So let me start by saying I realize that it truly is a gift/blessing/lucky thing to be able to stay home and watch my children when it is not always an option for many but this is just a perspective from a SAHM when they hear this phrase so take it with a light heart and know that it is not meant to offend working moms or others in general.
The moment happens, you’re standing there arms crossed both smiling and talking to a fellow mama whose child is playing cute with yours “so what do you do?”, in which I reply, “oh I am a stay-at-home-mom”. The other mom says, “ohh you’re so lucky”. This is one of those tricky moments where you usually just grin and bite your tongue saying something like “yeah, thanks!” feeling a bit of guilt. But, why do you feel guilty? Maybe because society makes you think your job isn’t really a job? Maybe because you realize that you are lucky but half the time you’re bitching about missing your freedoms and feeling that the working mom is the “lucky” one.
There are different types of SAHMs and different types of working moms. Some are happy going to work and getting that time away, some are devastated just wishing they had the chance to stay home, some SAHM’s fully embrace being one and are just great at it, others miss their identity, social life, career, and/or just need to vent about their trials as a SAHM. Everyone is different and everyone has different reasons for why they can/can’t stay home with their children.
Me personally, I got pregnant when I was still working on a degree and in between jobs. It wasn’t my initial plan but it was the best unplanned thing to happen to me. Nonetheless, I wasn’t as prepared as I may have been and so since I was working on my degree and childcare was so expensive we decided that the only way we could do it was if I stayed home. Not that I didn’t have much of a choice but in a way I really didn’t. My potential job would have just paid for childcare with not much more to even be worth it. Plus, being pregnant looking for a bartender/serving job wasn’t the easiest and so it just wasn’t in the cards for us.
I have always been a worker. I have had two jobs while going to school multiple times. I have worked full-time, plus full-time school for many years. Being that since I’ve always been independent and working on the books since age 15 (before that babysitting and odds and ends little jobs from ages 12-15) adjusting to life as a SAHM wasn’t the easiest thing for me. I’ve been doing it now 4 years and it still isn’t always easy, I have looked into and tried many things to stay “busy” and feel like I’m contributing.
Anyway, here is a list I made of why it’s hard for SAHM’s to hear that they are so lucky.
- It makes us feel guilty – There are times when it is so hard to be a SAHM and when someone says how lucky we are it makes us feel the same as they would if we said “oh you’re so lucky, you get to have a break and get away and an identity and a career, etc”.
- Most of us don’t have a career, we are sacrificing a career and diving into the abyss of the unknown as to what will happen when our kids inevitably go to school and we are no longer able to stay home with them- leaving this giant gap in our resume where we haven’t had a chance to build on or learn new skills needed for a career.
- Many of us feel isolated and lonely. Most SAHMs I know have this feeling of loneliness. Picture this, you’re home alone all day with small children (you obviously can’t have adult conversations or even sometimes rational conversations with. You may get a few chopped up and broken conversations with your kids friends moms in between telling your kids “don’t climb on that, no please don’t eat that, give that back to him”…etc. We don’t get to have those social interactions at work with co-workers, customers, etc.
- We NEVER get a break. Okay, maybe not never. But what i’m saying is, unless we actually carve out specific time for ourselves (which btw usually involves shopping, cleaning, doing things needed for house, family, etc) we rarely get time away which makes the never-ending messes (which I’ll get to in the next one) and saying the same things over and over doubled or tripled for us, along with diapers and feedings.
- The messes don’t end. Now I realize that working moms work and still have to clean. This isn’t about who has it harder because I feel that both have it equally difficult. But, when you’re a SAHM you make breakfast, clean, make lunch, clean, make snack, clean, clean, make dinner, clean some nights. Rinse. Wash. Repeat. It’s not that working parents don’t but SAHMs just have it continually over and over all day every day. It’s like this never-ending cycle and I came to realize that the later in the day to pick up toys the better. They’re just going to keep making messes so I’m better off just waiting until the end of the day when I can manage it better.
That’s really only a few reasons it’s hard to hear it because although it’s a given that we feel lucky/blessed or whatever you want to call it, we have our share of trials and tribulations as SAHM’s. We don’t get time away unless we carve it out which can be easier said than done, and technically our job never ends, has no breaks, sick-days, or vacation days. I realize, too that no one who has said this to me has anticipated a blog written about it in detail as to why they should refrain but still I’m just saying it makes it a little more difficult when others just view your situation as lucky and don’t even bother to dig any deeper. When I was moving to Hawaii it was very similar. Not that I wanted people jealous and/or feeling bad for me but everyone kept saying how lucky I was which of course I knew I was lucky to have met my husband while vacationing in Florida who eventually moved me out to Hawaii but, when I moved I left my entire family, friends, and support systems. That was hard to do and made me sad a lot, but of course all people kept saying his how lucky I was.
It’s not about being lucky or blessed, we all have our share of hardships and we should all try to be a little more considerate of that.