On Being a Stay-at-Home Mom: “What do you DO all day?”

This morning, a friend of mine shared a link to The Matt Walsh Blog titled, “You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?” I read through it and found myself nodding at some points and shaking my head at others.

One of the biggest head-nodders happens right here:

“It’s true — being a mom isn’t a ‘job.’ A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated ‘the workforce’ to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.”

Stay-at-home moms hold so many different jobs — chef, housekeeper, nurse, storyteller, and stylist, among many other things — but we earn zero monetary compensation for any of them. We only work for one family (our own), and often our deeds go without thanks. We’re “paid in love” but hugs and kisses don’t really cover the bills, you know? On top of that, we’re also not earning much respect from some of our gainfully-employed counterparts; I’ve actually heard someone grumble about how “it must be nice to get to hang out all day” while out shopping for activity supplies on a weekday afternoon. Yeah, I “hang out all day”….chasing a two-year-old around stores, the playground, the library, the neighborhood, the house, all while making sure he’s learning something new, whether it’s how to go down a slide by himself or say his ABC’s. It’s also my job to make sure he’s steering clear of choking hazards, not riding the dog, or climbing up the furniture. But yeah, I’m just “hanging out” all day.

You know what? I’m just going to say it: BEING A STAY-AT-HOME PARENT IS NOT EASY.

For the most part, Joshua Bear spent lots of time playing up to this point. Now that he’s two, I’m making a concerted effort to teach him more academic concepts (because even though he’s not in a daycare, he can still learn what daycare children are learning, and I’m absolutely qualified to teach him those things). However, this is home, not school, so anything Joshua learns will be play-based; home is a place to relax and have fun, while school is where it’s time to buckle down and get serious (at least when he’s a grade-schooler). So now, on top of all of the other jobs I already do around the house, I’m now willingly taking on the job of activity planner and teacher, too. Add those on to my job description.

When Joshua Bear was a baby, he had trouble sleeping at night. The Hubby had (and still has) 3 jobs so I can stay home with Joshua. Because of this, every time Joshua would wake up during the night, I’d have to go in and settle him back down.

Every.

Single.

Time.

And I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here that Joshua didn’t sleep through the night, not at all, not even once, until he was nearly 14 months old. And even now that he’s two, he still doesn’t sleep through the night most of the time…but now he only wants his “da”; if I go in, he’ll scream and cry until I leave and send “da” in. Even then, though, The Hubby can’t hear during the night (he wears hearing aids and sleeps without them), so I’m the one who wakes him up to go into Joshua’s room…and then I can’t fall back asleep until Joshua has gone quiet.

So go ahead and add zombie to my job description, too.

What about when Joshua gets frustrated because he’s playing with or working on something and it’s not going as well as he’d like? Tack on counselor to the job description. How about when Joshua has extra energy and needs me to help him shake it out? Add dancer to the list. And of course, Joshua isn’t potty-trained yet, so let’s not forget about all those icky diapers! Waste manager, right here!

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. I’m busy. And I know you’re busy, whether you’re a SAHM like myself or a teacher or a bank teller or a police officer or the President of the United States. We’re all busy. I don’t sit around on my butt all day long eating chocolate while my “terrible two” runs rampant around the house. (We usually run rampant around the house together.) I know you’re not just sitting around all day, either. Let’s just accept it, okay? We’re all busy. Say it with me.

We’re all busy.

It’s not a race to see who can be busier, either. If every person who was “busy” was awarded a million dollars, we’d all be rich. It’s that simple. Sadly, that’s not how the world works, so let’s just move past that, shall we? I’m busy, you’re busy, we’re all busy. Kumbaya, my Lord, kumbaya…..

So to all the moms like myself out there, bless you. You are awesome. You are powerful. Whether you’re a SAHM or an employed mom, you are incredibly important, no matter how you go about raising your kids. You are helping the next generation to rise up and become productive citizens. You are busy.

You are a MOM — and you are damn good at what you do.