Thursday, June 17, 2010

to: OneTrueSue

Anyone else read Navel Gazing? She's been blog-missing for a while. Recently, she posted something that totally explains her absence. She's apparently become a victim of the recent economic trends, and, among various other life changes, is now working full-time, in an actual office. (I say it like that, because she was formerly a WAHM, and pretty much worked full-time that way, but in her home office, which allowed her to be there when needed, and only stay at her desk until the project was done, vs being at your desk 8 hours every day because that's what's expected.)
And she has come face-to-face with why I hate it when folks try to tell you "every mother is a working mother". Because that's total crap. SAHM's have an extra 8-10 hours a day more than the average working mom, because nobody took 8-10 hours out of their day and refused to ever give it back or in any way (except monetary) make up for it. Aside from the paycheck, it's a pretty poor deal for any mom. Sometimes even the paycheck doesn't help.

What do you SAHM's do? Clean the bathroom again? Make another week's worth of dinners " just in case"? Vacuum the front room in that adorable checkerboard pattern you worked out one afternoon while rocking the baby to sleep? No, probably not. You probably spend that extra time with your kids.

Which is why the life of a Working Mother is not one to be envied. We miss our kids. We literally miss out on milestones and firsts. Oh, and our houses are usually less-than-tidy. Because when we get home, there's  dinner, then homework, and then suddenly it's bedtime. What happened to time to enjoy the kids? Am I really going to choose a clean bathroom over listening to my kid tell me about their day? Not so much.

(I'm not going to address time for yourself here - nobody gets enough of that, from what I hear.)

So, those of you out there who have the privilege of being at home with your kids? I hope you appreciate it. I know it's crazy sometimes. I know there are days when you wish you could get away for a few hours. Believe it or not, there are days when I'd rather be home doing the dishes and scrubbing floors.
I like my job. I am thankful that I have skills that allow me to earn enough to support my family, I appreciate that I am working where I am, that it's close to home, that they are able to be flexible, and allow us to put family first.
I know how fortunate I am.
So does Sue.
But that doesn't mean she can't hate where life has led her.
I wanted to comment on her post, let her know she's not alone, that I understand hating something, while knowing that you need it anyway. I wanted to let her know that there are compensations. That the kids who reject you when you come home, who will inevitably pass through a resentment phase, will come to appreciate what you do, and find a way to love you in spite of your absence.
She's had some other reversals of fortune on top of this, too. I'm sure she's feeling overwhelmed, among other things. Whatever the reason, she closed comments. Which I can totally understand.
Maybe I'm not the best one to be giving her encouragement, given my recent failings as a mother. Not total failure, I know. My kids are not drug addicts, drunks, or sexpots (does anyone use that term anymore?), and I'm pretty sure they love me, shortcomings and all. So there's that.

Sue, you're doing just fine. It's okay to like your job and hate it at the same time. You already know that things will work out, but I'll tell you anyway, everything will work out.

(If I knew her for real, in person, I'd run right over with a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.)


Michelle said...

I love this. Thank you. I won't speak for all SAHMs (though I'd love to) but I can absolutely appreciate this dose of reality you so plainly offered.

bookette said...

Michelle, I know you love and appreciate your life just the way it is, especially after trying things as a single mom while hubby was away! I wish all SAHM's could be like you!