Dear Stay-At-Home Mom,
Some people must be questioning what you do at home all day. I know what you do because I’m a mom and for a while I did it too.
I know you do unpaid work, often thankless work, which starts the moment you wake up, and doesn’t even end when you go to sleep. I know you work weekends and nights, with no time off or any leave. I know the rewards are joyous but few.
Our lives are completely different. I work in an office; you work at home. My work includes meetings, emails, spreadsheets, and PowerPoint. Your work includes diapers, meals that end up on the floor, crayons on the wall, the sibling rivalry, the baby that never seems to stop crying. I spend my days wishing I were with my kids. You spend yours enjoying yours (and battling them, too) but longing for adult interaction – sometimes feeling isolated and alone.
I know your work can seem like an endless cycle. You must fantasize about having an hour to yourself to eat your lunch in peace, or about having an afternoon nap. And sometimes, when your partner gets home in the evening after his work, he wants to put his feet up exactly when you need a break the most, and this can bring you to tears. I get that your job doesn’t come with a pay or vacation time. Sometimes, you must feel guilty for needing time away for yourself. But there’s no such thing as a “sick day.” Your job is hard.
I also get that society puts ridiculous standards on us women; if we stay home we’re wasting our potential but if we work outside of the home we’re neglecting our kids. Both ideas are ridiculous. You made the right choice for your family.
But I want you to know, you’re not just a babysitter. The work you do day-in and day-out shapes and builds the world of the little ones you’re raising. Their reality is the one you create for them every day. And that’s serious, meaningful work. I admire the way you work without expecting any reward – no promotions, no fame, no salary.
Our lives may be very different but we have more in common than you think. We both love our babies, want the best for them, and give them all of our best selves. Motherhood is hard, regardless of where/how we do it.
I just wanted you to know that I understand. We’re both mothers. Keep up the good work.
A Working Mom