I’m not a stay-at-home mom, by anyone’s definition. 5 days a week, I wake up, get dressed, get my son dressed, bring him to my sister’s house and then I go to work. As a “working” mom, I often get asked “Isn’t it soooo hard being a working mom?” My answer: “Well, there are hard parts, but honestly, I think it’s harder to be a stay-at-home mom.”
I say that just based upon MY experience and MY personality and MY situation. I’m sure that you can find moms (stay-at-home and working ones) who would agree with me. But you could also find moms (stay-at-home and working ones) who would disagree with me.
No one wins when we play the “Who has it harder?” game. It’s a dumb game. It has no winners. It just promotes comparison, which encourages jealousy and bitterness. I’m simply here to say, as a working mom, that you stay-at-home moms have my utmost respect!
If I could draw a parallel between a working mom’s life and a stay-at-home mom’s life, this is what I personally think it’d look like:
- A working mom who went to work and dealt with the same 2-3 people every day, all 8-9 hours of the day.
- She can only talk with those 2-3 people and no one else.
- She’s pretty much responsible for everything those 2-3 people do. Even personality quirks reflect on her.
- When any one of those 2-3 people had to go to the bathroom, she has to accompany them.
- When any one of those 2-3 people wanted a drink or was hungry, she has to get them their food and sit nearby while they eat it.
- When any one of those 2-3 people were upset or frustrated or even mad at one of the other 2-3 people, she has to referee.
- When any one of those 2-3 people made a mess, she is likely responsible for cleaning it up.
- If she wants to go anywhere, they have to go with her.
- Every financial decision made by her uses her personal funds. Any mistakes or money misspent impact her personal finances, not the company’s.
- And then when she was done at work for those 8-9 hours, she has to get in the car and take them home with her!
- There, at home, she does receive help from another co-worker (her husband), but he doesn’t do things exactly like she does, so there’s almost always a little conflict and discussion involved. There’s conversations about “That’s not how mommy/daddy does it!”
- For another 3-4 hours, she has to keep being there while they eat or need to go potty or want to play or fight with someone else. Until all of those people fall asleep. Then she can do other stuff.
It’s the same 2-3 people all day. 2-3 high needs people. 2-3 people without fully developed social skills. 2-3 people with inadequate communication skills. 2-3 people without the ability to fully reason or use logic.
That’s the closest thing that I can think of for a working mom to have it comparable to a stay-at-home mom. It isn’t that the tasks of mothering are more difficult than the tasks of working. Maybe they are. Maybe they aren’t. I can’t really compare reading a story to preparing a status report. I can’t compare changing diapers to attending a training session. I can’t compare teaching a toddler not to throw a tantrum to setting a client’s expectations. They’re just so different.
Some women just adore being with their children. (But I’d imagine that even they admit to moments of frustration. I would think?) Some women might not adore adore being a stay-at-home mom, but are convinced that it’s best for their family. Or that financially, it isn’t a wise move to work. (Working can be expensive!)
It isn’t harder, just different?
Some people think that working moms don’t have it easier, they just have different struggles. Struggles like:
- Packing up kids into cars who would rather be sleeping right now thankyouverymuch.
- The emotions of not wanting to be working.
- Balancing the needs of kids and boss.
Now, I know that there are phases in life.
- Some SAHMs have kids in school all day. (Some homeschool their kids.)
- Some SAHMs have one munchkin. (Some also have way more than that.)
But me? Personally, I do think (most) SAHMs have it more difficult than I do. It doesn’t mean that working moms don’t have it hard as well, but just that I recognize the patience needed to deal with the same people, day in and day out. Major kudos to you!