September 7, 2011

You know what really bugs me?

The whole work/stay-at-home mom thing. It really gets up my nose.

There. I've said it.

Here's one thing: Someone says, as my one kid is sitting on my shoe, another tugging one of my hands and saying Mom, mom, mom ... mom, mom ... mom ... MOM ... and the third has his head under my shirt and his hand cupping my breast, and I'm having this conversation with someone and they say, "So, where do you work?" or, you know, "What do you for work?" to which I reply, "Oh, I don't work," because, well, I don't.

And of course, they feel obligated to say, "Oh, you work. You work harder than the rest of us."

There is often something condescending or ... something ... maybe well, yucky, in this statement, like they have to give me kudos or an ego boost, poor SAHM with no self-esteem kind of thing and it really annoys me. Because, Hello?! I've worked. Work? Was EASY. This gig is NOT work.

I don't get coffee breaks nor lunch. My bosses, all three of them, have no problem whinging, yelling and even raging at me if I don't do things in exactly the way they think things should be done. Things like, you know, dressing a Barbie, cutting an apple, or wiping a bum. And YES. We have BARBIES. Get Over It.

Truthfully, I have no real skills for this gig -- I suck at cleaning and organising, only want to cook things that inspire me edible or not, prefer to not speak to anyone for most of the day, and don't sleep enough to be the nice person a mom is supposed to be.

I don't remember when I've been in the bathroom without having the door opened on me. Work stalls have locks, right? Contractors regularly poke their nasty heads into the room I sleep in to ask me a question I probably have no answer for, whether or not I am up and dressed. I haven't had a bedroom in 5 years. And you know what? I, the girl who read a book a day as a child hasn't finished a book all year, something that I accomplished quite often on the commute to and from work and in the bathroom stalls at the offices I worked in. (Joking) (kind of).

The thing is? I wouldn't give up this gig now that it's mine. It wasn't something I longed for per se, not like playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret or anything, but I really really love it now that I'm in the hot mess of the middle of it. It is unpredictable and crazy, I get hugged all the time, the problems that need to be addressed or solved are usually more easily fixed when accompanied by a kiss and/or a hug. Last time I tried that on a co-worker, it didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. (Kidding.) (Really.)

But I don't like it when people have to have an opinion on being a stay-at-home or working mom. My grandmothers were both working moms. So was my own mom. I have three brothers-in-law who have, at various times, performed the stay-at-home thing. Who cares? Why quantify or qualify that I work or I don't. I mean, have you seen my home and gardens? If I were on top of them, them I would be a SLAVE, because last time I checked, there will be no pension for what I am doing, no paycheck. And I'm okay with that because I'll figure that out when I do, or I'll be totally screwed and I'll still figure it out.

Because who says life is all 9-5, 2 coffee breaks and a lovely lunch in the city in my one red Ferragamo shoe? (Don't ask what happened to the other. It was a long time ago, in a land far, far away. And it didn't involve Robert Redford, although it was supposed to have. And I lost a beloved shoe. One. And Quentin Tarantino was there. I have pictures to prove it. But don't ask.)

You know why it bugs me? (The work question/answer, not the missing shoe.) It makes me cross-eyed because because I don't actually care if people other than my husband and children think I work. It doesn't matter to me the same way it doesn't matter to me if some other mother works. I know what I'm doing right now, and why, and I don't need someone else to validate it.

I think I'd better write next about how much it bugs me that people mothers get all in knots over whether I am judging them because I stay at home/pooped my kids in the toilet from birth/breastfed/sold my car/ride a trike with a bin on the front for the kids.

Honestly? I just care if yer happy dudes. It matters immensely to me. But I won't judge you if you are not because, hello? Life is hard work. Seriously. Go easy on yourselves. Because if you go easier on yourselves, you will go easier on me. I guarantee it. And that? Well, it's just better for all of us that way.

And isn't that what really matters?


This is too long, isn't it.

In my next life? I am going to be succinct and brief.

And also?

A bug.



  1. Oh my, I loves me a good rant. And this topic makes me all bug eyed crazy too.
    Working and staying at home are both hard gigs, but SAHM's don't even get solitary pee breaks, much less lunch breaks. Also, the hours suck. 24/7/365 on call hours = worse than 3rd world working conditions. Plus there's all the poop and various other bodily fluids. Also, we pay to do it instead of getting paid.
    Still, hugs rock my face off and I'm up to my ears in them so I win.
    And no, it's not too long. And no, you're not coming back succinct or brief because part of the beauty of you is many, beautiful, glorious words strung together in exactly the perfect harmony.

  2. This bugs me too. I hate that 'being a mom' doesn't qualify me to tell people I have a job. I have, recently, learned to NOT care what other people say or do. You work on your life, I'll work on mine, kthxbye

  3. I think I love you both. I am pretty sure it comes down to absolute self-acceptance. I have a couple of other posts to write around this stuff.

    Funny Took, how I DON'T want to say I have a job, but I've been like that since way before I had kids. Most of my working life has been contract work and temporary, and I've had lots of times when I wasn't working for one reason or another. So my stock answer has always been (with disgust) Oh, I don't have a job. Or, Oh, I don't work, like it is some badge of honour. One day maybe I should work, and stop being so contrary. Not sure I know how to do that (not be contrary -- I work my ass off all of the time). Hmmm ...

    But I like that, You work on your life, I'll work on mine. I like that a lot.

    And Joules? Thanks for the love! I really value your opinion. And I can't be brief so ... whatmeyegonnado, right?

  4. First, please, don't ever be succint.

    As someone who was a nanny (which is not a SAHM, but it's the closest i've been, so bear with me), I get what you're saying, I loved spending time with the kids, thinking of he kind of childhood memories I hoped to create for them, of making their wold fascinating and fun and instilling in them a sense of adventure and confidence and silliness. Teaching them. Being a role model.

    I'm back to office work, and yeah, it's stressful in it's way, but I'm not responsible for anyone but me. Within obvious limits, I determine how I manage my time. It's a lot easier than being On all the time. If I'd had kids of my own, I'd probably stay home with them, too, if I could, hard as it would be. Not because I'd be a better mom than those who don't, just because it;s what I'd like to do. But I know there would be days when I'd long for a desk and a phone and being able to focus on one thing for longer than ten minutes.

  5. Thanks JC. I can't be succinct. I just don't have it in me. It is nice, though, to be appreciated for my lack of same.

    I am one of those people that truly believes that if you have enough empathy in you, and if you can imagine a similar situation, you can probably have a conversation about what it would be like to be in someone else's shoes, even if you've never had the intense experience of whatever it is.

    What kills me is the way that some people don't bother to put themselves in another's shoes, and have something to say about a situation. Ugh, I hate that.

    So this is a fancy way of me saying that you're right, exactly right, that it is pretty awesome being with kids that you love (no matter what the relationship). And the rest of your comment? Yup, uhuh, that's exactly it. You got me.

    Can you tell I'm tired? Ugh. Birthday party tomorrow, afternoon tea, I still have to clean the house, make the cake AND prepare the food. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ... ha ... ha ... heh ... g'night. <3

  6. Love this. Love you. <3

    P.S. Succinct is HARD, yo. See also: boring! ;)

  7. "because I stay at home/pooped my kids in the toilet from birth/breastfed/sold my car/ride a trike with a bin on the front for the kids." Now, if you just added "homeschools" you WOULD be perfect :-p

  8. Bwa ha ha ha ha! Because, erm, as of Last Friday (Sept. 30th) I am, erm, homeschooling.

  9. Well I think you know I agree with you on this one!

  10. hee thanks for blog comment. I would LOVE a house full of Lady bugs! (I mean birds!) I wont tell blobbybirdman what you said, my brothers head is big enough already lol