Oosh, I haven't posted in a while, but after reading the comments on a blog entry of a momma I like to read, I cringed at a subject that was brought up that I'm finding to be more and more visible the last few years: Stay at Home Parents vs. Working Parents.
I have personally been on both sides and I have news for the haters on both sides- both types of parents work equally hard! When I was pregnant with my first child my husband was badly injured at work and had to have corrective surgery on his shoulder one month before the baby was born. In the very beginning of the recession, when every single company was laying off there was pretty much a hiring freeze until the last year or so. Although the money was scarce, it really was a blessing having my husband home to watch our child while I worked, and we both credit his having to hold a growing baby everyday with his speedy recovery from surgery (cheap physical therapy? Haha.). I was working an hour away and was trying my best to breastfeed for as long as possible, but it was so hard having to pump at work because, as one would expect, the time I had to take to pump had to happen off the clock, so every time I went to the little room to pump was time I had to stay later in order to make up the time lost. Which meant even more time away from my baby. Needless to say, the stress dried me up, which stressed me out more and that first year or so of her life was really hard on me, until I was granted permission to come home to work. And even though I was home, I still didn't get to spend that much time with her (I had work to do!). Having to clock out and come downstairs, think about supper, giving my husband a break, and keeping the routine going was absolutely exhausting and led to a lot of anxiety that I wasn't doing any of my "jobs" well. Yes, it makes you feel like crap when you realize that you're not a superhero and can't be with your child as much as you want, the house will never be picked up enough to have people just drop in, you have next to zero time with your partner, your ability to focus on your work will suffer, and supper will always have at least one pre-made element to it. All of this made me want to come home so badly I couldn't stand it.
During this time I found out I was pregnant again and really mourned that I would have to miss another child's infancy because of work. Luckily, my husband came into some work and got me thinking about asking if he would mind if I quit my job. My husband was fine with it, as long as his job proved to be solid, as within two months of Stinkbug being born, I quit my job. Here starts the stay at home portion of my life.
At first I thought "okay, I'm going to get tons of housework done, have a meal from scratch made every night at a decent hour, and maybe even get more sleep!". Within a week I realized that I was definitely overestimating the time I would have available to me each day to do these things. Every night I felt like I needed to apologize to my husband for the house being a wreck because it was never that messy when he was at home (and there was only one kid) and I somehow wanted to make sure he knew that my coming home wasn't for nothing. Having a baby and a 2 turned 3 year old running around the house is so much harder than you would think. When you're not dealing with the constant demands for attention from the older one, you're running over to the baby every ten seconds to dig something non-edible out of their mouth. It doesn't matter how clean you keep your house, they will ALWAYS find some little jewel of rolled up reese's wrapper, a petrified green bean, a lost earring or button, you name it. Even now that the baby is about to turn one, I still find myself up constantly and have but a few rare moments during the day to do something besides running after children, making sure no one is trying to climb on something dangerous, dealing with the never-ending "I'm hungry!" or "I want to watch a movie/new movie!". Then there's the fact that someone always needs a fresh butt or a drink or has tripped and is crying, or needs wiped down head to toe from getting into something (the other day it was half a bowl of yogurt I set on the table and forgot to pick up before the baby found it and was attempting to wear it like a hat). Today I loaded and ran the dishwasher and felt like I accomplished something.
So to those on both sides that want to stir the pot about who has it harder, I say to you, stop stirring! There's really nothing to argue about, because both kinds of parents have it rough on the point of trying to uphold all of the duties of being a parent, because no matter your situation, we all just want to do the very best we can to raise our rugrats to the best of our ability. So enough with the haters! We're all working, whether at home or for a paycheck and we're all contributing something to our household.
Also, if anyone wants the name of the blog that inspired this, it's by a hilarious mom that always lifts my spirits when I read her stuff.