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I Never Go To Work

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”.

Details. Details.

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.

Checkmate.

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

For all you moms out there who are fortunate enough to stay home, here’s a little theme song for you:

Discussion

17 thoughts on “I Never Go To Work

  1. Thanks for this encouragement Tasha. Even though I don’t yet have kids and pretty much everyone who knows me would say I’m “the natural motherly type”, it has become so clear to me that I’ll need to refer back to this when I do go through that transition from career woman to Mama. This is tune often not sung by women these days and I can vouch that once upon a time you would have laughed at someone who said you would be singing it one day :). God is so good to give us grace as we need it to do what he requires of us (being unselfish, putting the needs of our spouse and kids before our own, being a stay at home mom -if like you say we can afford that luxery)

    Posted by Erin Philps | April 9, 2012, 2:22 pm
    • Great to hear from you Erin! You of all people know just how insanely upside down my viewpoints are now compared to when I first got married. Oy! How little I knew back then!!

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | April 9, 2012, 7:35 pm
  2. Way to sing a song about it! hahaha… I completely agree with many of your points. I remember the first session of my mommy group everyone was talking about how their life had changed since baby came. One of the mom’s brought up that their life was more scheduled than when they didn’t have baby. I kept thinking to myself, wow, when I worked I had my days and weeks completely planned out so that I could get all the work I had to do done. I think it depends what kind of working life you come from. Some people’s jobs are not very demanding.

    I also think the demands of parenting are very different depending on the age of your child/children. I have a friend with three little boys. When her third one was born, they were all under the age of 5… considering the spread of their ages, I don’t think any of their naps lined up and she probably didn’t get a lot of down time, or even much sleep during the night! There are those stages where you’re essentially “surviving”, but you’re there for all the wonderful moments and memories as well.

    I plan on going back to work in the fall, partly because I’m passionate about my career, and partly because it plays a role in our financial stability. I do hope for us to be in the position where I will have the luxury to work part time (take only two teaching blocks instead of three or four) so that I can maintain some semblance of work-life balance.

    I think it’s good that you recognize, for lack of a better way of putting it, how great you have it. I think sometimes (and here I might get in trouble) SAHMs forget that the same responsibilities and pressure fall on working moms, except they don’t get time during the day to deal with them. That said, the break from the little ones and the opportunity to step back into the adult world can be a welcome change as well!

    Posted by Natalie B | April 9, 2012, 7:04 pm
    • Well said, Natalie. You and I are some of the lucky few who run a tight ship (and like it that way!). And you’re totally right…the type of job we hold makes a HUGE difference. Part of my problem was that I had a career that involved 24/7 engagement. I think if I had been working a job with fewer responsibilities, I probably would have handled things differently/better…maybe!

      I think being able to teach part-time is an awesome idea and hope it works out for you! And to have summers off makes teaching a great “working mom” career!

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | April 9, 2012, 7:41 pm
  3. Great article, Tash!
    I think being a stay-at-home mom is a great career move and would have loved to have done that myself – unfortunately not all of us have, or had, the financial capability to do so. You’re very fortunate that you can and it’s nice that you realize how lucky you are!

    Posted by Liz | April 9, 2012, 8:17 pm
  4. I completely agree with the stress factor part Tash, I don’t think I realized how stressed I was while I was working full time until after I was home with Sydney. I think ideally life is what you make of it, if you choose to see everything that is “wrong” with your life, that is the life you will sow. But if you choose to see and count every tiny little blessing your life is just so much more fullfilling. Being a full time SAHM has been the best decison Tim and I ever made, I too feel so very blessed to have the beautiful gift of raising my own child, and being there for my husband 100% of the time. I am looking forward to continuing on this journey with our new little addition in the fall.

    From the very lips of society I am deemed “just a mother”

    Often over looked, misunderstood and undervalued

    But uttered from the very lips of my child “Mother” is a sweet song unto my ears

    ~a vocation of the heart~

    Posted by Melissa | April 12, 2012, 4:17 am
    • So true, Melissa! Whether we are working or staying at home with our kids, having a gracious heart and appreciating even the little things makes a HUGE difference in our attitude and our outlook!

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | April 13, 2012, 4:07 pm
  5. This was a timely post for me as I just received confirmation in the mail today from my governing body the College of Dental Sergeons of BC that they acknowledged that I have now retired from the profession as a Certified Dental Assistant and removed me from their registrar. A big step for me as this has been my career for the last almost 10 years. I had considered holding my license as “non practicing” but there would have been costs as well as continuing education =(more costs) and for what? My husband and I both agree that we are willing to make sacrifices for me to stay home permanently.

    Mixed feelings for sure, glee, relief, gratitude for the privlidge, but also the odd doubt poking at me. It is one thing to make the decision to stay home, it is a much bigger one to retire from your proffesion, knowing that it would take significant effort to regain my former status. But I know that it is the right decision and I know it is where I am meant to be.

    Tosha knows how far we have come, coming up on married 10 years, with an 8 month old and another bun in the oven, 3 years ago children weren’t even in the plans. No big surprise to anyone it was something that this crazy lady said that made me seriously consider my choices about having kids. Love her to bits.

    Thanks for your post Tosh. I for one need a kick in the pants from time to time to be reminded what a blessed life I have. Sometimes I go down the road of self pity. I know I am not at the same stage as you and I wouldn’t call what I am doing “easy” just yet but it is easy to forget how unpleasant and unrewarding the real world is too.

    Posted by Kristi.D | April 12, 2012, 8:43 pm
    • Wow…too funny Kristi! How does this not surprise me AT ALL?!

      I totally know what you’re feeling though. For the first few years, there was a nagging voice in my head that reiterated all the things society feeds you when you contemplate staying at home. Stuff about my skills being ancient when I decide to return to work, that I’d lose my intelligence from spending all my time with children, that I’d lose my sense of identity and become “just a mom”, etc etc. Now I look at all the women in power suits rushing through Starbucks so they can slam a coffee before hitting their days worth of meetings and I laugh at how silly all my concerns were! You are in the thick of it now (with infants) but I tell ya, when you get to this age where you can simply take a seat and sip a coffee while you chat with your kids about the day, the weather, their dreams, whatever — it really puts things in perspective and makes me realize how awesome I have it!

      Plus, I get to volunteer for organizations that I believe in (and WANT to support) which helps keep my skills fresh and current — and on MY terms!

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | April 13, 2012, 4:06 pm
  6. I’ve been enjoying your blog Natasha! I’ve visited a couple times and have gleaned lots of great info!!! Thanks for putting the time in to share your journey. You’re inspiring!

    While I promise not to get out any matches, I will say this:
    I feel compelled to say on behalf of all the mothers out there who find themselves wanting to hide under a rock somewhere or slip out the door and run full speed in any given direction without looking back… this can and often is one of the most emotionally and psychologically trying jobs that exists, coming with it, the potential for great reward and heartbreak. I might be using hyperbole….but I dare say: end of story. It gets easier when children spend some time of the week in school, when they can entertain, eat, poop, put themselves to sleep with less assistance, not to mention, speak and understand language!!!! I think I understand the gist of what you are saying: that working outside of the home can and often complicate things because it’s so easy and often necessary to prioritize the stress that comes from places external to the family. I would probably flip out if someone brought me coffee in the wrong cup at work if I was going through my day with a wet soggy chest, going home to sleepless nights, endless god forsaken piles of laundry, zero personal space, a hangry, stressed husband…..never mind trying to use cloth diapers, make healthy whole foods, working out or trying to figure out how not to screw up your children. When someone can find peace with their identity as a mother and find ways artistically (or otherwise) to express themselves and their purpose (like you have), I think that in those cases, it can be the easiest job in the world because you love it…not necessarily because it’s actually easy. I do hate to generalize though – so of course, it’s different for everyone. Everyone is blessed with different skill sets and coping tools…etc etc.

    I just wanted to make sure to encourage the stay at home parents out there to cut themselves a little slack for getting overwhelmed and having a hard time coping. It’s a season and before you know it, it’s over. You will again be able to shower without a toddler clawing to get in with you, sleep through the night, have dinner a little late without end-of-the-world melt downs or heart palpitations when find your toddler sucking the scissors you accidentally left out earlier when your infant started screaming. One day, against all reason, you may even wish you could have it all back. Ha! Try to savor the moments….they can be oh so delicious, precious and fleeting.

    cindy

    Posted by cindy | April 25, 2012, 10:05 pm
    • You hit the nail on the head, Cindy. I can offer personal testimony to wanting to “run full speed in any given direction without looking back”! I chose to return to work when the boys turned 16 months of age. I see now that the decision was totally based out of fear, panic, and just being stressed out.

      So I agree that it does get a LOT easier as the kids get older. I can’t help but feel a little smug when I see the women in their power suits busting through Starbucks to get a latte they won’t even really drink before their next meeting, while I sip a coffee and wait for my kids to get out of school. But sure, there were 4-5 years of non-stop child-rearing before that!! 😉

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | April 30, 2012, 9:32 pm
  7. I feel like you wrote this article especially for me! I’ve been considering staying at home for the past few months and it seems as though I’m getting all the signs that I need to do that, including this blog post. I have all of the same concerns that you did, but I feel like I’m not being a good wife or mother because I have too many other things to worry about. Thank you, Thank you, Thank YOU for writing this article!!

    Posted by Liz | May 15, 2012, 9:49 am
  8. I’m on the other end of the time line. I stayed home and raised five amazingly wonderful children who are all college educated and successful. Now as an empty nester I’ve re entered the work place. I watch a co worker, who has two little children under age five, drop them at day care in the dark of morning, for her 1 hour commute to our office. Then at the end of the day she commutes the same hour back and picks them up from day care in the dark of night. What time does she spend with her kids? Breakfast and bath time?? Who’s raising those babies?
    Honestly this is so sad!!
    So Kudos to you for seeing the value in motherhood and being honest about it.
    And when those little kids of yours are in school all day…you will find you don’t have time to sip espresso with your toes in the sand. Because your time will be filled with volunteering at the school, participating on committees for this fundraiser or that fundraiser, coaching that sports team, etc.
    Yeah I thought I was going to be able to relax too when they all were in school…it doesn’t happen!! : )

    Posted by Michelle | January 10, 2013, 12:43 pm
    • I agree! We’ve actually started homeschooling so any “free” time I had is gone! 🙂

      Posted by Natasha (Domestica) | January 10, 2013, 8:47 pm
      • Good for you!!! I always wanted to do that..but two of my boys had slight learning disabilities (struggled with reading and speech) and I just didn’t feel like I had the skill set to give them the best possible start. Of course too that was “back in the day” when homeschoolers were pretty much a new thing and resources were limited.

        I really enjoy your blog!! Keep up the good work!

        Posted by Michelle | January 11, 2013, 2:14 pm

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