Christmas movie at theater: Free
Popcorn and Pop: $9.00
2 Hours alone in the house: PRICELESS
Last Saturday my husband took all three children to the free holiday movie at the theater. I had 2 whole hours alone in this house...it's the first time since July 4th when my husband took them to the park for an hour or two. Is it pathetic that I can remember the last time I had the house to myself, or pathetic that it was over 5 months ago?
I couldn't believe it that I got more done in those two hours than I usually get done ALL day. Living room, dining room, office, and bathroom were all cleaned and vacuumed. Three loads of laundry were washed, folded, and put away. A batch of chocolate almond bark pretzels was made. The kitchen counters were cleaned. It was delicious. And when my husband came home with the kids, saw how much cleaning I did and asked "Why did you clean when you finally had time alone?" I responded with "I didn't want to waste my time reading or watching a movie." Time without children underfoot is so rare in this house that actually being able to clean without being interrupted was a treat to me!
Last week when I wrote my post about working moms insulting stay-at-home moms unaware by saying certain comments opened up a line of communication between working moms and stay-at-home moms (both on my blog and another online forum). Some mamas said that the comment "I wish I could afford to stay home" didn't stick in their craw nearly as much as "I wish I had all that free time" or "If I was at home all day my house would be clean!" (Why? Would you be home ALONE?) I think the whole mommy wars really boils down to certain mamas insinuating that the other one has it so easy. That line of thinking is so far from the truth.
There is no way that I think working moms have it easy. Finding childcare, trying to figure out what to do when a child is sick and needs to stay at home, rushing home to put supper on the table, fitting errands in on time off, juggling work, children, and marriage. That's not easy at all. As a stay-at-home mom I can see things that are positives about working as well: adult conversation throughout the day, being able to actually get work done without someone undoing it behind you (i.e. children), and most of all - a paycheck! But I do not envy the working mom.
On the same token, as a stay-at-home mom I am without a doubt completely insulted when it is insinuated that I have so much free time on my hands. I don't have time to sit on the couch and eat bon bons. Yes, I have more freedom with my time, but I don't have more free time. My whole day is taken up with children wanting and needing something. It's funny that often times a stay-at-home mom isn't viewed as "busy" but a daycare worker would be. And don't forget that the daycare worker gets a paycheck.
As a homeschooling parent it gets even worse. I don't send my children off to school each day so they are literally with me 24/7. Yes, this is of my own making. I choose this lifestyle. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Staying at home can be...so...daily. There are days (or weeks!) when life can feel like the movie "Groundhog Day".
Which gets me to a point that I was going to make. Working Moms AND Stay-at-home moms have some things easier...and some things harder. Each job has it's perks...and it's hardships. I wouldn't change my job for the world, but that doesn't mean that I like it 100% of the time. Sometimes the grass does look greener on the other side...even when it's not.
Two years ago I read the book In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. You'd think I would have liked it. Instead, I despise it. Dr. Laura is trying to make the point that children are better off with stay-at-home moms. Instead, she makes both working and stay-at-home moms loathe her. A working mother would feel like she was damaging her child by working if she were to read this book (I'd love to hear from a working mother who did read this book - what were your feelings?). And as a stay-at-home mom I was insulted by many various things Dr. Laura wrote. First of all, Dr. Laura was NOT a stay-at-home mom. She mentions being home during the day but would work in the evenings while her husband watched her son.
And second...the real reason I can't stand the book...is that she said that any woman wanting to quit her job to stay home that needs to convince her husband of what a good thing it will be just needs to sit her husband down and rub his shoulders while telling him how he will come home to a much more relaxed wife, supper on the table, more sex (because, after all, you will be much more relaxed after quitting your job), and more. She reiterates this several times in the book. So, isn't she really saying that stay-at-home moms have it easier by saying we will be more relaxed? If that is true, why is it that housewives have a lower life expectancy than other occupations?
The book In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms just fueled the mommy wars even more, I think. Instead of making one party happy Dr. Laura seemed to manage to insult both types of mothers at the same time.
There is no easy choice. Working out of home or working at home is hard work.