Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sometimes You Get the Worst of Both Worlds

There are times I feel like I have nothing in common with my SAHM friends and nothing in common with my working mommy friends. Like especially when it's 12:04 a.m. and I'm knee deep in a huge writing project that's supposed to be done fairly soon, so I'm trying to work whenever Paloma's asleep. Which means working in the middle of the night and at 5 a.m. My current schedule sure takes me back to the days when Paloma the Preemie had to be woken to eat every three hours. The only things currently keeping me alive are chocolate and exercise.

So tired.

And coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee.

What was I talking about?

Oh, right. I'm like a WAHM (say it with me: wooooooooooohhhhhm), which isn't really an acknowledged thing that anyone cares about since everyone's too busy awwwing at the cute crafts the SAHMs are making and gushing over how empowered the working mommies are. Note that I do not disagree with either the cuteness of the crafts and projects or radness of the empowerment.

I just kind of feel left out of both sometimes since I don't have time to do all the things I'd like to do (make clothes for Paloma or a quilt, make all our baby food, work in the garden, go to story time, volunteer at the kitty shelter where I used to scoop poop, practice making macarons, walk with my mommy friends, fix up the house, etc.) and my work doesn't bring in enough dough to grant me the freedom to buy clothes or hire gardeners or pay someone to fix all the stuff that needs fixing in our house.

People tend to assume that because I'm home I have all this free time to like puree organic hearts of palm and whip up batches of homemade, earth-friendly hand sanitizer. Or that I'm working so I'm available all the time right this second because there couldn't possibly be a baby right there demanding a dramatic reading of Goodnight, Little Bunny for the 50th time that day. And not that many people know that in addition to working and watching Paloma, I also sit for a friend three days a week.

Because, gosh, who would be so crazy as to attempt to work at home with a 14-month-old, babysit, and stupidly try to keep up with all the cool things the people who are lucky enough not to have to work are doing?

Kind of sweet

(Granted, a really darn cute 14-month-old, but a 14-month-old nonetheless. Which means typing four words at a time while a baby who has obviously been starved by neglectful parents is attempting to climb one's pants leg before realizing that, yes, there is poop in there.)

Er, yeah, that crazy person would be moi. Sometimes I just want to go back in time and throttle my younger self.

Pee Ess - A few of my chicas asked me to clarify a thing or two, and I figured I might as well just do it here. Of course I don't think that mommas who stay at home are less busy or that mommas who go to work really have any more freedom. That's the popular perception, and popular perception does influence how mommas are treated at every point in the spectrum, la la la. I do think, however, that there's a big divide when it comes to the kind of and quality of busyness.

IMO - and it's only my opinion so feel free to disagree - there's a world of difference between being busy because you're doing what you want to do (because it enriches your kid's life or your life, because it's fun, because it helps someone else out, because you want to work, etc.) and doing what you have to do but don't necessarily want to do (because your partner doesn't make enough money to be the sole breadwinner, because you're a single parent, because you don't get maternity leave, etc.). It's not like one kind of busyness is better or worse, but one sure as heck sucks more!


  1. I know I don't have it as hard, but Nathan just screamed inconsolably for an hour and a half - I was dialing the doctor when he finally stopped crying long enough to look at the TV, which I turned on to try to stop the screaming.

    I'm supposed to study for a test this evening but I'm not going to be able to - my head is still pounding from the screaming, and I can't even open my book without him kicking me. I wish I could afford daycare, for real.

  2. I FEEL YOUR PAIN! I worked at home for a horse show association from when I found out I was preggers with Bella, until just after Bridger was born (5 years) (no more work from home with 2 kids and not enough paycheck to get in-home care). You hit every nail on the respective head. And even now, I'm a neither-mom. I don't have one full-time paid gig, and I don't work out of my home - but I am: a freelance yoga teacher, on-call firefighter, ski ambassador in the winter, babysitter, oh yeah, and a full time SAHmommy. Who does things that other families pay people to do. And yet when I list that off? People still say 'oh, so you don't work'. Priceless. You hit a nerve.

    But at the same time, I do all that so I can be the full-time mom, and it's worth it, and I own it. I just sometimes fantasize about getting the 40-hr a week gig to take some time off :) I just wrote a novella comment. I'm sorry.

  3. @KT Everyone has their junk to deal with! I know what you mean about the aftereffects of the screaming. When Paloma very occasionally gets a case of the screamies, I usually just sit there shell-shocked afterward, unable to really concentrate on anything.

    @Mira It's like moms are undervalued and criticized no matter what they do, ugh. The working mommies get crap. The mommies who don't work get crap. And the mommies who fall somewhere in between are just assumed to be in one camp or another, so get crap from people for working and for being at home! You really can't win, no matter what.

  4. Working from home has gotten to be such a headache since I'm always afraid I look unprofessional when I can't jump on every request that comes in as soon as it comes in. I'm looking for a part-time job so I can stop being the one in charge. Then I'm dumping my high maintenance clients!

  5. @Zophos I think one of the hardest things about freelancing (with or without babby) is that in addition to doing the work, you have to track down the work, collect from the deadbeats who don't pay, etc. I'm lucky in that I've got something going with someone who finds work for me so I can be a bit choosier than I would otherwise.

  6. I know right where your coming from I'm a writer, SAHM, blogger, reviewer etc. But I don't usually tell people about the writing since it ends up being a huge deal and I writer erotic romance so that's another whole thing. So when edits are due and I have two kids demanding attention and dinner has to be on the table because according to the hubby that's my job. It get frustrating and it's like no one gets it. Of course when asked and I say I'm a SAHM every ones like your so lucky you don't have to do anything all day. Yeah right.
    Sorry about the mini rant there.

  7. Oh PS I wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog.

  8. Isn't that the worst of it, Nanny? There's still the pressure for the home to be the woman's sphere. Doesn't matter how much she does during the day - the responsibility for dinner will probably still be hers.

  9. I feel ya too, sister! I feel I'm stuck between that rock and hard place sometimes as I'm also a WAHM...when I get any work that is!

    I have a memory which I've tried to forget...baby twins, premature, 2 weeks old, 18 month old, husband at conference I forced him to go to and trying to do an assignment for my MBA and catch up with work documents. No complaints, my choice, however.....

    A 'friend' came to visit and suggested I find an activity to do as it must be nice to have all this free time to just sit around; maybe I could do some vacuuming and when was I going back to work............


  10. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and say hello on my special SITS day.

    I'll be back to read more when I get a moment. :)

  11. I know how you feel! we get slammed no matter which choice we make. I don't believe free time exists for any mother whether she stays home, works at home or works outside the home (unless she has an entourage of nannies, cooks, maids and drivers). It sucks that our society is so non-supportive of moms

  12. @Helen Ack! I hope you gave that 'friend' at least a soft punch in the arm in response!

    @Teresha It's so true - having lived in Germany (in the 90s, mind) I remember there being all manner of little perks for moms who chose to stay at home, like tax breaks and such. Unfortunately, I believe it's all changing in Europe, too, and becoming more like the U.S.

  13. Writing... ahhhh... I understand! :)

    And just so you know, I already blogged this morning, but 2 year old has not yet had a diaper change. Ooops! Thanks for reminding me! :)

  14. Happy SITS day. So glad to find your blog.

    Working at Home is very difficult unless you have a sitter who cares for your child while you work or it's very hard to do.

    There are perks to everything, but I have decided that being a parent, although wonderful, is very hard, and all moms (SAHM, WAHM, and Work in Office Moms) have challenges.


Show me some love!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...