Being a Stay-at-Home Mom is a Thankless Job — and Yes, It’s Real Work
I don’t resent the work of stay-at-home mothering, I just wish people would recognize it.
Being a stay-at-home mom was never my dream. In my early twenties, as I pounded the pavements of Manhattan in platform shoes typing fanatically into a Blackberry, I remember envisioning how one day I’d fit babies into that life with the help of a nanny and the more decent hours that would come with a higher-level editorial position.
But when my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby right after moving out of state for his job, my options dwindled. I distinctly remember being eight months pregnant and waddling out of what would officially be the last of a string of lukewarm interviews, sitting down to crunch numbers with him and realizing that even if I got the job, we’d be losing money with what we’d pay in childcare. Mutually, we decided I’d stay home with the baby.
Once our daughter came, I flourished in this accidental role of stay-at-home parent. Her coos and cries were my new constant, daily purpose, her late-night feeds my unmissable meetings. I did still work part-time from home, typing blog posts into the notes section of my iPhone at 3 a.m. and taking calls from prospective clients hooked up to my breast pump. But despite my fierce desire to hold on to some semblance of a career, it became increasingly clear that mothering was my new full-time job.
Nearly five years later, we’ve added another child, and I dream of at least one more. The rhythm of my days (and nights) is predictable in that each day brings chaos. The role of stay-at-home motherhood, I’ve found, makes you more than a mother — it makes you the go-to person on all the things.
I am the go-to appointment-maker and mess-cleaner, grocery-shopper and laundress.
I am the disciplinarian, short-order cook, and changer of practically every single diaper.
I have to beg, borrow, and steal to make time for myself.
And when I do get alone time, I usually just choose to sleep. Sometimes I daydream about having a commute, just so I could listen to some music by myself and get lost in a thought that has nothing…