Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Losing my readers in 3, 2, ...

I've been trying to stay away from this topic because I'm not a very political person.  I believe that everyone has their own beliefs and will live their lives the best way that they can - or, at least, that's what I hope.

But everytime I see a news story about the comments made by Hilary Rosen I get upset all over again.

I get upset, not because I'm offended by what she said.  Quite the opposite.  I understand what compelled her to make that comment.

I'm a mother raising two children.  Which, according to the news stories, is one of the hardest jobs around.  Yes, raising children is hard.  But, do you know what's harder?  Raising children and having a full-time career.

There.  I said it.  I believe working mothers work harder than stay at home moms (SAHM)*. 

And now I'm glad I only have a handful of readers - if that - because I'm pretty sure I just lost them.

I'm not saying I don't think it's hard being a SAHM.  It most certainly is.  However, SAHM aren't out of the house for a minimum of 10 hours a day - I am.  After this 10 hour hiatus from my house, I come home to do all the work that didn't get done during the day.  This includes: cooking, laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc.  Let's add to this squeezing in helping the kids complete their homework during the 2 hours that they are home before they have to go to bed.  My weekends aren't filled with fun trips to the park or soccer games.  No, because I'm away from the house for 50+ hours a week, the weekends are filled errands and grocery shopping. 

We tried to do soccer for Lucas, but with the two weekday evening practices and the weekend games it was just too much stress.  Stress for us as well as Lucas.  Lucas was stressed because we would get home from work/daycare, wolf down dinner, run to practice, and then come home to do homework.  For a kid who has to wake up at 5:30, that's a lot of stuff to do with no downtime, so something had to give and it was soccer.

Let's not forget that in all of this, I have to find time to schedule doctor appointments for routine visits.  Once a month me and the kids all go to the chiropractor.  Lucas and my husband have to go for allergy shots every 2 weeks.  Today, Lucas has a follow-up for his ADHD, and both kids have an eye-doctor appointment.  And, hoo boy, can you imagine if one of the kids gets sick?  Not only do I have to take off from work (using sick-time I don't have), but now I'm behind on my commitments in the office.  When I return to work I have to work that much harder to get back on track.  There were so many instances of this between 2008 and 2010 that my performance suffered and I almost lost my job.

I've heard the platitudes that if I really wanted to, I would find a way to stay home.  But the truth of the matter is, I am the breadwinner.  Yes, my husband works.  But I make twice as much as he does.  We've tried having him stay home when we only had one child, but I didn't make enough to support us all and there was no where else to trim the fat, so to speak.  So my husband got a job, as soon as he finished his degree, and he's been working ever since. 

Now he works over an hour away from home, which makes things even harder for me.  I have to wake up at 5am to get myself ready for work so I then have time to get my kids ready for school/daycare - we are in the car by 7am.  Then it's up to me to pick them up and take them to whatever appointments we have that day.  Time for exercise doesn't exist. 

So, yes, I look at SAHM and think they have it easy - I even get jealous!  It is definitely hard to stay home and raise your children.  But it's even harder to have a career and raise your children.  Prove me wrong.

* This discussion does not include the term work at home mom (WAHM) - those are a whole other breed.  Nor does it include the SAHM that choose to homeschool - how you do that without tearing your hair out, I do not know.


Cayt said...

I completely agree with you that being a working mother is super hard, partly because of the conflicting messages passed on by society about what makes a good mother and having to have a career. But I don't think you're actually disagreeing with Rosen. She's a working mother, too, and her remarks were actually that a very wealthy SAHM is probably not the best mouthpiece for all women in America and their views on economic issues. A woman who is married to someone wealthy enough that she doesn't have to work for pay probably has no idea what single mothers, working mothers, poor mothers etc. think of economic issues. I don't think that Rosen devalued the hard work associated with raising children - she has kids, too - but she also has a career, so she knows how hard it is to have to juggle that with having kids. It's a shame that this debate has become so warped away from the original remarks, because having a wider range of people advising political candidates would be brilliant, and this debate could have really helped in that direction.

Nimble said...

Found your blog through Julia's comments. Dayum! you are stretched thin. I am a working mother too. I salute you and I hope things get easier with a little more wiggle room in the future.

Mrs. Commoner said...

@Cayt, I never disagreed with her. In fact, I understood why she made the comments she did. I thought that's what I was getting at in the post. Sorry for not being clearer.

@Nimble, Thank you! The wiggle room you speak of is exactly why we're moving back to England so we can be closer to my in-laws for the help that's needed.

Swistle said...

What puzzles me is why we need to decide which one is harder, in huge groups of non-alike people in non-alike situations. There's no solving that equation in groups, only as individuals.

If a woman feels the equation comes out easier/better for the stay-at-home mother, she should be a stay-at-home mother (the rocky finances are one of the things I think contribute to the difficulty of that role). If a woman instead feels the equation comes out easier/better to be a working mother, she should be a working mother. That way everyone wins.