Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Working Parent VS Stay Home Parent

Picture above pretty much sums up my weekend

I know this can be a touchy topic for some, but this isn't what you think. Just keep reading. Ok, I've done both. I'm currently a working mom and I was a Stay Home Mom (SAHM) for a year. And let me tell you it is SO much harder, at least for me, to be a stay home parent. I mean, working full time has a lot of struggles, don't get me wrong. But working almost seems like a vacation sometimes. Now granted I don't do grueling work that requires me to be on my feet 8 hours a day, so please keep in mind I'm just speaking for myself, a woman who works an office type job. This is just the difference between the two worlds as I experienced it.

When you stay home you have someone hanging on you every second of every minute of every hour of every day looking to you to meet all of their needs. It is exhausting to be utterly responsible for every whim and desire of a little one.

And I don't fall all over myself spoiling them and giving them whatever they want. But I do fall all over myself mediating arguments, wiping noses, getting them dressed and undressed, trying to keep them occupied with something other than the TV in my small condo, keeping them out of the puddles and getting them to and from the car with both boots still on. They demand constant attention and if you have kids like mine they are very loud and rambunctious from daybreak until they talk themselves to sleep at night (which Kiki does).

And let me say that my kids are very good kids, I get nothing but glowing reports from daycare, but they have tons of energy and they wear.me.out. I don't care how many people work under you, how much you're responsible for how many deadlines you have. They cannot be more demanding than two young kids. And at least you can go to the bathroom whenever you want to without little eyes prying or hands trying to open the door.

Now obviously I'm not a stay home mom anymore, but every other weekend I feel like one in the sense I'm mostly on my own that entire weekend. JimmyEW works from when they get up, till time for me to go to bed and is gone the next morning before sunrise. I know its grueling for him, (if you want to feel sorry for him instead of me you can read about his working weekends
here). But staying home is exhausting for me in a whole different way.

And this is why its so exhausting. Kiki talks ALL.THE.TIME. and when he isn't talking or singing he's meowing...or cock-a-doodle-do-ing. God love him. And Boogs, well, he's two. Need I say more? Not old enough to talk well, too young to do a lot on his own, but wanting to be just like Kiki or Daddy and do everything. Usually the outcome is him going slack and screaming on the floor.

I deal with his freak outs in stride but it was way more fun last weekend at the mall when I became the lady people look at and whisper "she should spank that kid". If you'd been in our little mall you would have witnessed me walking with a big smile on my face and a screaming kicking two year old flung over my shoulder. As he screamed, I laughed and just said over and over in a sing song voice, "I Love you, I Love You."

They probably thought I was terribly permissive but oh well, I really didn't care what people thought. He was mad we were leaving the play place and we had to leave, so since I'm bigger I exerted my will on him. I am the Queen Mother after all.

On weekends like these, when I find myself awash in the stress and chaos of the being locked alone with them all day, I have a little trick to keep me sane and I'm going to share it with you.

This is my iPod, the best Mothers Day gift EVER! Thank god for this little gadget. I don't totally plug in and ignore the kids, I always have one ear bud out, but I play my calming soothing music and it helps keep me sane. I'm able to listen to the sweet sounds of Regina Spektor and sing along while meeting my children's demanding needs. And my NPR podcasts allow me to have a little adult companionship when I crave and need it most. So iPod+Stressed Sassy=Happy.

I think because I had my stint as a SAHM I am able to see how much of a better mother I am now than I was before. Because of this I get to bypass one of the biggest symptoms Working Moms have. Working Mom Guilt. Just read Sister HB's posts. I have none of that.

Sometimes when they're sick I have it, but for the most part I know they are well cared for and are having fun with two people who love them (Daycare Diva and Daddy) and when I get to chit chat, play with pictures and write blog articles in my email when I should be pretending to work. Sure I'd love to work less hours, but I really do need a full time job and high paying jobs working part time are few and far between. So, until I become a Rock Star in...something...and find myself independently wealthy, I am content.

In Summary (my 9th grade English teacher would be so proud of that transition!), my two carrier monkeys are part of why I lean toward crazy. Many days I marvel at myself for the level of patience I have with them. Mostly because I'm on the inside screaming "LEAVE ME ALONE FOR A MOMENT", but I am curiously able to remain relatively calm during my crabby moments. And when I don't, a few minutes later I'm always apologizing for being crabby and telling them I love them no matter what. Even when I'm mad and even after they have a French Fry throwing game in the car. I tell them no matter what I love them, and I think they believe me or else they'd stop being naughty.

So (oh crap, I guess Mrs. Bargo would've failed me for messing up that transition!) as much as we talk about the struggles of being a working mom, I truly truly appreciate and respect those that stay home because I couldn't hack it. If you want to read a blog of a truly amazing stay home mom that I've know and admired for four years, visit Melz Midnight Brew. She's cute, spunky and has a gaggle of adorable children she cares for daily! Or you can visit my Sister 7.

What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.


Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, Sassy, what a WONDERFUL post! You've summed it up perfectly (Mrs. Bargo would be proud) - whatever works best for the mom and the family is the RIGHT decision - SAHM or working mom. And each of us know, in our hearts, what works best for us.

You've got two, happy, thriving kids. That's what matters. (Well, along with the fact that you're not feeling *too* insane. ;-)

Valarie said...

I've also done both. Currently working and trying to keep up with the kids. I think between dentist appts for the kids yesterday I was at work a total of about 3 hours. Thank goodness the oldest can drive now. :)

Sister Honey Bunch said...

Dude. How'd those plates get on the floor?

I love working. Well, not at my current job on account of the lying liar who lies. But working in general.

OHmommy said...

Sassy. So well said. Perfect actually. :)

Ashlee said...

Amen sister! I've done both as well. Staying at home can be wearisome. That last hour before Jaysen gets home I swear I check the clock about 20 times. That's when daughter leaves me alone. But otherwise, she's a nonstop talker/singer/ribbiter {she likes frogs}. And though she is insanely adorable...I get tired. So, I hear you! Working just adds to the stress for me, so it's not for me RIGHT NOW, but I know I'll be heading back into that world in a few years. And I'm looking forward to it. :0)

Jen said...

After seeing my sister stay home full-time, I'm convinced that I won't be able to hack it. Granted, Jenna is a spectacularly fussy (but wonderful) baby and may not be representative of the norm, but geez... it requires patience and forebearance that I just don't have yet!

Melanie said...

You've summed it up perfectly, Jacque! (BTW, thanks for linking to me!) Being a SAHM is definitely not a one-size-fits-all, and I always feel so bad for those who stay home and yet resent it, are stressed out all the time, etc, etc. Some mom's are definitely a lot happier with life in general, and as a result are better mom's (IMO) to their children because they don't stay home! LOL.

Great shots of the kids, they are so cute, and I just LOVE the first one. Priceless! That just about sums up my living room every day of the week! :-)

Sandy C. said...

What a great post! I couldn't have said it any better. Way to tackle the subject. I too have done both, and I agree that staying at home is incredibly challenging. I'm a WAHM, and there is NEVER an opportunity to "clock out" like I had when I was working outside of the home.

Very well said.

BTW, I have a pic of my daughter just like that with the pull up on her head that I'm posting for tomorrows WW ;) !

Hairline Fracture said...

What a great post. I'm a SAHM and you're right, it's exhausting in a different way. Sometimes I wish I did have an office to go to. However,this is the right choice for our family just like you working full-time is the right one for yours. I love the idea of listening to the iPod with one earbud, btw. I haven't been using mine (just got it for Christmas) when the kids were around b/c I was afraid I wouldn't hear if someone started screaming (as if I wouldn't hear that, right?)

Sister Sassy said...

Thanks everyone! :)

jennifer said...

I'm thinking the iPod is a fantastic idea that I might use to drown out the noise that is my non-stop chatterbox son!

Or maybe I should get a job.

Sandi said...

I too, think the iPod is the best thing since sliced bread. I gave one to my eight year old and haven't heard the incessant chatter sense! Great post, by the way. I have the same quandries as a working mom. I'm getting ready to start a new job and took about a month off in between just to stay home with the kiddos. It's been nice but the kids are ready for me to go back to work ;o).

amanda said...

I really enjoy this post! It makes sense to me. :)

Viola Jaynes said...

Thanks for sharing your experience as a stay home mom as well as a working mom. I am a stay home mom and have been since my children were born. I could so identify with the way you describe our jobs as moms. I had to really laugh at some of this.

Anonymous said...

Well girls I have been on both sides of this coin. I found out I worked harder as a SAHM than a WM. I started out as a SAHM but ended up working anyway. I wore many hats, baby sitting, selling avon and sweepers, sold vegetables I raised to Hardings Market, ran a day-care, graduated from high school at the ripe old age of 38 after my 8th, yes I said 8th, child was born, owned and ran a fabric shop from home, took the kids out to pick cherries and blueberries, canned all the vegetables and fruit we used each year, made their clothes and of course then I went to work for none other than Mickey D's.
At the ripe old age of 47 I went to Davenport College and for the next 20 years worked in an office.
It wasn't so much SAHM/WM as it was doing what you had to do. So gals take it easy on each other.
Enjoy life you only get one chance.

Mommy Niri said...

Hi guys.. i believe it too,

btw I am writing an article on annoying things people say to stay at home mom. Check out my post to request for things that may have been said to irritate you on blogher. Trying to compile a list to publish on my blog http://mommyniri.blogspot.com/

mommy niri