Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ode to the SAHM

For those of you who don't visit chat boards, SAHM stands for "stay at home mom" ... or as I call them, AWWICNB ("amazing woman who I could never be").

Now, I love my boys. And daily they do things that! Sometimes I sit at work and find myself just looking at their pictures ... wondering what they are doing, what they are having for lunch, how they are napping, etc. It makes me misty sometimes.

So, you would think having three snow days off with my boys would make my heart sing.

Ahhh, no. It makes my head throb.

I walked into work today and almost hugged my boss I was so glad to be back to work. Still, it's not that I'm not sitting here right now staring at pictures of my boys and wondering about them. It's just that working makes me a better mommy.

Sometimes feel like I'm at an AA meeting when people find out I have triplets and I work full time.

"Hi, my name is Jessica and I'm a working mother."

"Hello, Jessica."

Yup, I work all day, bring home the bacon, and fry it up in a pan.

People always ask me about the big "G." Yes, I feel guilty and it creeps up on me when I least expect it. My biggest guilt time is right after I put the boys to bed and I think, "I spent 3 hours with my children today."

I did the math once -- I spend about 45 hours a week with my boys. Our nanny spends about 45 hours a week with the boys. How about that nice talle latte with a side of guilt?

Dan wonders why I don't go out more with my friends or even by myself on the weekends -- mainly it's because I feel like I spend so little time with my kids as it is, I should take anymore time from them.

I guess some of guilt ... no, actually, all of the guilt is self-created. Dan made the awesome husband of the year move when we first found out we were having triplets by telling me that I had the choice of going back to work or staying at home. He continues to remind me of that option whenever I become so burdened with guilt that I breakdown into a sobbing puddle of muck curled up in the fetal position in the empty master bathroom tub.

I'm very lucky to have that option of staying home or working. But that even adds to my guilt -- I could stay at home. I choose NOT to stay at home. Which leads me to ask the question, "What the hell is wrong with me?" The next thing I remember is being in the tub.

Honestly, I just don't think I was cut out to be a SAHM.

I think this gets some people's feathers ruffled. I was once told by someone that I was paying someone else to do MY job.

The newest long-term study of teens, by the way, noted that mothers working did not affect whether kids turned to drugs, etc. The only relevant factor was parents who were involved in their children's lives. And working doesn't mean you can't be involved in your children's lives.

I believe that there are moms who are meant to stay home, but there are also moms who are at their best when working. That's me -- I excel as a mommy because I work.

Working moms are out there nodding there head in understanding, while SAHM are probably shaking their heads in disbelief. I don't have the answer why it works for me, but it does.

After a day at work when I still have a million things to do to keep the homefires burning, I am somehow more recharged to play with my boys than I am on the weekends when I can get all the household chores done during nap time.

I am more tired on the weekend days than I am on the weekdays! Most SAHM I know are the opposite.

I don't think working moms have it any harder or easier than SAHM ... it is just different.

In the end, both sides should be rewarded for what they do and not slammed because it is different from what they chose to do -- c'mon ladies, let's support each other!


The Beers Family said...

THANK YOU! I to am a working mom although I only have 1! The guilt is horrible leaving my baby at daycare but he is happy - he likes playing with different toys and being with the kids. I think I am a better Mom because I work - I am more patient and I think I play more because I know I dont have all day to do it. I think I would be a crabby mom if I stayed home all day!

Moxie Mama said...

I wrote a similar post last August - - but from the other point of view. I lost "friends" when I decided to stay at home with Sam and Jane. People said horrible, thoughtless things to me. (Not sure they knew the comments were horrible and thoughtless, I think they were probably trying to help.) Many people treated me as if I was throwing *MY* life away. That I had wasted a perfectly good career and education. But I know in my heart that I made the right decision as you did in your heart. I have friends that made the decision to go back to work but not because they love the work and it fulfills them. They do it to get away from their kids. They feel powerless and sometimes bored. They don't know, and have never bothered to learn, how to entertain and engage a young mind. I wonder why these people even bothered to have children... (It is clear that you are not in this camp.) My frustration doesn't lie in each person's very personal decision (as long as it was made in a healthy, thoughtful way) but that we, as moms, can't support each other. So, I loved how you ended your post. Bravo.