Monday, April 17, 2006

Take the 30 Day Challenge

Last week I did something I'd never done before: spent the night away from my three children. My oldest sister was in Portland, Maine on business, and I went down to spend some time with her. We went out to dinner, walked around town a bit, and then went back to her hotel room for the night. We ended up talking until the wee hours of the morning. What a treat.

How does this relate to StuntMom, you might ask - a stay at home mom and a working mom getting together for a night out on the town. Well, in the course of our evening, we talked about work ethic. One of the strongly held beliefs by some in our family is that my eldest sister, who happens to earn the most money, has the strongest work ethic of the five sisters. I related this to her, and she responded with surprise. She said that the work that stay at home moms do requires a much stronger work ethic than what she has. And no, I was not pumping her for a kind pat on the back.

She has firsthand experience. Last summer, when she was in between jobs, she was a stay at home mom by default. She did the shopping, the bill paying, and other monotonous jobs that stay at home moms do. She called oil companies, looking for the best oil price for the upcoming winter. She took care of the kids. By the end of the month, she was exhausted. She felt that working outside the home was a lot less work.

So to the mom in Sacto, whose friends think she is lazy and selfish for being a stay at home mom, ask your misguided friends to take the 30 Day Challenge. Have them arrange with their jobs to take some time off, and stay home with their kids for a month. It might do them a world of good. The kids would probably love it, too. My eldest sister's kids begged her to not go back to work. They loved having their mom around all the time.

And I must confess, when I first became a stay at home mom, I thought my life would be so cushy. I'd have a few hours a day, at least, to just do fun Rebecca things. I'd read the classics I'd been meaning to read for years, cook gourmet meals every night, work in my garden for hours on end, etc. etc. What a surprise I was in for. Where do these perceptions come from? I just don't know why I thought being a stay at home mom would equal leisure living. Turns out, I love the work involved in my job. Lucky me. So for those friends who think stay at home parents are lazy, have them learn for themselves that this is just not the case. Education is always a good thing!


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Yes, I agree that the key is that you've got to love the work inolved in the job of being a stay at home mom. And if your partner works overtime, you're doing equal overtime, too.

Anonymous said...

I haven't worked outside the home since one month before the due date of our first child. I don't know if I thought it would be "cushy" but I remember being surprised at how much work went into taking care of a baby and a home. Now my kids are 4 and 5. I homeschool and care of my elderly mother who lives with us. It gets very stressful. I live where I work and my job never ends. I never punch out. I try to get out for "me time" once a week and I'll go on a weekend trip with friends maybe twice a year.

Anonymous said...

How about when Dad gets home? Does he let you clock out for a bit? I think that's essential. It doesn't even need to be for an overnight. Just an hour. If Dad's too tired when he gets home, then how about 8 o'clock bedtime for kids and then you clock-out for a bit. Good for you for taking care of your mom, too. Sounds like your living true to your belief system.