Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Post by Real Mommy Chronicles: SAHM vs.WM = TIFIDWTC

I finally made it to Dallas! I wasn’t sure if I was going to go since The Babes were sick, but I took care of them, to them their heavy doses of antibiotics, and entrusted them in the care of their grandparents. (That sounds like a really simple version of the Hell I endured, but that’s a post when I am not trying to relax).

This week I am taking some time off from writing for my blog as I regroup for a bit while Harrington actually has to do work at his conference. Today’s post is from my good friend, Annie, at Real Mommy Chronicles. I totally get where she is coming from because no Mom has it easy, whether you stay home with you kids full time or work outside of the home. It comes down to the personal choice of what is right for you and your family.

On Thursday, I have an amazing writer (who I am lucky enough to be her cousin) that will write about her choice to eat a plan-based diet.

Be sure to give some comment love to these great bloggers!

That would be, "This Isn't Fair, I Don't Want To Choose." (You are reading a Mommy Blog, my friend, so I am assuming you already know the acronyms for Stay At Home Mom and Working Mom. And if you didn't before, well, now you do.)

First of all, let me say that I know I am fortunate to even be in a position where I am struggling with this issue. Lots of moms don't have a choice but to work if they want their kids to have food, clothing and shelter. Technically, our family could survive (with all belts on that last, tightest hole, if you catch my drift) on my husband's salary alone. However, it would be nice to have a little more income. PLUS, it really is hard as Hell to be home with the kids 24 hours a day. I'm not (necessarily) saying it is Hell...just that it is hard as Hell.

But honestly? Weighing the pros and cons of both sides is exhausting. Stressful. Emotional. Draining. Scary.

On the one hand, your kids are only little once and it is your only chance to watch them grow and to be the main influence on their character.

On the other hand, being around your kids all day every day is so exhausting that it can sometimes leave you acting like a grumpy old man instead of the nurturing voice of love and guidance you dreamed you would be as a mother.

The craziest part has been trying to make the decision based on financial components. Once you've subtracted your nanny or daycare's pay from your salary, you are not left with much. Unless you are a CEO. Or treating your nanny as an indentured servant and not really 'paying' her per se. Which just really isn't cool. So basically, if you are a normal person, with a normal salary and you are decent enough to pay your nanny well...you find yourself doing a different kind of math:

So I am going to spend X amount of hours away from my kids this year in order to bring home Y?

Well, let me tell you. That equation just never sits well in your heart.

Because the truth is, no matter what you make, if you compare it to whether it is worth not being around your children I can't imagine a sum that makes it feel okay. Let alone good.

Plus, let me just add that it finally dawned on me that it is totally wrong and bizarre that we always seem to subtract the childcare expenses from my salary. Am I the only mom who finds herself doing the math that way? The truth is, if we want to do the math of having a two-salary household with childcare, we should subtract the childcare from both salaries to be fair, right? Half from each. My salary looks much more appealing with half of the childcare expenses subtracted from it. (And even better if I conveniently forget all of those lovely taxes that will be taken out..... Note to self: Get into that top, top bracket where I have a gazillion dollars and get taxed next to nothing before government comes to their senses and fixes that ridiculousness.)

The other part of the whole equation is, well...me. Little ol' me.

I went to college. I went to grad school. I got accepted into impressive programs. I worked my little tail off. (It was still relatively little back then.)

I enjoy working.

I am not sure I want to completely give that up for another 5 years or so. Certainly not for another 18.

Being a mom is my most important role. It is the one that is most vital I don't screw up. It is the one I enjoy the most.

But I totally get it when women talk about needing to also be productive in other ways in order to retain their sense of self. And I am starting to realize that perhaps I fall into that category.

I think my greatest strengths are as a mom. But maybe I need to be fulfilling other professional needs as well in order to really be the happiest and most patient mom I can be.

That, and I really need to start making time to do things like get a haircut, go on a date with my husband, get my nails done, shower daily.

I mean, I deserve to feel human, too, right?

I am pretty sure that when my mom was away from me in order to work for whatever her personal reasons were, she was hoping it would benefit me as a person. I need to honor that and make sure that I am not only a good mom and wife, but also a happy and productive person. Individual.

I need to make sure that her choices and challenges weren't wasted on raising a daughter who then never figured out how to not only be what her family needs her to be, but also be who she is supposed to be.

My kids deserve it.

I deserve it.


This Side of 30 said...

Being a SAHM is HARD! Fulfilling, yes, but still hard! I am also the type who enjoys working and being "productive" in an adult world -- and it turns out, it helps my sanity.

I am fortunate to WAH, with occasional meetings out. I feel so lucky.

Good luck making the best choice for you and your family!

Monica and Steve said...

Loud loud applause coming from my house. You said the very things I've been struggling with for the last...4+ years!


RealMommyChron said...

Ahhh, the WAHM deal always seems so dreamy! Although I'm sure there is a dirty underbelly and ugly truths connected to it, just like with WM and SAHM. ;)

Thanks for your support in my (seemingly forever ongoing) decision!

ps. Yes, isn't amazing how much sanity can benefit motherhood?!?

RealMommyChron said...


It is always amazing and wonderful to hear that your feelings and thoughts are not unique and alienating! I have a feeling it is something we will struggle with for many more years to come.
I suppose there could be worse crosses to bear, eh? :)

Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your similar struggle!

Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress said...

For a long time, I had no other choice to be another other than a WM. Now, I've been a SAHM for almost 5 years...and I was wrong to think that SAHM had it easy. IT IS TOUGH. And often lonely.

I hope that women know that whatever choice they make for their family, it is most likely the right one, one that others won't judge.

Mommy on the Spot said...

Elizabeth, I totally agree that every mother needs to make the right choice for her family. And every mother needs something different to be the best mom she can be. So mothers need to stick together and not judge. Because this job is hard enough as it is without that added garbage.

Having said that, being a SAHM it lonely. Which is one of many reasons I'm totally grateful for blogging.

RealMommyChron said...

So true! Both that we need to never, ever judge each other for our choices on this matter, but also that being a SAHM can be super lonely. Especially if you are in a new place or your friends don't have kids yet/live near you. (Can you tell that hit a little close to home?)

Blogging certainly does help, though! For example, you two lovely ladies make me feel supported and validated when I need it most and I hope I am part of a network that does the same for you. :)

Mommy on the Spot said...

Right back atcha!