Let me start by saying that I am the kind of person who enjoys going to work. I am proud of where I am in my career and love being a ‘working mom’ most of the time. For those of you who know me, you know that I chose not to take a maternity leave after my first child was born and instead, took four weeks off and then continued in my sales role while working from home and attending weekly face-to-face meetings with clients all around the city (with my breast pump in my purse, of course) and traveling when needed. Despite the many comments and opinions from other people, it was a great choice for me and I wouldn’t change a thing if I could do it again. I’ll write a post later about the pros and cons of not taking a mat leave for those of you interested.
This time around, I decided to take a mat leave. Given the fact that I was having two babies and that I was still somewhat new in my role (I changed careers when my first child was 6 months old into a completely different company and position, while working from an office downtown with less flexibility in terms of working from home and in a much more demanding role than my previous sales position). Not taking a maternity leave wasn’t going to work very well this time.
Sure, I had some anxiety about taking a maternity leave. I have always said that it’s way easier going to work than being a stay-at-home mom, both emotionally and mentally…for me at least. I was pretty nervous about what this maternity leave would be like for me and if I would make it the full length of time.
To be honest with you, it’s been pretty great so far! I do miss working at times; I miss the fast-paced downtown environment and being in the office but I’m very well connected with the company and my colleagues which allows me to still feel like I’m part of the team. As much as I do miss it, it has also been very nice to focus 100% of my time on the twins and experience new (and different) challenges along the way. I should mention that our two-year old is still in full-time daycare while I have been on maternity leave… until recently.
With all of the craziness around the world with COVID-19, we have recently pulled our toddler from daycare and the last week has been a whole new realm of challenges for yours truly.
HOLY CRAP. This past week has been a real eye-opener in terms of real-life mom shit. I’ve definitely had all three kids at home with me before. I’ve gone shopping with all three, grocery shopping, you name it, but I have not had them all at home for a full week without leaving the house…ever. I should add in here that my husband is still working during this world madness. He’s a contractor and is only working with one other person these days so has been fortunate enough to be able to continue working, for now. This means that I am home alone with the 3 little weirdos.
Yes, this is going to sound like a major “first world problem” to some and others may think I’m a real asshole for complaining about it but let me give you a bit more insight to the things going through my head these days, just to ensure you fully understand my mentality. Also, I feel like I should mention here that I do love my kids. This should be obvious but may not be once you see my thought process below.
- How did my mom stay home with us three kids?
- How does anyone stay home with kids?
- How do I get playdough out of my rug?
- Is 11am too early to pour a glass of wine?
- Stay-at-home moms must be aliens. Hero aliens.
- It’s only 1pm?
- Why isn’t my toddler napping?
- I wish I was at work.
- Ok, maybe I should be grateful for this time with my kids.
- I wonder if nannies are still available during this pandemic?
- Am I a bad mom?
- Why does washable paint not come out of clothing?
- I hate Peppa Pig.
- How much screen time is too much screen time?
Other things that come out of my mouth these days are around the topic of hygiene. Things like being proud of myself for actually showering or putting on a bra and real clothes (lulus count right?) instead of my giant sweat pants and men’s t-shirt. Or the fact that I even put my toddler in clothing other than pajamas. That means it’s going to be a good day for sure. Getting through a day with only an hour or two of TV for the toddler is also a proud moment of mine but usually the most exhausting because this means I had to pull out all the activities throughout the day. The playdough, paint, crayons and felt pens, toys she never knew she had, stickers, baking a cake… you name it.
This is where I loop back to the title of this post to discuss my admiration of stay-at-home moms. This isn’t a new found fondness by any means. I have always been the first one to say how much work it is to stay home with kids but it has just become more heightened these days.
To all the moms out there who choose to stay home with the kids and to the ones who didn’t have a choice, I salute you! You guys are the real cats’ pajamas. The crème of the crop, if you will. You wake up a mom, go throughout the entire day without taking this hat off and then end the day exhausted and thinking about how you need to repeat it the following day. You plan activities to keep your kids busy throughout the days and try your hardest to not just plunk them in front of the tv the whole time…except for those days where you may actually go crazy so use the tv as a tool for the full day (because sometimes, it is more needed than anything). You bake with them, you build forts, you do artwork, all while drinking a cold cup of coffee and eating the kid’s leftovers for your own lunch. You do this 5 days (maybe more) a week and somehow make it look easy from the outside. You get sick and don’t have time to actually be sick because you have kids to care for and they don’t give a fuck if you’re sick and still need you to make their lunch and entertain them. You also manage to clean your house, do everyone’s laundry and get dinner on the table for when your partner comes home. It’s hard enough for those of you who have one kid at home but for those who have two, three, four kids at home, I really don’t understand how you do it. You are obviously a complete rock star and that’s how you do it.
Until this week, I knew it was a hard job but didn’t quite see the full picture. Sure, this week is very different than a typical day because we haven’t been able to go out and do things we usually would, like going to the park or to a drop-in kids gym/class or even to lunch or to a friend’s house for a play date. So maybe I’m being a bit dramatic here because the experience I’m having is speaking about three kids under three in full lock down. But, even if things were more normal, I do believe that you stay-at-home moms deserve metals and awards and all of the recognition and nice things in the world.
Maybe I’m not wired correctly because I don’t find this whole stay-at-home mom thing easy. I also don’t think I would do too well in this role and am starting to feel fortunate in some ways that I “get” to be a working mom. I put that in quotations because let’s be honest, no one LOVES being a working mom (or even a stay at home mom) 100% of the time.
This post isn’t meant to make any of you working mom’s feel bad. Remember, I too am usually a working mom and will make sure to write about that one later. I will definitely talk about how awesome you all are as well but for now, this post is about how stay-at-home moms deserve a lot of fucking credit. They run the house and are with children 100% of the time. On an emotional stand point, this is incredibly draining. There is no off switch. You’re meant to be “on” at all times and even when all you want to do is tell your toddler to F right off, you pop a smile on your face and make that damn playdough cupcake because they asked you to and well, you are basically their slave. They are tiny dictators who can’t even wipe their own ass or wash their hands properly. So, even when they are finally watching TV and you think you have a second to clean or put dishes away (because you don’t get to do much else), one of them will probably need to go to the bathroom which means you have to drop everything and go in there to wipe their ass.
Stay-at-home moms do work and they work for one of the most difficult employers out there. An employer that is very meticulous in who they hire. One that hires only the hardest working, detail oriented and self-motivated personnel and to top it off, the pay is shit. They don’t get any sort of company-wide credit or bonuses when they reach their goals and they definitely don’t ever qualify to go to president’s club. They work around the clock from their home office and rarely get a lunch break.
They are stay-at-home moms and they are some of the most patient people on the planet. I hope you all know just how amazing you are and that your role is not one that just anyone can do. You are the real rock stars.