I have to be honest with you.
I used to think your job was easy. I envied you. I often pictured you just chillin’ on your couch watching soap operas and eating chocolate while I was pounding the corporate pavement. I imagined you making crafts, cuddling with your babies, and singing outside like the family in the Sound of Music.
I was wrong. So, so wrong.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom for the day. My husband was required to work overtime all weekend, leaving me alone with my 16-month-old. As I laid my head to sleep the night before my adventures were to begin, I smiled and imagined what the next day would look like.
A perfect lunch, with the proportionate amount of fruit and sandwiches cut into cute shapes; art projects, without a speck of glitter on the floor and clean baby hands; free play, with musical instruments and story time worthy of its own lesson plan; a cuddly, two-hour nap for both of us; and a clean house with dinner on the table upon my husband’s return home from work.
“That’s what stay-at-home moms do, right?” my working mom brain dreamed.
Needless to say, those dreams were so very short-lived. Because from the very first second of my “stay-at-home-mom for a day” journey, things were not at all how I pictured.
Saturday morning will consist of cartoons in bed, and cuddling in our pajamas.
Hilarious, right? My child woke up before the sun had fully risen, and he was ready to party from the get-go.
Breakfast will feature smiling pancakes and orange juice in cute glasses.
No, breakfast was Cheerios out of a snack cup. And that included a few rogue pieces that rolled under the couch.
Martha Stewart herself will envy our arts and crafts time.
My image of a lovely hand-print craft worthy of its place on Pinterest just didn’t happen. Between the various paints and glitters and glues, and the absolute meltdown of a tantrum my son decided to have at the very moment his “art” was in its most fragile state, no artist in the world would have been proud of what resulted.
I’ll hum sweet songs as I prepare a lunch of organic vegetables, antibiotic-free chicken sandwiches, and strawberries I cut into the shape of hearts.
With my screaming toddler pulling on my leg, I frantically raided my freezer for a sign of anything edible. A few minutes later, I set the table with a plate of chicken nuggets, French fries, and animal crackers.
The birds will sing as I sleep next to my son at nap time.
What’s nap time? My son had never heard of such a thing. After I fought with him for thirty minutes, he eventually fell asleep, leaving me to deal with our dogs, clean up from lunch, and finally change out of my pajamas.
Oh, and then he woke up.
Structured play time will be straight out of a Montessori textbook.
There was absolutely nothing about our play time that should be mirrored by others. I attempted to read him a book, but he was far more interested in throwing trucks at my head. I tried to build blocks to show him how they work, but he thought knocking them over was more fun. And when I told him not to touch something, the shade he threw gave me actual chills.
I’ll sweep, mop, vacuum, do dishes, and have a very healthy dinner on the table before my husband gets home.
How in the WORLD did I think that would happen? I didn’t even get to use the bathroom one time all day… did I really expect to craft a lasagna?
Here’s the bottom line: you don’t have it as easy as I thought. In fact, your job is incredibly hard. You’re not “just a stay-at-home mom.” You’re a gosh darn boss.
You get paid in runny noses and tantrums. And you keep going back for more. You’re kicking rear and taking names. You’re a beast. A champion. A rock star.
So I guess, as I sit at my desk job, I still am jealous of you. But for such different reasons.
– Your Working Mom Friend