed I truly was! Suddenly, it was as if all my life responsibilities were chopped in half and I could focus on the things that mattered most — my husband, my kids, my home — without all the added pressures of work. Without even the added pressure of being at work.
Think about that. I get to grocery shop with no one but senior citizens by my side. I make appointments for the middle of the day without having to ask permission. I go on vacation whenever I want. I take naps!
And this is while my kids are only both in school for one hour a day! Imagine what life will be like when they go to full days next year — I won’t know what to do with myself.
Oh wait. Yes I will. I’ll be sipping espresso with my toes actually in the sand…instead of in stilettos.
For all you moms out there who are fortunate enough to stay home, here’s a little theme song for you: