Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stay-at-home NOTHING

Last week, I went shopping at Kohl's. A good friend had sent me a $25 gift card, PLUS I had a 15% off coupon so I HAD to go shop. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much that I actually wanted to buy. Shocking, isn't it? That is, until I went into the shoe section and stumbled upon the cutest Jennifer Lopez gold sparkly heels. (Think-'stripper' shoes.) Of course, I tried them on and they fit perfectly, were somewhat comfortable, and looked adorable.

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.

Jimmy Choo replica shoes, replica Jimmy Choo shoes, JLO, jennifer lopez, sparkly shoes
Appropriate for a stay at home mom??! I think not!
That's when the "wild Cara" on my shoulder whispered in my ear, "C'mon, live a little! You don't work outside the home anymore. You don't need to dress professionally. Besides, you go out all the time. These shoes are perfect! Plus the other SAHMs (stay at home moms) will be eating their hearts out!!"

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.) 

Now, back to the shoes. Should I have bought them? It's only been a week and so far I have no intention of wearing them. But the fact that I have them in my closet makes me feel like a lady, not a just a mom. The J-Lo stripper shoes are a symbol of my womanhood! Who would have thought?  Someday soon I vow to wear them; even if it's just to clean up smeared poop or vacuum. And dammit, I'll make being a stay at home mom look good!   



  1. At your next coffee break, I want you to put those puppies on, sip your Tassimo made brew and just admire how they look on your feet. That's an order! - Nicks

    1. OMG! What a great idea! I will be sure to snap a picture when I do and add it to this blog entry!

  2. Cute! I want two salaries now...:) Don't worry what others's seriously not worth it.

  3. BTW, how do you put the reply/delete under comments? I've looked all over the comment section and cannot find them and I need to have a reply button on my blog.


  4. Nevermind, I figured it out! XOXO

  5. You know, it's interesting about the whole stay at home thing. In Canada, our Mat leave is a year (it was 6 months when Max was born) and I was home for 7 1/2 months and then went back until he was about 2 3/4. The best six months of my career at that point was the first six months of his life.

    I have been on again, off again at home throughout all these years and truth be told, my house is usually a mess and of course the duties have changed over time and two kids, one now 12.5 (bat mitzvah may 28) and one almost - wait for it- SIXTEEN.

    I have worked (not full time) over the years (although there were weeks that were 60plus hours of work- but not until the kids were old enough to be at home by themselves) and I have done a LOT of volunteer work- in the past three years in addition to my own business, I have probably done about 30 hours a month of volunteer work.

    Still, as a couple, we have decided that it is really best for us to have at least one flexible parent who can (most of the time) drive swim team, go to teacher meetings and help with homework. Last summer, one kid was away for most of two months but the other was at home doing a distance ed course...with me sitting next to him the entire time.

    This summer we are going to Israel. At the very least, me and the kids. I might work or volunteer there. If my business gets business, I might come home for a week to do the work and go back.

    It's not really that I do nothing, just that overall, I am the one with the lower income and the higher responsibility to keep home running smoothly whatever that may mean. Both kids do their own laundry and the older one cooks well. they both wash dishes and know how to clean up for the cleaners. Its not really about the house being spotless or anything, more like about the flexibility to get everyone's needs met and if I make a few bucks while taking care of my family, then great.

    As much pressure as it puts on my husband to be the reliable mortgage payer and bread winner, we both agree that having one of us available to our kids (mostly- since i do work and volunteer, although mainly across the street from our house or in our house) is a priority until they both go to university. Its just how we decided to do things.

    That said, those times the finances have been bad or hard, I have carried my end within the limitations of being the one who is mostly responsible for keeping home afloat.

    You'll know when it is time to do something outside of your home, whether you are still a mainly at home mom or not. There are as many different descriptors of 'at home mom' as their are women (and men for that matter) who do it. For me the definition was created by the age of kids, the location we lived at (remember when I volunteered at the Y in Waltham just to get out of my house?) and just how much they needed me at any given moment. The one summer they were both gone for 6 six weeks, i worked full time, and during times when they were both at camp for a month at different times, in the totally childless times, I organized the house and purged etc.

    I don't really know why I am rambling on. Maybe because despite having my own business and doing all that volunteer work, I do see myself as an at home mother, even with a kid in grade 7 and a kid in grade 10. And yes, in two months, being an at home mother is also going to mean that my responsibilities will include driving practice. I said that to make YOU feel old!!!!

    1. OH MY GOODNESS! Driving practice! I do feel old!!!!!!!

    2. BRiana, thank you and carafaythw, i knew you would!

  6. My mom just bought me an awesome card
    It reads:

    she said "so! you're a stay at home mom..."
    in a way that insinuated
    she wouldn't be caught dead in that job
    ...and i laughed till i cried because
    i knew
    she wasn't qualified

    I'm going to frame it. Rock on with your bad self!

  7. You and your shoes look fabulous! XOXO