About 5 minutes after I got pregnant with Azita I started reading mommy blogs. Since I was awake all night with swollen feet and nausea and the worst insomnia of my life, I had a lot of time to read. The funny thing is that somehow in reading a lot of these blogs I got the impression that I, as a working mother, would have it made. I seriously believed this.
I would have the best of both worlds. I would spend enough time with my child to enjoy her company, but I would also get to spend a lot of time in the company of adults, being intellectually stimulated and having adult conversation.
I would somehow have only one job that was over when I left the office. I’m not sure who I thought would take care of my baby when I got home, but somehow the mommies led me to believe this.
All of the above is a big crock. And, here’s the part where just about half the blogosphere will pick up arms and take the offensive against me. I am convinced there is a stay-at-home mom conspiracy against those of us who must (or choose) to work outside of the home.
I feel the need to begin by saying that I have a great deal of respect for mothers who devote their lives to raising their children. My sister has done this, and I think she is the best mother in the world. I look up to her as a mother, and I think parenting 3 young children keeps her as busy if not often busier than I am. I have made no secret of the fact that were we able to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies on just Roger’s salary, I would in a heartbeat make the same decision.
What I don’t understand is why stay-at-home mothers feel the need to denigrate the work the rest of us mothers do. I realize that is a blanket statement, because I know a lot of stay-at-home mothers, many who occasionally read this blog, who do not do this. But I read many a blog post where I feel this is the case.
As I said, I understand just how much work it takes to raise a child. I say this because I am now a mother, and I am raising my child even though I also work outside of the home and someone else takes care of Azita for 8 hours a day during the week. I still raise her. I’m just also raising a product line and about 15 accounts and the product support for all of my company’s clients.
Consider the following breakdown of a typical weekday for yours truly.
4:55am : Alarm goes off.Â First snooze.
5:09am: Second snooze
5:19am: Turn off the alarm. Groan for a few minutes.
5:30am: Out of bed. Get dressed to workout.
5:35am: Make breakfast for Azita.
6:50-7:00am: Shower, put on makeup, do hair, get dressed.
7:00-7:20am: Clean up Azita, brush her teeth, get her dressed, beg her to decide on a pair of shoes. Chase her around the apartment with said shoes, begging her to let me put them on her feet.
7:20-7:30am: Help Roger get bags and lunches packed, make travel mug of coffee, pull together whatever Azita needs for daycare.
7:30-7:45am: Check work email and plan work schedule for the day.
7:45-8:15am: Daycare dropoff and get to work.
8:15am-4:45pm: Work. And I mean non-stop work. No naps. No lunch breaks. No coffee breaks. Sometimes no bathroom or water breaks.
4:45-5:00pm: Go home. Work comes with me, of course.
5:00-6:00pm: Make dinner, while answering work emails, and (if Roger is working out) taking care of Azita.
6:00-6:30pm: Family dinner.
6:30-6:40pm: Give Azita her nebulizer treatment.
6:45-6:55pm: Azita’s bathtime.
6:55-7:45pm: Try (and beg and plead) to get Azita to sleep. A few nights a week, Roger does this, so I can do homework for the class I’m taking.
7:45-11:00pm: Back to the grind. If I have a lot to do for work or have something due for school, I’ll stay up as late as 1:00am to get it done.
11:00pm: Read for 15 -30minutes in bed, until I fall asleep.
Rinse, lather, repeat the next 24 hours.
Really, the only thing that is different in my schedule from a stay-at-home mother’s schedule is the part in the middle when I go to an office. I understand that there is something nice about having adult conversation during the day, but does it make my work any less tiring and draining than taking care of a toddler and a home full-time?
Like a stay-at-home mother, my job as a mother also never ends. I also get no breaks from motherhood when I have the flu or I’m operating on just a few hours of sleep. In fact, I also get no breaks from my second job — the one that pays the bills — when I’m sick or operating on just a few hours of sleep.
I understand that many women (and men) put down the accomplishments of women in the home, especially those who have made their home and their children their lives. I am not one of those people, and I say shame on anyone who does this. But from where I stand it seems like many women shell out the same bad treatment to those of us who have made different choices, and I think they should be ashamed as well.
Maybe one day women can feel pride based on the merit of their own accomplishments rather than by putting down the accomplishments of others. I hope one day Azita will live in that world.