Last week this post from the Matt Walsh Blog really made some waves. I kept seeing it appear over and over again on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve wanted to write about this topic for awhile now, but it’s one that so many are so passionate about so I’ve held off.
The post was touching and I admire this blogger for what he wrote in defense of his wife. Wow, what respect he has for her, what admiration he has for a person he feels is doing the most important job in the world. He was white knighting his wife, his partner, the mother of his children from other women who look down on her (their) choice to focus solely on family. How wonderfully heroic…of them both. And while he praised her goddess status he also saluted the role of motherhood as a whole, working and stay-at-home alike.
Yet, so many of the thousands of comments on this post were from working moms undermining the the role of SAHMs with scenarios of what their days look like, how much busier they are than us SAHMs, how much harder it is to work and rear a family.
The point was so hugely missed. Unfortunate, because it was so eloquently written and so very, very true.
It reminded me of a time when motherhood was still pretty new to me (it still is), and I mused on Facebook that my new role as a stay-at-home mother was by far the most difficult job I had ever had.
Surprisingly, several people close to me pounced on my words to let me know how much more difficult it was to be a working mother. The thread turned into a debate and I found myself defending myself when there really was no need to do so. I care not about how much harder a working mom has it than I do. It’s a moot point in my life. I am not a working mom. I have never been a working mom. God willing, I will never have to be a working mom. My job is my daughter. There is no reason for me to compare my situation to that of a woman who works outside the home. And I would never so rudely do so.
As I’ve learned to navigate my way through the trials and joys of rearing my child, I can honestly say it has not become any easier. I can repeat with absolute conviction that the role of SAHM is the most challenging job I have ever had.
KEY WORDS: I have ever had (emphasis on the “I”).
This post is not a comparison.
This post is not a complaint.
This post is not an insult to working moms.
The fact of the matter is mothering…parenting…is rough work and not for the weary. It takes thick skin, creativity, adaptability, patience, strong-will, proactivity, dependability, determination, dedication, drive, etc. etc. etc. So many qualities that can be found on a professional resume. So why is it that SAHMs are often looked down upon or undermined by her working counterparts and society at large?
Here’s the thing…even though I would not change my SAHM status for the world, I often times envy working moms.
I envy that during during their work day they get bathroom breaks without an audience. I envy that that they likely get a lunch break, where their meal is their own; they packed what they wanted to eat or ordered exactly what sounded good to them and not what their child might want a bite of. I envy that they may opt to forgo a lunch break to run errands that may otherwise prolong their time away from their families. I envy that they get to run these errands alone, without getting a kid in and out of a car seat for a 5 minute jaunt into the bank.
I envy that for a few hours a day their’s is the only butt they’ve wiped. I envy that their wardrobe is likely nicer than mine, that they spend their work days looking presentable wearing something other than yoga pants and flip flops. Oh, how I long to have a place to go to wear beautiful shoes — they are pretty impractical at play dates and swim lessons.
I envy that working moms are likely praised or acknowledged for a job well done – a SAHM may not get the recognition she deserves for her exclusive job during the most tender of years until her children have children of their own.
Yes, yes, I know working moms come home to all the same shenanigans and fun and motherly duties that a SAHM is swimming in all day, every day. But for at least part of their day they had a break from it.
Yup, us SAHMs need breaks; our days aren’t always fun filled; it’s often exhausting, thankless work and feels never ending. Sure, I nap when my daughter does. I’m guilty of turning on the TV to keep her occupied while I clean the kitchen. Yep, my house is often messy, more so than not. But I am a kick-ass mother, who gave up her career for her kid and I’m not asking for kudos or joining a pointless argument of who has it harder.
I applaud Matt Walsh for recognizing that motherhood is a tough job no matter what and those of us who choose to focus exclusively on it are not lazy slackers living on easy street with days full of cupcakes and sunshine. The role of a SAHM often feels isolating and lonely and shouldn’t be disregarded in any way, but rather esteemed for the impact it truly does have on society and the lives within – the society of our homes and the lives of our families.
I realize how very, very blessed I am that my husband is able to financially support our family on his income alone. He makes sacrifices for us that often keeps him working long hours. But this is what we have chosen for our family and we know our daughter will be a better person because of this choice. I would not trade this opportunity for anything, not even endless places to wear a hot pair of stilettos.
And kudos to SAHM dads, working dads, single moms, grandparents raising grandchildren, god parents raising god children and anyone responsible for the growth, happiness, well-being and love of other human beings. Keep up the good work, our future depends on it.