Last week was – in my mind – my first official week back at work. It was actually my third week at work, but my first week with bootcamp every morning at 5:30am and no snow to mess up the schedule. 5 days of a 5:30am bootcamp, and an 8-3+ office schedule. I sprinkled in a couple of high school theater obligations here and there and managed to cook 3 of the 5 nights. We did leftovers one night and we ate out another.
I think I did a great job, thankyouverymuch. Scratch that. I WAS AWESOME.
BUT – being back in the swing of things again I’m reminded why this life is a little bit easier, now that I’m working outside the home. There is something I forgot about when I went back to being a Stay-At-Home-Mom.
Other people are more likely to help you because being a Work Outside The Home Mom seems to make people think you need more help. Like my husband. He’s been helping out so much more because me working in an office gives the illusion that my life is busier. But I’ve had to tell him the truth: It’s Not.
I am just as frenzied at night as I was before I went back to work. When you’re at home all day with the kids, you don’t have much free time to keep up with the basic chores like laundry and cleaning and groceries because you’re TAKING CARE OF THE KIDS, when tends to create MORE laundry and cleaning. I am no more busy now than I was before. It just LOOKS like I am. When I come home now? The house looks the same as when I left because no one was here all day messing it up. There are no dirty dishes because someone else was feeding the kids. No craft messes because they did that at school.
When I wasn’t working in an office, I spent nighttime hours cleaning up messes from the day. No point in cleaning until after the kids go to bed. (Can I get an AMEN?) Now? The house is still clean when the kids go to bed! We’ve been gone all day, no time to mess it up. So I spend the time at night running the errands I probably did during the day before. See? Same level of busy-ness. Just a different kind of schedule.
But since I’m at work all day? It LOOKS like my life is more hectic so my wonderful husband is helping out more. I’m NOT complaining, but until we chatted about it the other night, he didn’t realize I needed the help just as much before.
The only thing more difficult now is scheduling. My schedule is not as flexible. If something needs to be done during business hours? I’m kinda screwed. Even getting off at 3pm, I still have to pick up E on non-rehearsal days and on rehearsal days? Sometimes I have to be at his school too for my own obligations. So – the part where I do need help I didn’t need before? Is with tasks that have to be done between 9am-5pm. So far those tasks aren’t bad, but they will be and then D and I will have to share the responsibilities I normally carried on my own.
My point? If you’ve always been a Stay-At-Home Mom? And especially if you have a spouse who doesn’t help much? THEY SHOULD. If you’ve always been a Working-Away-From-Home Mom who thinks maybe life would be less hectic if you were at home? It won’t. You still will feel like you’re never caught up on life because you keep having to clean up the same messes every day. And you’re so busy keep the kids happy/alive that you don’t have time to always do the things during the day you normally have to do after work. So you still find yourself waiting until the kids go to bed to do the grocery trips or wash the dishes.
In other words? Are you raising a child? YOU ARE AWESOME and I’m so sorry life is so hectic for you. To me, the biggest perk of being a SAHM is simply being able to be there with your kids. The biggest perk of being a Work Outside the Home Mom? People seem to understand your stress a lot more and either (A) Help out or (B) Don’t judge you if you send your kids to school in the same clothes two days in a row. (They were clean! I promise!) It’s hard to work around a rigid schedule sometimes working in an office, but at least there’s someone there everyday noticing the work your doing and PAYING YOU FOR IT. Having gone back and forth and in several different varieties now – Working, Going to School, Staying at home, Working AND Going to School – I can tell you it is always hard. No one has it easy.
The way I look at it? It’s the trade-off. The universe blessed me with three fantastic humans to be permanently attached to and love unconditionally. And nothing that awesome comes easy. And I’m okay with that.
Photo by White Rabbit Studios