(SAHM= Stay At Home Mom)
I can wait while you grab your pitchforks and torches….
Got them? Good.
So, now that you’re riled up by the title of this post, hear me out. I am jealous of SAHMs because, to me, being a SAHM is like being on vacation. Is being a SAHM mom like a tropical vacation or a cruise or a romantic get-away to Paris? No, well, not unless you have to cook your own meals, clean your own toilet, and clean someone’s poopy heiny when you’re there.
However, as a mom who works full time, my weekends and days off look like the typical day of a SAHM. Thus, for me, being a SAHM is like being on vacation.
I loved my maternity leave with Mabel. Recovering from the C-section was tough, but once that was over, and we settled into a little routine, I relished going to the sing-a-long at the library and meeting my college friend and her kids for lunch, etc. I would LOVE to be a SAHM. Have I mentioned I’m jealous of SAHMs?
A few months ago, a friend of mine from high school with a baby boy announced she was taking a year off from work. She’s a teacher by trade and she and her husband can afford, in every sense of the word, for her to stay home with their son for a year.
As soon as I heard, I felt a pang of jealousy. There’s no way my husband and I could afford for me to stay home for more than the allotted FMLA/short-term disability allowance. I’m the primary breadwinner in our family. We would have to tap into our savings, which isn’t the end of the world. What would be the end of the world would be leaving my job, paying for COBRA, and trying to get a new job, as a scientist, with a gap in my CV.
Scientist moms everywhere face a choice of staying home and abandoning or dramatically altering career plans or going back to work. In my field, keeping current with new techniques/theories/findings/assays/etc is paramount. How could one do that as a SAHM? Or perhaps, more importantly, how could one convince a potential employer that he/she had done that, and thus is a good job candidate?
I am lucky that my chosen career and job allows my household to be, primarily, a one-income household (although my husband does contribute a notable sum with contract/freelance work he manages to cram in during naptimes and late at night). This means my husband can stay home with our daughter. He gets to go to story time at all the local libraries, he gets to push Mabel on the swings, he gets to do everything while I’m at work. I’m jealous of him too!
Tangent aside, and back to my friend, I told her that I was jealous of her and that she’ll enjoy the year because, “Being a SAHM is like being on vacation! You’re so lucky!” Well, she was pissed (as were a lot of other friends who saw that Facebook comment)- she flat out said she was insulted and launched into all the work that goes into being a SAHM (as did a lot of other friends who saw that Facebook comment).
I explained to her that as a mom who works full time, my weekends and days off look like the typical day of a SAHM. Thus, for me, being a SAHM is like being on vacation- not a spa retreat-type vacation, but at least time away from work. And imagine trying to cram in all the chores, parenting, and quality time into the hours between getting home from work and leaving for work again the next day! She had it made!
She didn’t really buy it. She forgave my ‘insult’ and we moved on.
A few months passed. Her son was no longer a newborn, she had gotten into the swing of things (naps, breastfeeding, etc) and she sent me a message. It said something along the lines of, “I was out walking with [my son] today. It was a beautiful day. I was really enjoying myself and feeling relaxed. I thought of your comment about being a SAHM being like a vacation. I see your point, it is like a vacation. I’m so glad I’m not working right now.”
Thusly I was vindicated! I stand by my assertion that being a SAHM, for me, is like a vacation. Maybe the grass is always greener, but in this case I doubt it. I was on that side of the fence, and most days, despite loving my job, I’d trade working for all that extra time with my daughter- even if it meant another C-section.
So, SAHMs, appreciate your predicament and enjoy your kid(s).
Moms that work outside the home- how do you cram everything into the hours you’re not at work?
Scientist moms- how did you handle the time off dilemma?