Today, I missed my monthly mom's book discussion group so I decided to take the kids on some errands. We went to the bank, pharmacy, Target, and Whole Foods. All in all, a busy morning, but we got a lot done (and, 2 loads of laundry are finished and 2 more are going!)
At Target, I had Bobby in the cart and Maya in my sling. I'm doing my shopping and all is well. Near the end, I see a woman with her toddler in the cart. We smile. Say each others' kids are cute. Then she says "It's tough to shove everything into a day, isnt it?" I laugh and agree. I try to keep all my errands and then do them at once, as to not have the kids out and about constantly. So, yeah, I can get that. She asks if I work. And here's where that goes.
"Not outside the home."
"Oh." Gives me the once over. "You're a stay at home mom."
"Yes." I can see this isnt going to end nicely.
"Well, I wish that I had that luxury." She laughs. "It must be nice to not have to work."
I smile. "I'm glad I dont have to work outside the home. But the home is quite a bit of work and the kids keep me busy." What do you think I do? Eat bonbons and watch General Hospital all day?
"I have to take the day off from work just to shop." All the while, she has a slightly icy stare. "I have to work every day and be a mom. You dont know how good you have it." Again, a laugh.
Now, dont get me wrong. I'm damn lucky. I admit that. But dont, for a second, think that my "job" isnt just as demanding as yours, lady. I didnt say that. But I wanted to. I wanted to go into all the reasons why my work is just as hard. Does your job wake you up at 3am and need you to hold it and love on it for an hour? Do you clean up shit every few hours? Do you carry around 50 lbs for several minutes (hours???) every day? But you know what. It doesnt matter.
There will always be people who think that being a homemaker and a stay at home mom doesnt matter or is somehow less important than their paycheck earning, out of the home job. And what I do or dont do, what I'm blessed to see and not have to miss... That doesnt matter. Because if I sit and try to convince her that my job is just as important, I become her. On the flip side.
I smiled at her and said "Regardless of working outside the home or in it, I think we all end up working AND being a full time mom." And then I went to the check out line.
But I cant tell you that it doesnt piss me off. Because it does.
I joke with Peter that my job doesnt come with sick time or vacation time or a paycheck. That I dont have time off. But that's not true. I do. I go to the gym. I go for long runs that last over an hour (and sometimes two). On Wednesdays, my in-laws watch the kids all afternoon so that I can do a hardcore house cleaning. That's time away from the kids. So, I do have "vacation" time. And, when I've been sick and havent been able to be a good parent, I had help. My MIL came over or Peter took care of the kids. So, there, I had sick time too. The paycheck? I dont earn any money, but I do spend it, so that is taken care of too, I suppose.
I clean and I cook from scratch. (That's no disrespect to anyone who has a cleaning service, eats take out, or cooks from a box.) I educate my kids every day. (Kudos if you send yours to school.) I take care of my kids every day. (No worries if yours go to daycare, nursery school, or have a nanny.) In the evenings, I spend time with my hubs, have dinner, he gives the kids their bath while I get their stuff ready, and we get them into bed. (Just like a lot of other parents.) The big difference is that I do the things a lot of people outsource, either by choice, design, or necessity.
We have 1 income but 2 people working. 2 incomes usually mean more than 2 people working. My way isnt the best way for everyone, but it works for our family. I have a friend who loves her job- and her daughter- and cannot fathom staying home. I have another who would love nothing more than to stay home with her sons but works out of necessity. And what about before Bobby and Maya were here? What would the woman at Target have said if I'd mentioned, prior to having living children at home, that we'd discussed me being a homemaker. Because that's an important (if unpaid in the traditional sense) job too.
I'm not really mad anymore. Ignorance breeds a lot towards people who are different than we are and who make different choices. But it was a bit of a shock to have someone that I dont know make such a statement to me. And on the day I decide to take the kids shopping no less!
Well, at least they looked cute and I wasnt in pajamas!