My dear friend is a working mom. By choice. Is she wrong? Nope. She just made a different choice than I did. Are her children terrible? Absolutely NOT! She has wonderful children! Am I better than her because of the decision I made? Nope. I just made a different choice than she did. And, I've been in her shoes. I didn't like the way they fit, so I got my own.
Why am I all up in arms over this? Because recently a political figure has had his wife's status as a stay at home mother demeaned. Millions of stay at home moms got their undies in a bunch, and I must admit to being one of them. I may not bring home much income (piano lessons just don't pay well unless you have more than two students...), but I certainly work!
How much? Well... here's an outline of my typical day.
- Up before 7 AM, because my children are all up at 7:30. I have 5 children.
- Breakfast, then breakfast dishes. Then lunch, and lunch dishes. Then dinner, and dinner dishes.
- School starts at 8:30. I home school all my children. One is in the fourth grade, one is doing kindergarten/first grade. One does preschool work, the other two are still working on using the toilet instead of the floor.
- Tuesday's my fourth grader goes to her church youth group, once monthly on a Friday she goes to her History Heroine's club where she's learning about influential women in America.
- Every Friday ALL my children go to our home school co-op. Sometimes I teach it. Last Friday we went on a field trip. Every OTHER Friday, we go to the Library, where the children each check out 25 books - all of which I am required to keep track of so that they can each find their books when it's time to return them. I haven't lost one yet.
- Every Other Thursday I teach a piano lesson for 45 minutes. Every Friday I teach a violin lesson.
- I do two loads of laundry, daily. Sometimes I fold it and it gets put away. Sometimes it matures in my living room until I can get to it. I folded 6 loads today. Three of which I washed today, too.
- I am constantly teaching my children how to pick up after themselves. I am also constantly picking up after my children.
- I cook 99.89% of the meals. From scratch. I wash my dishes by hand. Yes, that's my choice. I have no dishwasher in my 1922 Farmhouse kitchen.
- I help my husband cut and stack wood to fuel the 5 woodstoves we have. Most mornings, I start the fire in the kitchen to get the stove going.
- I have no maid. I am the maid. I do the majority of the cleaning.
- Sometime in there, I spend time with my husband.
- I'm reading a book I started three weeks ago. I'm still on the 5th page. It's a fascinating book, filled with interruptions.
On Monday, we start a new routine. Each of the children will have their own laundry days. They will each have a day to clean both the bathrooms. They will each have a day to clean the living room, and they each have a day to help with the dishes. This is the 750 thousandth different chore chart/assignment we've tried. It is my hope that this is the last.
I will gladly admit that my life is not typical of many stay at home moms. I have three children who were born in three years. Most women don't have that. I also live a pioneer style life in a farmhouse built in 1922. I can most of my own food. I grow my own garden. I sew many of my children's clothes. I sleep on average 7 hours nightly. I used to sleep an average of 4 hours. I am trying to remember to work out daily.
So... for anyone who thinks that Stay at Home Moms don't do anything, you can come to my house and do all the things that I DON'T Do. We'll see how long you keep your opinion. My daughter changed her opinion pretty quickly when she was given that option, and I can use the vacation. Just remember, the monetary pay is non-existent. The love, on the other hand, is unconditional; the laughter, spontaneous.
Another thing: You can't quit. No matter the hours. You also can't take a sick day, you're always on call, and you have to take those hard questions. No one else is going to answer them. And no matter how annoying the "WHY?" question is, it's not ethical for you to duct tape your child to the wall. People will talk. (No, I have never done that... yet.)
Did I mention that your boss will always be younger than you and you will always have to answer to whatever needs your boss (or bosses) will have. You get puke duty - all the time. You also get to take care of the poop in the bed when your daughter doesn't wake up. (did that this morning.)
And now, I think I'll get off my soapbox. Just don't call me a housewife. My work is just as important as my good friends who teach in the elementary schools or who are bookkeepers and accountants. I just chose to be home doing my work. Some of them wish they could too. And no, I won't trade.