Do you remember the Leave it To Beaver show? June was flitting around the house in her fresh pressed dress and heels; the children always well behaved and mannerly. That’s how I knew that show was fiction. Had it been a documentary, Wally and The Beaver would have been coloring on the walls while June scrubbed up the milkshakes the boys had tossed at each other.
Being a stay at home mom is great, but the duties performed are sorely underrated by working mothers. It’s not that working moms don’t have a lot of responsibility. Instead, moms whom have never stayed home full time just have a different perception of moms who do. See, when you’re a stay at home mom, every working friend you have will think that you have more free time than people on death row. I mean, you don’t actually “do” anything, right? So when you decline that lunch date, they are indignant because they think you’re probably just taking another nap.
Your working friends see you in the school parking lot picking up you children with your hair in a ponytail, wearing your flannel pajama pants and a beat up t-shirt. “She must’ve just gotten out of bed.” Yeah. Okay. Right. We stay at home moms understand why we look that way, and it has nothing to do with sleep. On the rare occasion we happen to get the youngsters off to la la land early and make a little “me” time, it rarely ends in fluffy clouds and rainbows.
You draw some nice hot bath water, put on some relaxing music, light the candles, and lock the bathroom door. About the time you’ve settled in and the ambiance you have created begins to envelop you, you pick up the razor. Bad mistake. For as soon as you’ve made one swipe of your right leg with said razor, there is a rattling of the doorknob followed by the incessant knocking.
“Who is it?” you ask whilst gritting your teeth.
“Mommy, I have to poop”, says a whiny little voice.
“Use the other bathroom, dear.”
“Mommy, I can’t. There are monsters in that bathroom!”
You sigh and climb out of your sanctuary, one leg half-shaved, and conditioner still in your hair. And that is the day to day life of a stay at home mom. Working moms should understand that too. I’ve been both. Moms that work outside the home don’t always have time for themselves, but they don’t seem to understand that moms that stay at home don’t get that time either.
One remedy to your working friends’ misunderstanding of your life is to let them live it; just for a little while. But give them a taste of what you do.
Invite a few of the girls over one afternoon. Get the kids all amped up on sugar and caffeine. Let them drag out all the toys they own, crayons and all. As the girls get settled in, suddenly remember that you forgot to buy coffee. “How did I forget the coffee? I’ll just run out real quick and grab some. They’ll be just fine with you.” And the most important part of all, tell the kids they can choose a movie to watch while you’re gone. CHOOSE A MOVIE!!! That will cause the largest argument your household has seen in decades. With all the screams of “I don’t like that movie” and “You’re a baby, you can’t watch that”, your girlfriends will be ripping their hair out in no time.
By the time you return, those women will understand why you don’t have time to do your nails or fix your hair. It’s not that you just lie around watching television or sleeping, those kids give you a run for your money every single day. Not to mention the fact that you have constant household chores, a taxi service to provide, appointments to get to (on time…HA!), grocery shopping, and cooking.
It seems a simple concept. But you have to let your working friends know that you can’t be at their beckon call just because you’re a “stay at home mom”. Once they realize that you are as busy as they are, it can help your friendship because they will understand why you can’t just drop everything and go to lunch. You want to desperately. You just can’t.
And it is that understanding that all friendships need. It’s not about who does more. Rather, it’s mutual belief that you are all busy people no matter what you do. It simplifies so much with your relationships when everyone appreciates the roles that each other play. Having tight bonds with other women who actually “get” you is so important. We all need support, and the only way to have support from someone is through understanding. Hey, we’re all busy women. Don’t underestimate what your stay at home friends do. They just might invite you to coffee one day.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!