Home > Balance, Lists, Parenting > The Grass is Not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

The Grass is Not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

As I have lamented the last few weeks about my job, I have also started to fantasize about being a stay at home mom (SAHM).  To provide balance (or to stop my whining) my friend Sarah graciously put together the following for me (and I post it with her permission – little does she know the only payment she’ll receive is a glass of wine). 

10 Reasons the Grass is not Greener in the Stay at Home Mom Pasture

Help I’m sick!!  When I call in sick, nobody covers for me.   No matter how sick I am, kids still need to get to school; lunches still need to be made.  There is no daycare to drop them off at, no nanny to speak of, just me doing the same thing I do everyday with the exception of barfing ever 20 minutes.

The inevitable party question. “What do you do?” “I’m a stay at home mom”.   Responses range anywhere from the cliché “wow isn’t that great” to blank stares of confusion.  Insult to injury is when the response is followed by the droll discussion of things like how expensive diapers are and The Wiggles, as if those must be the only things I am interested in.  My favorite follow-up to date is still “Do you do anything else??”  NOPE!  Just stay home and stare at the baby.

Only Mom Can Help.  When you spend your day assisting in every menial task for your children from helping brush their teeth to tying shoes 3 or 4 times, your children develop a “only mom can help me” complex.  My children will walk right past their dad sitting in the kitchen, through the entryway, up a flight of stairs, and into my bedroom to ask ME to open a fruit snack package for them…?

Fun Overkill.  Yes it is possible to have too much fun.  My husband and I are on completely opposite “fun” schedules.  By the time my husband gets home I have been on mom duty for 9+ hours.  I have played 25 hands of Go Fish, read 10 books, put together 3 puzzles and even pretended to be the fairy princess locked in the tower. (ok the princess was my idea and I actually locked myself in my room to make a quick 10 minute phone call.)  However, understandably, my husband wants to spend time not only with the kids, but as a family.   I want a chance to be a grown-up and a wife, my husband wants time to be a dad.  “Let’s play soccer” “Come on mom!”……..I’m coming.

Divorce! The D word.  Hate to think about it, but it happens.   My fear as a SAHM is that if this does happen I will be an average aged, average looking, minivan driving no name with a 9 year gap in my resume. I picture my first job interview going something like this “no Mrs. SAHM we stopped running DOS 2.0 about 7 years ago.”

Quantity Does Not Equal Quality.  Some people assume that because I spend MORE time with my kids it is better.  That is NOT the case.  More time just equals more time to screw them up.  There were days when I thought my kids would be better off at day interacting with other children rather than at home with me watching me pay bills and vacuum.

Tomorrow.  The curse word of the SAHM.  Only you know the expectation that you set for yourself.  Therefore what doesn’t happen today can always happen tomorrow, and no one is the wiser.  Instructions are easy..when tomorrow comes…repeat.

Blizzards/ Tornados & Other Natural Disasters.   Being in your home with any number of children 24 hours a day and trying to keep the house clean is impossible.  It is like shoveling snow in a blizzard.  I don’t even try anymore. 

Fashionista.  NOT!  I used to be a decent dresser.  Really.  As I grew tired of washing Cheetos hand prints and baby poop/spit-up off nice clothes, I retired my nice things and adopted the SAHM “uniform”: Workout clothes and tennis shoes that rarely actually make it inside a gym.  You know you have lost your inner fashionista when you put on a pair of jeans and a necklace and your kids ask you “why are you so fancy mommy?”

I Am Out the Running for Mother of the Year.  No awards to polish around here.  No plaques to cover my walls, no raises.  You can work your fanny off at your “job” as a SAHM but no one is there to pat your back.   I would like to say that your child’s smile is payment enough but let’s be honest, when’s the last time a smile bought you a purse?  And a promotion??  The only time my husband uses the word promotion is when he wants sex, and by “promotion” he means another baby.

There are days I start to think, gosh it would be nice to have a job, one where I got to talk to people about politics or books without pictures, or dare I say an R rated movie.  Then I realize that the grass in not greener, it’s just a different shade.

Thanks Sarah for the perspective!  I’ll share the color of my pasture as a working mom tomorrow.

  1. October 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

    What a great perspective from your friend. I struggle with this too – about wanting to work or wanting to stay home. I want both!

    • October 14, 2010 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Witty Wife. I tell Sarah she is witty and she should write, but it’s not her thing – but it should be! I am fortunate to have friends to keep me from jumping the work ship on the stormy days. I know you and I have shared out struggles and we want it all, but I think we’re both doing what makes sense and feels right. The thing I realize is that what feels right to me may evolve or change, but I just have to be objective when I consider the aternatives. And a little humor never hurts…

  2. The Mom Next door
    October 14, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Ok… The benefits of staying home…

    1. Drinking at 3 PM because you can.. oh, wait we do have to hide not from the boss but from my husband…
    2. Getting to the sales earlier than everyone else ….
    3. Going to Costco when the lines are short
    4. 9 AM cardio class….
    5. Coffee after Kinder drop off with the mommy’s
    6. Napping when no one is looking… 🙂

  3. October 14, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Mom Next Door – I feel like you’re trying to recruit me! 😉 Except for the cardio class – could we make that pancakes instead?!

  4. jen Priest
    October 14, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I give Sarah Mom of the Year!!! she does a great job and looks beautiful!!

  5. October 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Such a hilarious, well-written list. You have quite a talented friend!

    • October 14, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks Megan! I am trying to coax her to write more, or let me write about her more! 😉 I like your blog, I worry about my skirt flying up too!

  6. October 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I think it’s a human nature to thinks that grass is always greener on the other side. I always wanted to stay home too, but during my recent maternity leave I learned that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just like your friend said, no such thing as calling sick! I remember being sick and still have to take care newborn plus 4 yrs old with no help when hubby is at work. However, just like any other things in life… there’s always the ups and downs in everything.

  7. October 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    I have SAHM mom envy too.

    And my are teens, nearing college. That ship has sailed. So it’s nice to be reminded of the OTHER things I didn’t get, when mostly now I just focus on the fact that I never got to be the mom in the classroom, go on the fieldtrips, host the playdates…

    So that’s an excellent list.

    • October 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Lori – I am glad the list helped you, it helps me too. How many points does Sarah earn for making us feel better? But you may have to deduct whatever you award her, she’s really crafty!

  8. October 15, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Hey, great blog. I’m a working mom of two little girls, and lately working way more than is comfortable. Up til 11pm working; up at 6 am working (well at the moment actually, checking blogs). But oddly, I never…ever…fantasize about being a SAHM. But the principle in choosing doing contract-based work is to get some flexibility from time to time between projects and deadlines. I will volunteer in my kid’s classroom. Mark my words, I will.

    • October 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Susan, I know your life well! My head hit the pillow at 11:30 last night. I am so glad to have found your blog and can read about our parallel lives. I sneak into my kids classrooms once in a while and it feels like winning the mommy lotto!

  1. October 15, 2010 at 6:43 am

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