Dear working mother,
You’re standing across the room looking at me with a death stare while telling the person next to you how amazing I have it. You inform them that my house is immaculate and my child is just perfect. You both comment on how well rested I look and how well put together I am.
I notice as I walk towards your group you get real hushed voices and look down. I engage in conversation and the whole time I feel like a failure. You talk about how rough your work week has been and that your laundry is piled up so you can’t go out this weekend….wait for it… “I’m sure your laundry is always done, folded and put away by the time your husband gets home from work..” There it is you are assuming again and will all know what that does for us. I just kindly say “oh, not hardly.” You respond with “yeah right you are home all day every day your house is spotless and your laundry perfectly folded in its place.” What I don’t tell you is how hard you hurt me. I wish you would just slap me in the face and keep your mouth shut rather than hear the things you said.
If you’d ever come to my house and I wish you would… You would see my house isn’t immaculate, my floors are unswept with a sticky spit bigger than Idaho, the laundry is overflowing, the dishes are piling, the bed isn’t made, the toilets are atrocious, there is a cobweb over the sink, the kitchen table is covered and my hair looks as if it hasn’t been washed in two days…because it hasn’t.
I may be home all day everyday but when you sit down at your desk to type up that new contract I am fighting a baby over nap time while trying to get just one load of laundry washed, dried, and maybe just maybe if the baby stays down that load will get folded and put away.
A few minutes has passed since we last spoke and your group starts telling me how lucky I am to be able to stay home. “It must be nice to workout every day, no wonder your skinny” “How many hours do you get to spend at the gym?” well actually if you must know I don’t make it to the gym most days. Most of my workouts are the ones you see on pinterest, being done at home while my husband is at the gym or at work himself. Then I am lucky if I get a shower in the next 36 hours let alone a wink of sleep.
I want you to understand that everything that you experienced in the 6 weeks of maternity leave is NOT how life as a stay at home mom works. In those first six to eight you have endorphins running through your body along with adrenaline and what I like to call the new mom high. You are so in love with the precious little bundle of joy that nothing matters. It doesn’t matter what your house looks like when everyone stops by to see your new baby. It doesn’t matter that your hair isn’t done, that you have no make up on, and that you are probably wearing the same yoga pants from the day before. It is acceptable because you just pushed a 5-10lb baby out the parts nobody wants to think of at the moment. It’s acceptable because you are probably changing your diaper as many times as you are changing the babies diaper.
However, at this point you have started counting down the days that you return to work. I am sure it is a hard time for you. I can’t imagine leaving my child for a few hours to run errands let alone dropping him off for the entire day. I know that you struggle with this, I do. At the same time I envy you too. I wish that it didn’t give me an anxiety attack leaving my child for ten minutes. I wish I had the strength to let him stay with someone for a few hours. Okay here is where I hopefully open your eyes to what happens once you return to work.
Now that you have returned to work I am still at home every day and it is no longer acceptable to be in yoga pants 24/7, it is no longer acceptable to let the dishes pile, the laundry set in the basket for days. Your baby needs you from the time you get up to the time you go to bed. He wants to be held, he needs a diaper, he needs a bottle…..and right as you get that load of laundry started he needs to be held, he needs a diaper, he needs a bottle… and by this time you have long forgotten about that load of laundry that you put in the wash.
So, yes to answer your questions my life is wonderful and I love, absolutely LOVE my job. I am a mom 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. The grass will always be greener on the other side of the fence and I know that my life just looks wonderful as a stay at home mom and it trully is but that does NOT mean my house is clean, my laundry is done, I hit the gym daily, my hair is never done, and 99% of the time that load of laundry was washed three times, dried a handful of times, and it probably set on my table or couch for a few days before it got folded and put away…if it ever made it to the closet.
The reason I look so put together when you see me is because it is the ONLY day I have a reason to put on my make up, do my hair, spritz that perfume and put on my skinny jeans. I honestly don’t know why you aren’t in yoga pants and a messy bun as it is your ONLY day to not have to put on your face and hair.
Neither of us are better than the other we just live different lives. My point in this is that we ARE both mothers. We both have jobs that are important. You provide for your family by leaving the house every day. I provide for my family by taking care of our son and the house every day. Why talk bad about the other? Why put the other down? It isn’t all rainbows and sunshine being a stay at home mom. It has it’s mondays, a lot more mondays than Fridays. I just hope that this will help you appreciate the little things about being a working mom that you haven’t noticed before.
You are a GREAT mother. You are doing what is BEST for YOUR child. However, you are NOT better than me and I am NOT better than you.
a tired stay at home mom