What do you do all day?

Let me tell you about my average day. I am a stay at home parent. I hum and sing happy songs while dancing and twirling all day long because I have nothing else to do. I am always so well rested and can do whatever I want. When the kids need me I gleefully oblige to all their needs with pleasure, even when I am in the middle of something important. My hair is all done up, my make-up perfect and I always smell so sweet. Everyone should be so lucky to have it as easy as this.  1950-housewife

On a regular basis I hear things similar to the following:

You’re at home? What do you do all day?

It must be nice to relax all day.

How can you be stressed? You can do whatever you want.

Maybe you should get a part-time job, it would get you out of the house. Blank is hiring you should apply.

Must be nice to sleep in everyday.

All she does is go on bike rides and play dates.

She is a stay at home mom, she doesn’t do anything.

I would be so bored at home, it’s not for me but it’s ok for you.

Should one more person make a derogatory comment about stay at home parents or imply how good we have it, I just might snap. Stay at home parents get a bad rap. I have been on both sides and both have pros and cons. Look, are we not all on the same side here? There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing to stay home and work there or work outside the home.

battle over working momsBeing a stay at home parent is one of the toughest but most rewarding jobs there is. It is the equivalent to holding three full-time jobs at the same time in different fields. It has taken me two years to be comfortable even saying that I am a stay at home mom without adding what I use to do or want to do or anything else in the title. I run my business from home which has been rough as I have less time now than I did when I was working outside the home.  Please let me have the benefit of the doubt and trust I am doing the right thing by being at home. Don’t judge me. Don’t assume you know what I do or don’t do on a daily basis. Please don’t tell me I have all day to do what I want. Please stop sending me referrals for jobs and handing out career advice. This is not meant to be seen as a complaint; rather a set of facts and reality.

Let me give you the 411 on what it is really like:

wahm-Multi-taskingI am a stay at home parent. I am at work 24/7 and never get a day off. I have time shower every two to three days. My uniform is old t-shirts and ratty track pants coupled with my hiking or my rubber boots depending in the weather. I have one jacket. When I am sick, I still need to work and bring my A game because my bosses depend on me for everything. I am not afforded sick days. My time is consumed with questions, interruptions, training, educating, correcting, disciplining and crying.  Not to mention the usual tasks i.e. cooking, cleaning, laundry, paying bills, dealing with everything and anything that has to do with the kids, cars or house. I rarely receive any recognition for a job well done – or even a job done. My breaks are limited and overtime is mandatory every day. I need to be flexible and able to switch gears on a dime and I am always on alert. The pay sucks and I will never get a raise. My bosses are brash, full of attitude and have high expectations. But they are also the sweetest, funniest, most loving people in my life.  I have learned so much in the last two years that I would not trade this experience for anything. My girls trust me with everything and in return I have been able to show them all of me. The good and the bad, and they still love me regardless. The pros outweigh the cons for our family for a variety of reasons. We won’t be able to renovate, there will not be a vacation (unless it’s free!!), and I can’t shop for me and treat myself to new shoes or a cute purse.  No more spas or pedicures. I cut down on my hair appointments and no more colored hair. My husband and I go to the movies separately or bring one child because it is too costly for all of us to go at once. No more restaurant dinners, impromptu road trips. This year I spent my birthday money on swimming lessons for the kids. Christmas gifts will be sparse this year, and we still have the same old small fake tree with an eclectic mix of old and older ornaments and I would not have it any other way.

Finally if you can’t at least open your mind to the idea that being at home with kids is a real and a tough job, I would appreciate if you could keep your trap shut and walk away.

Thank you.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ana74x on December 5, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    Oh, how I hear you! I have written about this exact same thing, and I totally agree with you. Never enough acknowledgment or credit. Great post 🙂

    Reply

  2. Posted by Boo on December 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    who’s saying you do nothing?

    Reply

    • Posted by ANDREA SCHAEFER on December 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks for the question!! A lot of people actually. Not always directed at myself, and sometimes people forget I am no longer out in the workforce and remark about others, sometimes it is directed at me. A lot of the comments I mentioned in the post are from my own experience. Just like most other things in life – people make assumptions …ignorance is an epidemic in our culture. Not just on this topic, but on so many more as I am sure you are aware of.

      Reply

  3. Posted by twinmama27 on May 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Thank you! My hackles go up everytime my husband says, “What have you been doing all day?” My response is always, “Eating Bon bons, watching soap operas and lazing about on the couch. That’s why you have clean clothes, supper on the table, happy children and can walk through the house without tripping over toys.”

    Reply

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