This guest post comes to us via Azucar who recently stopped working and has since become a genuine SAHM. We met via blogging nearly five years ago and have since become the kind of friends where she makes food and I eat it--in other words--the best kind of friends. She blogs at The Jet Set.
What is the difference between a stay-at-home mom and a working mom? I'm glad you asked. I've been a working mom the entire time I've been a mom, and now, having stayed at home with my kids for six weeks, I feel I'm entirely qualified to talk about what it's like being a stay-at-home mom.
If I'd been working I never would have had the chance to teach my three year old excellent manners. Why, when he spilled water on my bedside table he offered, "Iwillsuckitupifyoulike." And then he did. That's just good parenting right there, and a mark of my newfound dedication to hearth and home.
I notice that I feel a whole lot more guilty than I used to about cleaning the house. Before I was laid off, I couldn't possibly do everything, so I addressed the most horrible slime-covered surfaces, and that was that. The first two weeks at home were like a vacation, or, like shell-shock (so maybe like a vacation with in-laws?) Either way, no one does laundry on vacation, or at least I don't do laundry on vacation (or at all.) We all have a personal Waterloo, and mine is the laundry. I am defeated. It has won the war. What have we learned? No matter if you work at home, or in an office, or in a factory, there is something you will suck at. Embrace it, before it sends you to Elba.
If you find yourself suddenly at home full time, your thoughts might drift to that long list of organizing and redecorating ideas you've wanted to finish for years. Hogwash! The first thing you should try to do is to potty train your toddler. Staying at home is far more fun and fulfilling if you include a riotous game of "Saints Alive! WHAT IS THAT SMELL?"
After about a month of being at home, the kids may start yelling at you because they realize that you're not going anywhere. You are the new fish. Don't let the lifers boss you around, even if it's tempting to encourage their manipulative tendencies to ensure their future Wall Street success.
You might even learn that you can only ask Junior to pick up his PJs from the floor three times before you lose your temper. This is normal! Don't let it get you down! But yes, your child will be sent out into the world as the kind of person who can't clean up after themselves. It'll probably your fault, too. I certainly blame my mother.
I don't like to make judgments about stay-at-home moms and working moms, but I will say this: When I was a working mom, I never, not even once, woke up to see my three year old walking around with a tramp stamp courtesy of his brother. So, you know, perhaps you think you'd not be the sort of stay-at-home mom who encourages that kind of thing, and it turns out that you'd be wrong.
photo by Jennifer Hoskisson fotohok