At least ten of you noticed the poll I had on the sidebar last week. Most of you voted that being a stay-at-home parent is the hardest job you've ever had, a couple of you voted that you have a love/hate relationship with it and a few others had comments in between. For those of you who voted (and those who didn't), I thought I'd share my thoughts.
Being a SAHM mom, for me, is the hardest job I've ever had. I like being a SAHM. I do not love it. There are times of tremendous joy and times of guilt and frustration. There are no coffee breaks, no quiet moments at a desk with a hot cup of strong coffee. No lunch breaks, no vacation or sick days. Your boss: Demanding toddlers, emotions flipping from wonderfully happy and loving, to whiny and miserable, often unable or not open to reason.
It can be very rewarding. You are there for all the firsts. First smile, first time rolling over, first words, first steps, and so on. You catch all the really endearing and smart things that come out of their mouths. You raise your kids your way. You know exactly what is going on in their daily lives, which isn't always the case when they spend nine-ten hours daily at a daycare. You have the freedom to go where you want with them, when you want. They grow before your very eyes and you feel pride in knowing it was all you.
On the other hand, as a fellow blogger recently wrote, "It's like being hen-pecked." Often, you don't even get bathroom privacy. You find yourself trying finish your bathroom, um, duty, with kids trying to climb on our lap or running in to tattle. You are on call 24-7! You spend your entire day troubleshooting toddler antics, soothing, wiping, feeding, entertaining and sometimes, you find yourself wishing nap time would come already - just so, you can have some private time and room to breath. Surrounded by toddlers day in and day out, there are times when you feel trapped in your own home, mentally unstimulated (due to lack of adult conversation). Especially when your spouse is away and it's a rainy or snowy mess outside. Again, it's all on you. All the time. And, when you don't make a good decision about something or find yourself yelling at your kids, that's all on you too. Your patience and sanity are always being tested.
It's just not always a fun job and I think we deserve the luxury of complaining (venting, whatever you want to call it) about it from time to time. That's why we have blogs and networking channels online. When stay-at-home parents blog about the tremendous joys and trials, we find an online community of support. Blogging helps us feel better. We can laugh and cry along with other parents. Do you know how good it feels when someone blogs about the very thing that's been on your mind? You find relief and comfort in knowing you aren't alone!
I've heard, through the grape vine, that some people feel that I complain too much about mothering on my blog. I thought about opening up a blog that was just pictures and cute quotes. However, I decided against it.
If you click on many of the blog links on my sidebar, you'll find that many of the bloggers share exactly what I share: Joys and trials. We rant, rave, brag. Some of us blog in great detail (me) and some are a bit vague or abbreviated when it comes to sharing their trials. That doesn't mean they are having an easier time. They just chose to be more private about it or don't use their blog as an outlet. Each blogger has his or her personal style. For many of us, our blogs are online journals of sorts. I'm one of the ones willing (and wanting) to share all the wonderfully happy times and the not-so-great times.
Embracing toddlerhood. One hug, one laugh, one milestone and one tantrum at a time!