Blog posts about how hard it is to be a stay-at-home Mom get a lot of clicks and generate a lot of buzz. Some of the most popular are those written by husbands, lauding the amazing work done by their wives. (See “My Wife’s Job is Harder than Mine” & “You’re a Stay at Home Mom? What do you do all day?“) Don’t get me wrong: I lick up those posts drop by delicious drop. I subtly share them on my Facebook wall, hoping my husband might notice and give them a read. Every SAHM in my circle gives my share a “thumbs up,” pulling up a chair to the praise party.
Unfortunately, posts comparing the role of a SAHM to other Moms (or to other adults in general) highlight the number one conflict in our household since becoming parents: score keeping. It’s unintentional, but inevitable. (This Wall Street Journal article about Mom’s time versus Dad’s time helped shed some light on my own feelings.) I’m as much to blame for it as my husband. He reminds me I get to nap when I’m home with our toddler, I point out that I can’t possibly nap and get everything done at home. I point out that he gets to pee and eat lunch uninterrupted and go on child-free business trips, he points out that without his pay cheque, we wouldn’t have a roof over our heads. Then I remind him that without my uterus, we wouldn’t have such a beautiful son… and we could go back and forth forever, because no one can ever really win. We both have roles and responsibilities that allow our family to thrive, we both have good days and bad days, and we both envy what the other one has to or doesn’t have to do every now and then. What ultimately keeps us in harmony (and trust me, we have our moments of dramatic discord) is communication and compromise.
I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to husband-authored “My SAHM Wife is Awesome” posts because I am still a bit self-conscious about my role as a Stay-at-Home mother. These odes to SAHM-hood boost my self-esteem and remind me that I am, in fact, pretty awesome. But you know what? My husband is pretty awesome too, and so is my Mommy friend who has gone back to work part-time, and my other Mommy friend working full-time, and so is my retired neighbour who never had kids. The grass is always greener, and I think we all get really good at imagining how great other Mothers or other people in general have it when we should focus more on how awesome it is in our own backyard. (Even if, like me, you bemoan the fact that you don’t actually have a backyard.)
If there’s one thing I can say about stay-at-home parenthood versus any other career, it’s that it is fleeting, it is temporary. You might be a lawyer or a teacher from your first day out of university til the day you retire, but being a stay-at-home Mom can only last as long as I have children to stay home with. So instead of feeling like my partner or society as a whole don’t appreciate me, I’m going to appreciate the job that I am so privileged to do every day.
I’m awesome. So are you!