As I put them in my cart, I suddenly stopped myself. "What the hell does a stay at home mom need shoes like this for?" I thought.
|Appropriate for a stay at home mom??! I think not!|
I decided that the "wild Cara" was right and put the J-Lo shoes in my cart. I zoomed straight to the register before I could change my mind.
As I was checking out, the cashier picked up one of the shoes and commented, "Ooo! Cute!"
"They're soooo not me," I laughed nervously, "I'm a stay at home mom, what do I need these shoes for, right?"
"You stay home?" she smirked.
I nodded, "with my 3 year old boy."
"So you don't have to do anything all day but stay home with your kid?" she replied.
Figuring she was probably just jealous, I politely ignored her, smiled, and paid for the shoes. (Only came to $21 by the way, which my $25 gift card took care of! Woohoo!)
Now that the shoes are on my shoe rack and I've had a few days to think about it, I still don't regret buying them. I do however, regret not saying something to that cashier. I know she probably didn't mean anything by it, but her comment really hit a sore spot of mine. I am constantly hearing comments about how SAHMs do nothing all day and how "it's so easy."
Oddly enough, I used to hear similar things about my old job. I was a teacher for 7 years and I got so sick of always hearing about how easy it was, how we only worked until 3pm (yeah right!), and how we had summers off. Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment because my new career gets about the same amount of respect, or less.
Quitting my job as a teacher to become a stay at home mom was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Those of you who know me know how much I struggled and went back and forth with the decision. I stayed up many nights tossing and turning and thinking about it. Part of me felt like I was going to be a failure if I quit my job. 4 years of college + 2 years of grad school + 7 years of teaching and I'd have nothing to show for it. Well, not nothing exactly, but I'd always seen myself as a working mom. My mom did it, so I could do it too.
The funny thing was, when I asked my mother for her advice about whether or not I should stay home, she was adamant that I do it if we could make it work financially. I was shocked. I asked her how she could feel that way after always pushing academics and sending me to college. Her response: "I was never able to do it and I wish I could have. I've always regretted it." She pretty much told me I could always go back to work, but my son wasn't going to be young forever and I would never regret staying home with him. In fact, I heard that last part from a lot of people; I'd never regret it. And I haven't-not one single day.
Before I made the big decision to stay home with my son however, I did go back to work for one year. That was a really difficult year. In fact, right now it's just a blur. I'll never regret going back for that time though because it made me appreciate just how hard it is to be a working mom. Even on my worst day as a SAHM, I think about how it could be so much harder. And I have such respect for my friends and former co-workers who do it all.
That being said, I often get two responses from people when I tell them I'm a stay at home mom. (From people who are not stay at home moms, that is). Either I get, "Wow, you're so lucky. I wish I could stay home with my kids!" or I hear, "You stay home? What do you do all day???"
Honestly, I can't blame people. Since I only have one child and he is pretty laid back, this is the easiest, most enjoyable job I've ever had. Especially now that my son is potty trained and goes to preschool 3 days a week. Most days I think, "I am so lucky! This is awesome!"
But would I say that I do nothing all day? Of course not. A recent money/finance article stated that the true monetary value of a stay at home mom is over $100,000 a year. I probably deserve more. (HA!) I am the kind of person that doesn't sit down until everything is done. I have a daily to do list and on my list, I actually have to write down things like "eat" and "make tomorrow's to do list". I am laughing as I type this but honestly, it's hard to remember all the things that need to be done, especially with mommy brain!
Perhaps the worst offender and critic of stay at home moms can be our husbands. I know deep in his heart, my hubby is happy that I am home with our son. But I also know he misses my paycheck. Especially that humongous teacher's paycheck I brought home. (Insert laugh here). I don't know if he really thinks I don't do much around here or if he just likes to pretend he thinks that to get me going. Several times, he's suggested I do nothing but sit around and watch Oprah while eating bonbons. Somehow he always manages to make these jokes on the days I've cleaned up smeared poop off A's crib, dealt with horrible tantrums all day, or scrubbed crayon marks off the walls. Come to think of it, I'm amazed hubby's not missing any key body parts after taking that risk!
All joking aside, being a SAHM can be a wonderfully rewarding job. It can also be stressful, tiring, and frustrating. I was going to try to list some of the things I do as a stay at home mom, but I decided not to. After all, the majority of my readers are moms and know what goes into the job. Many of us also know what it feels like to be unappreciated by our spouse. The truth is, the only one I need to feel appreciated by is my son. Mission accomplished. (Someone tell hubby I deserve a bonus.)