I know I probably was/am being overly sensitive, and I know this ended up kind of all over the place. I’ve been thinking about this lately for some reason and wanted to get it of my chest!
A year or more ago, my husband and I were somewhere (darned if I remember where) making small talk with a “businessman” type. Most likely somewhere along the way with all our mortgage business. It was brought up that I am a SAHM and y’know, how easy I have it and stuff. Uhh…yeah.
Well I made the mistake of (HALF-jokingly) saying hey, at least you get to go to work! He chortled, gave my husband a knowing, bless-her-heart-isn’t-she-stupid look, and said “yeah, ’cause we’re in here drinking martinis, har har har!” I know my husband at least smirked, if he didn’t actually chuckle, and it took all of my strength to keep from pouncing on the guy and strangling him.
Let me say this: I know that working moms have it hard. I’m not touching SAHM vs. Working Mom with a 10-foot pole! What I’m talking about here is “The Mom” (“stay at home,” “work at home,” “work outside the home,” whatever) vs. “The Man.” I don’t mean a man who gets up with the kids at night, empties the dishwasher, does laundry, takes care of the kids, publicly praises his wife and makes her feel loved, valued and worthwhile. I’m talking about men like this jerk who seem to think that SAHMs do nothing but sit on their butts and eat bon-bons, and that being a mother is no different than being a father.
I haven’t always been a SAHM. I worked (worked my butt off in fact) for years, took care of myself, lived alone and paid my own bills. I’m guessing that ANY Mom (working or not) will agree that the days of working full time and taking care of only yourself were a cake walk compared to motherhood.
Here’s something we’ve all experienced in one way or another. While my husband was out of town, I made the kids spaghetti, then cleaned up while still trying to make myself something to eat (I don’t like spaghetti, I know that’s weird. I like other pasta, just not spaghetti. I’ll eat it if there’s nothing else, but not by choice.) While hearing “shoesh ON, SHOESH ON! AH-SHIDE! ASHIDE DECK!!” (shoes on, shoes on, outside, outside deck to those who don’t speak 2-year old) I rushed and put my food on a (GASP!) paper plate to eat outside so the kids could play. Naturally, my son now wanted my dinner more than he wanted to play (my daughter ate half my chicken too.)
This is what was left:
(Sorry for the cell phone pic) So, I had to clean it up, hose off the chair and deck, and finally sat down to eat what was let of my cold food. It was then that Goldilocks (A.K.A. my son) decided the temperature was just right, and came back for round two. *sigh* P.S. Yes, I realize that a perfect mother’s children would be learning French while she prepared a 4 course gourmet meal, which they all would sit down and enjoy together, then they would patiently wait while she cleaned up the dishes (or they would do them, or she would leave them etc.) Yeah, guess what? I’m not that Mom. When Daddy’s gone, we make due.
I betcha 10 bucks that guy sat down and ate all his food (while it was hot) that day.
Now, I know there are some fantastic men out there who work high stress jobs to provide for their families, actively participate in their child’s upbringing, come home and help their wives (whether or not their wives also work) and so forth. Again, I’m pretty sure this guy wasn’t one of them. For “The Man” his life isn’t much changed by children, aside from expecting a ticker-tape parade if he happened to change a diaper!
In motherhood, there are no performance reviews, no bonuses, no paychecks, no awards ceremonies, no praising emails from a customer to your boss. Motherhood has to be the most thankless job on the face of the earth. (Naturally, a sweet hug, kiss or “Thank you Mommy” from a tiny person makes it all worth it.)
My husband isn’t lovey dovey at all, and is a man of few words, but I think that short times alone with the kids make him realize that it’s not easy. Especially since all he really does in that time period is keep them alive! Moms are also cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, dishes etc.
I don’t think some husbands realize what an impact small things make, to make their wife feel valued and appreciated. If my husband had said something as simple as “well my wife takes great care of our family and her job sure isn’t easy,” instead of appearing to agree with the jerk in question, it would have made my day (and probably his later, hee hee.) I recently read “30 Ways to be Intimate With Your Wife” on Going Green With Noah, and I think it should be required reading for all men.
I could be totally wrong…maybe the man’s wife was a working Mom and he thought she worked like crazy, so that’s why he thought SAHMs had it easy? Or maybe she had a nanny and a housekeeper and spent more time with her personal trainer than her kids. I don’t know.
My point is, no matter what the situation, motherhood is hard. It reminds me of a scene from S*x and The City 2 (a rare chick-flick scored from Netflix and watched after the kids were in bed!) when Miranda gets Charlotte to admit that motherhood is overwhelming and hard. “Perfect mom” Charlotte has an incident earlier in the movie when she hides in the pantry to cry after trying to talk on the phone and make cookies, while one child cries, the other makes a mess, and she finally melts down. Luckily for her, the nanny chooses that moment to arrive! While having cocktails with Miranda, Charlotte exclaims that she feels this way even with a full-time nanny, and she wonders how women without help do it (Miranda says she doesn’t know, but they deserve a medal!)
Don’t tell anyone, but motherhood is even harder than I thought it would be.