I woke up this morning, and while brushing my teeth (you may begin clapping because brushing my teeth first thing in the morning versus barely remembering at night is praiseworthy in my house), I remembered back to my days spent as a working mother. I remember getting up early, trying to not wake the Monkey Boy, showering, getting dressed, waking the Monkey Boy, feeding the Monkey Boy, putting on make up, feeding myself, dressing the Monkey Boy, putting shoes on everybody and making it out the STUPID door in about an hour flat. And as I spit out my toothpaste, I couldn’t help but think, “That really, really sucked.”
I remember while I was working that I would fantasize about how nice and easy I had it as a stay at home mother. The funny thing about memory, especially mine, is that it tends to idealize situations with time. For instance, while I was going through labor both times I distinctly remember thinking, “I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!” But within minutes of giving birth, I remember thinking “I AM TOTALLY DOING THIS AGAIN!” The only thing that I find that doesn’t get better or rosier with the passage of time is going to the dentist. That blows now, and it will still blow when I am eighty.
So as I was going through my day, I started to think about the misconceptions I had about SAHMs (stay at home moms, for those not familiar with Facebook lingo) after I had gone back to work. I even posted a thread on my Facebook page asking other moms to chime in and the following list is what transpired. Work outside the home moms, eat your heart out! (Kidding, kidding. I am writing about work outside the home moms later. Seriously, I just wanted to say eat your heart out because it is a fun phrase that I just remembered.)
- SAHMs are uneducated. This is total hooey, and I will tell you why. I have learned a ton of really useful crap from watching Ellen, The View and Dinosaur Train. Seriously, Ellen taught me all about vegans and the View really helps keep abreast of politics…and Lindsay Lohan (gag). And I am pretty sure that graduate paleontology students watch Dinosaur Train before taking their finals. All kidding aside, you would be amazed to hear about all of the well educated and informed women that stay at home to raise their children for various reasons.
- SAHMs are LOADED! No, not really. I am sure that there are some SAHMs who are rolling in it. But the vast majority of SAHMs that I have met come from average income families or have made the decision to go without certain luxuries while they stay at home to raise their family. But if you do know a SAHM mom that is rolling in it in the southeastern area of Arizona, have her call me. I would love to have some swanky play dates.
- SAHMs are POOR! No, not really. SAHMs come from all walks of life. Sure there are some that receive government assistance or use other federal programs to get by, but you can’t paint all of us with the same broad stroke. Personally, I fall somewhere in between the loaded and poor spectrum of SAHMs, but I definitely wouldn’t mind finding myself closer to the loaded end of the spectrum. So if you are looking for a charity case…I WILL TOTALLY BE YOURS! Kidding again…unless you want me?
- SAHMs should have really clean houses because they are home all day. I am going to use a really crappy (Ha ha, pun intended! And you will see in a second why!) analogy. Let’s say you eat some bad Thai food and have stomach “issues” as a result. Let’s say that your solution is to spend the entire day on the toilet. So let’s say that you spend eight hours on the toilet. When you walk out of the bathroom, will your bathroom be cleaned? OF COURSE NOT! YOU’VE BEEN DEALING WITH SHIT ALL DAY! Bad analogy, right? But it makes sense! Being at home all day does not equal a clean house. In fact, I take my kids away from the house so that it will stay clean!
- SAHMs are judgmental towards working moms. I think this is a common misconception. Quite frankly, I don’t spend time thinking about whether or not I agree with another person’s parenting choice. Unless they are wrong of course. And then I bitch about it to my husband. Kidding…kind of? Some moms love to work. Some moms have no choice but to work. The bottom line is that as long as a family is happy…and I mean truly happy not Stepford Wives happy, then who am I to judge. P.S. There are days that I totally miss being a working mom. Especially those days where my kids have staged a revolt and there is not teacher’s lounge to retreat to.
- SAHMs love what they do all day long! No, nobody…except for maybe Oprah, loves what they do all day long. Staying at home can be trying. It can make you want to pull your hair out and bitch slap an old lady…or is that just me? At the end of the day, most SAHMs do really love what they do, but sometimes that end of the day takes forever to come around. P.S. If you really want to piss a SAHM off, just tell her that she chose to stay at home. Seriously, if you are feeling ballsy and can duck, try it.
- SAHMs love to do crafts, be their teacher’s pet and host play dates. No, in fact some days I wish that the teacher’s pet would host a play date so my kid could go over there and do some crafts. Planning crafts, sucking up to a teacher and hosting play dates takes a lot of work. It involves a lot of cleaning, a lot of planning and a lot of people pleasing. And I don’t know if you know this, but being a SAHM and taking care of your own kid involves a lot of cleaning, planning and people pleasing as is, and at least when you do it for your own kids you can wear pajamas.