You see it all started when my husband came home the other day and asked me if I had read this on Facebook. It actually really bothered him, on my behalf. Because he admires and respects me as a mother and has often said he could never do what I do. Also, because some “rube” as he put it, dared say to me once “It’s not like I get to sit home all day like you do. I have to go to work.” Yes this person is still alive… barely. I have learned to exercise great restraint over the years.
It’s hard to read as the picture is small, so I’ve copied it below.
“Dear Carolyn: Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): What’d you do today? Her: Park, play group… OK. I’ve talked to parents. I don’t get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners … I do all those things, too. I guess what I’m asking is: What is a typical day and why don’t moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events); I manage to get it all done. I’m feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy, but if so, why won’t my friend tell me the truth? Is this a contest (“my life is so much harder than yours”)? What’s the deal? I’ve got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks have the same questions. — Tacoma, Wash.”
Sounds to me like you “child-free” folks don’t have a clue! Let me be clear… Not “all” child free folks, but certainly the ones in which this person is referring. I’m going to try to refrain from calling this person names like “ignorant, self-centered moron” and explain in terms they understand.
I work at 157 Dennis Ave — as a home engineer a.k.a mother. It’s my office. My hours are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On occasion, I put in time off requests and take a few hours to myself. I don’t get sick days or paid vacation. My pay is not cash, but unconditional love and affection from my children. However, like in a business setting where personal phone calls are frowned upon, I don’t have a great deal of time or energy for them. But I do try to keep in touch with friends.
“What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners … I do all those things, too.”
Do you? Do you do all those things with exhausted, busy children? Do you get two, three, or four children ready for school and daycare in the morning, than yourself. Do you get them all in the car and to their destinations on time as well as yourself to work, no less having had three hours of sleep the night prior or perhaps two nights prior?! Do you take them to the grocery store and fight with them as they pull things off the shelves, try to climb out of the cart almost killing themselves and scream and cry while you’re unloading your groceries in line… because they can’t have the pack of gum they ripped from the display? I don’t think you do.
I encourage this person and those who agree with their comments to come over and go through my day with me, maybe then they’ll understand a little better. Perhaps they should read my blog. I’m sure it’ll paint a much clearer picture of “what I do” all day, EVERY DAY. Maybe they could contact a few of my friends who are fantastic moms that have two full-time jobs. At home and at the office, not to mention the third — being a wife! And that’s not including the parent’s that don’t have a spouse or at least one that participates.
I’ll see you around 1:30 a.m. when my day starts with a bottle and diaper change and soothing my seven month old back to sleep because she is teething, has a fever, or is just plain fussy. Then I’ll continue to wake you up as my morning continues. Here’s a little glimpse of my schedule.
- 2:30 a.m. – two-year old is awake and screaming. Working on taking a bottle away, but is waking up the house crying for a bottle. Take him downstairs, fix bottle and fight him back to sleep for the next 2 hours.
- 4:30 a.m. – baby up again, has pooped up back and through onesie. Change, clean up, feed and try to get back to sleep. (approx time awake 1 hour)
- 6:00 a.m. – up to put binkie in baby’s mouth and sooth back to sleep.
- 6:45 a.m. – up with all four children. Prepare older boys for school. Make coffee, breakfast, get boys dressed, argue with youngest about brushing teeth, double-check book bags, i.e., are all papers signed, gym clothes, boots for outside, sneakers, change of clothes.
- 7:45 am – boys out the door to school.
- 8:00 am – change baby’s diaper and bottle.
- 8:15-8:30 am – 2 year old crying needing my undivided attention and diaper change.
- 8:30 am – fix him breakfast, clean up breakfast and dishes, vacuum, pick up toys.
- 9:15 am – change diapers again.
- 9:30 am – laundry trying to keep 2 year old from tearing apart the piles of folded clothes while I put them away and fight with him to stay off his sister.
- 10:00 am – bottle for baby and down for a nap.
- 10:30 am – dress and wash up 2 year old.
- 10:45 am – brush my teeth, wash face and get dressed.
- 11:00 am – clean up messes 2 year old made while getting dressed.
- 11: 15 am – baby awake, change diaper, wash up, and dress for the day.
- 11:45 am – load little ones in the car to run errands. Unload and load multiple times in and out of stores. All the while trying to stay ahead of nap time and handle crying exhausted children in line at grocery store.
- 1:00 pm – get home, unload miserable exhausted hungry children and try to get little ones fed and down for naps. Unpack groceries.
- 2:30 pm – little ones napping. Pick up house, run vacuum again downstairs, throw in more laundry. 5 year old home from school. Review day, fix snack, pick up shoes and book-bag and other school stuff.
- 3:00 pm – 11 year old home from school. Fix snack, help with homework, review day.
- 4:00 pm – baby awake, needs diaper change and bottle.
- 4:30 pm – 2 year old awake needs diaper change and snack.
- 5-6:30 pm – all four children demanding your constant attention, all needing you then and there while fighting and rough housing. Prepare dinner, get 11 year old out the door for practice. Husband home, review his day.
- 6:45 pm – serve dinner and fight with children to eat it. Feed baby.
- 7:15-8:30 pm – pick up 11 year old, give him dinner, clean up from dinner, baths and bedtime preparation.
- 8:30 pm – baby and 5 year old hopefully in bed. Pick up and try to settle 2 year old.
- 9:30 pm – try to have a conversation with husband. 11 year old comes down and needs attention.
- 10 pm – 2 year old still up, 11 year old fighting you to go to bed.
- 10:30 pm – in bed wrestling 2 year old to sleep. 11 year old repeatedly getting out of bed and coming into room.
- 11 pm – exhausted you try to wait everyone out, but fall asleep with 2 year old poking you in the face.
- 11:30 pm – hopefully, everyone is asleep.
This is a basic schedule that does not include a number of other events that take place. Like sick children, sick parents, showering, going to the bathroom, making beds, caring for the outside of your house, destruction of property by children, school events, doctors appointments, dentist appointment, E. R. visits (usually occurring in the middle of the night), sporting events, dance class, piano lessons etc…
Here’s the deal. Being a parent period is a full-time job whether you stay home or not. There are plenty of moms that work 2 full-time jobs. One at the office and the other when they come home. Juggling both tasks at home as well as stress at the office. Many do not have a choice and have to work. However, to ask “What do stay at home mom’s do all day?” Is like me asking “What do you do at work all day? Stare at a computer?”
Certainly there are a number of perks. Just like with any job. Some people travel all over the world. Some make huge salaries and have amazing connections. At my job, there are days when I get to stay in my pj’s. However, contrary to what some believe, I’m not watching “soaps” and eating bon bon’s.
Once you become a parent it can be difficult to relate to your friends who do not have children. Your life changes and you operate on a different plane. It’s not a better or worse plane, just different. Your perspective changes and you view life differently. It’s no longer all about you and it can be difficult to relate to friends when it’s all about them. Often you grow apart from these friends as the new demands of your life take precedence. I have been fortunate in my life to have had great friends that understood the demands of being a mom. They have admired and respected me and have always made great efforts to understand the chaos of my home. They have also understood that they may go a few days without hearing from me… mostly because even when I do have a moment to contact them, I’m so tired I can’t form a tangible thought.
Frankly, “friends” that don’t understand that, are probably not true friends anyway. So I’d be sure to let this particular “friend” know… if you’re really that offend, don’t plan on hearing from me in the future… at all.