Stay-At-Home Moms :: I Was Wrong, And I’m Sorry
In September, I had an unplanned departure from my job. It was a mutual decision, and long term was for the best for both parties, but it was not on a timeline I was expecting.
I had returned to work from maternity leave for about a month and a half when I found myself in between jobs. Suddenly I had more time to myself during working hours than I have since college. I made the decision to continue sending my kids to daycare during this transition for the sake of structure.
We certainly have had a few days where they played hooky, but I was determined to make finding a job my full-time job.
My days consisted of getting the kids ready for school, early drop-off, and then the day was mine to schedule. I applied for jobs (a lot of jobs), did some consulting and freelance work, interviewed, and then in between tried to keep up with the house.
Let me tell you. That last part, I did not do well.
I have been working full-time for the entirety of motherhood. I love to work. I enjoy going to the office and using my skills and critical thinking and helping businesses thrive. My husband and I have gone through a lot of iterations of chore charts and calendars and schedules to try and keep up the house. It’s not pretty (literally), but we do the best we can.
I assumed that families who have a parent at home full-time have a lot of time on their hands.
They are able to maintain the house, stock the pantry, cook dinner, attend bible studies…how glamorous! Let me tell you something … I have been home less than two months, and it is NOT glamorous. And my kids go to daycare!
I tried to imagine the loads of laundry I was going to put away. I had a mental list of all the big projects I saved for a rainy day that I would just conquer in a matter of days. My kids would have full meals, the chores would be done, and we’d all live happily ever after.
What I experienced instead was chore burnout, feeling like there was not enough time in the day to accomplish what I wanted, guilt for sending my kids to school when I had time at home, and a lot of mental gymnastics around those topics.
My very wrong assumptions about what it is to stay at home were changed.
Devoting your life to your kids, to your home, to your family, is arguably more selfless than going to work. It is a sacrifice to serve everyone but yourself all day long. I could not have been more wrong, and I could not be more sorry for judgments I am guilty of making.
I used to wear the moniker of “Working Mom” like a badge of honor, but I realize that all moms work. Whether in the home or in the office, being a parent is hard work. All parents sacrifice. We have far more in common than we do differences.