I’ll never forget the morning at kindergarten drop-off when my jaw hit the playground floor beneath me.
I was going about my chaotic morning as usual. Getting my oldest to her line-up at school, while toting along her two younger brothers and making sure we had all lunches and backpacks.
Once I finally got to school, I ran into a fellow parent in the class, someone I knew was a working mom, who turned to me and said,
“Wow, you have three kids under five! Do you work? Or do you stay home and do nothing?”
Jaw –> floor.
DO NOTHING?! I was too shocked to say much. DO NOTHING?! I thought, my mind reeling from the list of tasks and responsibilities I managed each and every day. DO NOTHING?! I raged inside, wondering if she had ever watched kids all day.
Trying to justify the unwarranted attack on being a stay-home-mom, I replied by referencing my career before kids and how I chose to stay home at this point in my life.
Whether you are a working mother or stay-home, the job of being a mother is one of the toughest things you will ever do. I thought for sure all moms would understand that.
To some, the daily work of motherhood might be “nothing,” but to me it’s everything.
I’m not “doing nothing” when I wake up before dawn with a cranky child, giving up precious sleep that I need to sustain me through a long, solo day.
I’m not “doing nothing” when I make breakfast, followed by a snack, and clean up all said meals and snacks that occur constantly.
I’m not “doing nothing” when I enrich my little people by taking them to local classes, concerts and parks.
I’m not “doing nothing” when I am paying the bills and fixing all the things that keep breaking around the house.
I’m not “doing nothing” when I’m juggling nursing, feeding and napping schedules without feeling trapped at home.
I’m not “doing nothing”when I’m tending to sibling disputes and quarrels. (If only we got paid for every time we say, “Keep your hands to yourself.”)
I’m not “doing nothing” when I make constant, futile attempts to keep the house actually clean and my floors toy-free for more than a few hours.
I’m not “doing nothing” when we’re playing games, trains, puzzles and reading books to keep those small brains engaged.
I’m not “doing nothing” when I’m shuttling kids to and from school, then to dance and music lessons, before squeezing in a quick dinner before a sporting event.
In fact, all day long I am doing the hard work of parenthood.
I am 100% fine that my fellow class mom spends her days at the office supporting her family financially. Some days I might envy her. But instead of attacking or demeaning other mothers, why can’t we mamas simply be supportive of each other?
Aren’t we all in this together, no matter whether you chose to work or stay home?
I have worked paying jobs before, but to be honest, staying home can be HARDER than going to an office with reasonable and well-behaved adults. I mean, how often does a co-worker demand a donut and throw themselves on the ground of a store having a tantrum?
Stay-home-moms do the opposite of nothing. In fact, these moms help keep their households running, create value, often save money and build the foundation of their families by raising their little ones. It’s really no small feat what goes into the everyday of a stay-home-mom.
They might not have a conference call with any Fortune 500 CEOs, but they are leading their families and homes and deserve respect for all they do.
While it may not all be fancy or require work-attire, the daily work of a stay-home-mom should be appreciated and acknowledged, instead of judged and dismissed.
Many working parents may off-load some of these daily tasks with the help of a cleaning lady or meal delivery and that’s great. Mothers need to make life work for them and figure out the best way to get it all done.
To those who pass judgment on those who stay home, please realize: nobody ever really knows the situations and sacrifices that other families make on a daily basis.
Personally, my choice to stay-home comes with the reality of living off one income instead of two, so it also adds to my list finding ways to save money and live economically so I can be home with my kids.
So when I look at each day of my life as a stay-home-mom, I literally can’t tell you the last time I did “nothing.” Instead, I choose to validate my daily contribution as a stay-home-mom as equally important as those of a working mother.
To the mom who wrongly accused me of doing “nothing,” let’s all step back and see that everyone is doing the best they can, through different avenues and choices, but ultimately is doing what’s best for their own families.
Stay-at-home moms included.