Stay @ Home Moms & Privilege
There’s been a lot of stuff going around the tumblr lately about the privilege of someone being able to stay at home to raise their family, race, class - how it suddenly changes if you get divorced, etc. etc. etc.
Lots of other people have said lots of stuff about this much better than I would.
There’s one other point that I wanted to bring up, though: If we (society) truly believed that the most important, most fulfilling and most honorable job a person could ever do was to be a stay-at-home-parent, men would be clamoring for this job. Lots of father-rights laws would be passed. Men would be content to let their wives go about the business of the world and would be expected to take care of the laundry, the dishes, the errands and, of course, the kids. They would leave the other stuff (business, politics, etc.) up to the women.
I’m not saying that being a mother isn’t an important job. I’m just saying, we clearly don’t really think that it’s THE most important. I actually have known some single dads, some stay at home dads and have some male friends who wish longingly they could be stay at home dads. They’re all in the minority and some of them are kind of sheepish about admitting they would prefer to be stay-at-home parents. Because we don’t actually value the stay at home parent the way we like to talk about. (Again “we” in the general sense).
Stay at home moms get the shit end of the deal.
While our partners/husbands/baby daddy’s go to work and have a set number of hours they are expected to be there we aren’t afforded that luxury.
And bread winners…don’t think because you are in an actual “work environment” as opposed to us, and that just because our “offices” have a couch or a television that we actually get to sit on it and watch anything.
Ask yourself this?
How many times have you been engaged in a project and had to stop everything you were doing because you needed to wipe your bosses ass?
How many times while you were on a “break”, did you have to put your lunch down so you could make your associate a bowl of cereal because if you didn’t it would be all “temper tantrum fuckery” screwing up the flow of your day?
Yes…I get to sit down once in a while.
Yes, there is a bed and couch in my office.
Yes, I don’t have a dress code, and can do my job in mismatched pajamas.
But at the end of the day, when your 10 hour shift is over…mine continues. When you’re stripping off your boots, or your tie at the door anxious to get comfortable and unwind, Mine interrupts my rest. Mine still needs me even after I put in hours of over time. Mine doesn’t care about rush hour traffic, or a headache, or exhaustion.
I chose this profession willingly. I understand what it entails. Just like I understand the other side of this debate, and know what it’s like to be away from my kids and have to work a 9-5 everyday.
But, even then…even when I worked outside the home, I still didn’t get to use that as an excuse for not contributing. I still had to MOM up.
So, until the work of a mother ends when she gets to punch out and have her “shift” end, please don’t lessen what it is we do by comparing our jobs to yours.
Small Insides Update
Diarrhea again this morning. When will it end?
Nothing much new happened besides that. I thought I’d tell you about my life with gluten in the working world.
I work part time on a small internet business, the rest of my day is spent being a housewife. Some people really resent me for it (omg the pressure from the in laws sucked), but it’s the best for my husband and I, and I always wanted to be a stay at home mom.
But it wasn’t always like this. I’ve held a few jobs over the years - receptionist for a hair salon, helping a PA with her insurance paperwork, an office job, a video store. All of these things were hell-ish for me, partly because of gluten.
The worst were the office and retail jobs. I would get tired really easily, go to the bathroom 5 times a day, and couldn’t concentrate, thereby getting yelled at, leading to small anxiety attacks and breakdowns. I developed a nasty staph infection on my face that looked and felt disgusting. Every other day I would feel feverish and have stomach upset. I cried almost every night while I was working the office job and the video store job. I lost 15 lbs, and looked anorexic, but I wasn’t eating because I was so stressed and sick all the time. The period surrounding these two jobs is kind of a blur because I was sick 90% of the time.
The frustrating thing is, the way I am now (healthy, full of energy, super alert) I would actually do ok in those jobs. But now I’m used to being by myself most of the day, and being my own boss. If I get sick from gluten it’s ok to take naps and be lazy. My husband doesn’t mind as long as we get dinner on the table somehow, even if it’s just pancakes from a mix or scrambled eggs. It’s an excuse to sit around and watch movies.
I don’t know how you guys do it, working 8-12 hour day jobs while trying to deal with Celiacs or gluten intolerance.
I do a lot.
Making sure I get a shower and do my hair and makeup every day so I don’t feel like a bum.
Taking care of the kids - playing with them, changing diapers, giving baths, feeding them (and trying to make sure the toddler eats fairly healthy), handling every nap time and bed time, kissing boo boos and massaging achy tummies, preventing meltdowns, teaching numbers and colors and ABCs, trying to be gentle and respectful while still getting things done.
Making sure the bills get paid on time, groceries bought, the kids have enough clothes that fit. Planning birthday parties and play dates and outings. Making sure to visit various family members from time to time so nobody complains of not being able to see the kids.
Making sure the house stays clean - cleaning the bathroom every morning, washing clothes and diapers every day, washing all of the bedding once a week, doing the dishes twice a day, vacuuming almost every day. mopping the floors once a week, cleaning countertops and tables and windows and TV screens covered in little fingerprints. Picking up toys that belong in the play room from every other room in the house.
Anyone who thinks stay at home moms have it easy is absolutely crazy. I may not get paid for it, but from the moment I wake up to the moment when I can finally go to bed, I am constantly doing something. Even during the night, I’m nursing a newborn and soothing a cranky toddler back to sleep when she wakes.
I don’t think about it much because I’m just doing what I have to do and what I want to do for my family, but when someone asks me what I do all day being a SAHM, I kind of want to scream at them.