As if it wasn’t hard enough.

They say staying at home raising kids is hard work. Really? I must be doing it wrong because I think it’s the easiest thing in the world! There’s no TPS reports, no budget meetings, no politics or backstabbing. I sit around all day drink Gin and Tonics and watch TV. Oh wait… that was a dream I had. Never mind.

This is where I introduce an acronym for my new (not new, just new to us) phrase of Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (AYFKM?) My family says I’m swearing too much lately, I think it’s some leftover hostility from my 20s I never released, so I’m trying to use curse words less often, even in print.

Parenting is hard work. No shit.

Now the ‘experts’ say that raising children full time at home, makes you less healthy than if you go off and work in some actual paying job, according to the American Psychological Association’sย “Journal of Family Psychology” article.


Thanks. So now I have the guilt of, “oh, I never pursued my career past theย  rearing of my children, and devoting all that time to them is going to shorten my life span so now I won’t be able to enjoy my grandchildren.”

Let’s rewind a little shall we?

I’ve always wanted to stay home and raise my children. My mom did this for us kids. She was completely there for me. She packed my lunches, made dinner, did the laundry, sewed our clothes, everything. My dad worked hard at his job Monday through Friday. It was pretty much your traditional 70s/80s upbringing.

After college, I fell in love, got married and had a kid. Well it took 5 years, but still, I didn’t take the option of running away to Hollywood or Broadway to pursue my acting career. Something deep down told me to stay put since love and family was probably going to prevail longer than any waitressing acting jobs that might come.

I have no regrets about this. None.

My job at the time of getting pregnant with Emma was a glorified administrative assistant for a start-up company. What am I saying? It wasn’t glorified. It was hard ass work. I did the job of 3 people and was paid the salary of an admin, but it was good experience and great medical benefits, if I remember. So I stuck it out and counted the days until my maternity leave. (I was put on bed rest at 25 weeks of my pregnancy, but that’s another story altogether). Lucky for me the company went under while I was on maternity leave, so I didn’t have to leave my sweet pink bundle of joy and diapers called Emma, for my stingy, troll of a boss that micromanaged every trip to the bathroom I took. Now I took my boss (Emma) with me to the bathroom!

So staying home with her was a blessing. BUT, GEEZUS it was HARD. I mean, really HARD. No adult interaction, no showers, no make up, no cute clothes, saggy engorged boobie bags that looked like a cow’s, nursing bras that had been leaked through so many times I didn’t care anymore. Feeling like a zombie. Rinse and repeat….

The idea of pulling myself together enough to leave the house to look professional, spend 8 hours away from her and then to come home and have to spend half the night up breast feeding, just didn’t sound like a party.

So I admire those that do this! Being a mom is hard. A mom of a newborn especially. Heading off to work must be painful.

But, and I mean a big BUT, I can see the rewards. To get paid for what you do is a good thing.ย  Intellectual stimulation from peers and colleagues- good. Going out to lunch- good. Looking like a human with clothes and makeup- good.

I found this excerpt of the article to sum it up: “After interviewing hundreds of mothers repeatedly over the course of a decade, the researchers found that those who worked 32 hours per week or less were more sensitive to their kids’ needs, less likely to have symptoms of depression, and more likely to split household duties with their spouses than mothers who were not employed.” AYFKM?

And therein lies my problem. I’m depressed and don’t share household duties. Okay, I’m not really depressed. I take my meds and do fine. But I know a lot that are, and I’ve been down some dark times myself. And I always feel like I’m doing all the household duties myself. Not very well, but still.

Then the kicker later in the article:

“Additionally, mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms may have more difficulty seeking employment or keeping a job.” AYFKM?

Fantastic. Now I’m just screwed if I did choose to go back to work. Who wants a whiny, not employed in a decade housewife to come work for them? Apparently, no one.

Here’s what it boils down to:

I chose not to work. I never regret staying at home with my children. In fact now it’s the greatest. They go off to school, I pretend to get stuff done around the house, they come home from school and I’m in a good mood since absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I’m not getting paid, I don’t need to prove anything to anybody. My children are fine individuals. I’m raising them real good.

I don’t need an article to tell me I’m depressed and overly sensitive- my husband tells me this all the time.

Pretend I never wrote this blog. I could have started with the last three sentences and have been done. But alas, I just wanted other depressed, pill popping, gin and tonic drinking moms to feel empathy with me.

(borrowed from Bluntcard) Look how happy she looks!

Here’s that full crappy article if you want to read for yourself:

Working Moms are Healthier

17 thoughts on “As if it wasn’t hard enough.

  1. As I sit here drinking my morning baileys and coffee, I toast you and tell you that you and I are one and the same. It’s nice to hear someone reiterate that whole “staying home and raising your family is hard fucking work” and especially “all those crappy things you are feeling are totally normal”. Cheers!!

    • Thanks Bec! I hope I don’t ruffle any feathers. I admire those who work and get paid away from the home. I do what works for me. I guess they need studies on why we are all so fucked up these days at home raising our kids! Moms that are teachers must really earn double points; all day with kids, then coming home to their own. That’s gotta be fun.
      Oh, is that Bailey’s creamer or the real deal? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. I loved this post and related so very much to it. I actually worked full time for the first 5 years of my daughters life, and that’s what I regret. She’ll be 9 in a few months and when she started Kindergarten that’s when I chose to quit my job and be mommy full time. When she was 6 I moved with her, and my then boyfriend, now husband, to a small town on the Oregon coast. I especially feel the isolation sometimes because I no longer live where I grew up, but I still wouldn’t trade this for anything! I even have a cousin, who everytime she visits questions me about when I’m going to get a job (she doesn’t have children). I love her, but honestly it’s like, bitch-please!

    • Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Sometimes it seemed like I spent my days just looking forward to nap times and bed times. But now, I think I feel ‘normal’. Just think- you’ll have more time to devote to your daughter now in her tweens. I’m there already, and it’s a roller coaster that needs constant attention. It doesn’t get easier, just different. She’ll appreciate you being there for her.

  3. I read that article a while ago and it (1) made me annoyed (2) made me go get a drink to prevent myself from yelling at the computer (who am I kidding, I was having my afternoon cocktail with olives while I read it…) and (3) reminded me just how little faith I have in “studies.”

    What they failed to leave out of this article, which is a very important point I believe, is that the “more attentive to a child’s needs” was not from a genuine *more attentive* but out of an overwhelming guilt. Most of the moms that I know that go off and work rather than stay home (either because they want a career or because they have to work) describe a sense of guilt that makes them feel they *must* overcompensate when they are at home with their kids. There was another recent “study” that showed that women who work experience higher levels of stress than men simply because of that guilt-factor, as well as the fact that the majority of moms surveyed in that study still did a higher level of the housework than the men, despite the fact that they worked just as much.

    Being a stay at home mom is really really difficult. But I also think I am much much happier staying at home than I would be working. And as for the depression factor, well who isn’t depressed anymore? I think that comes from this idea people seem to have now where women who don’t work should feel guilted to spend money on themselves, or to not do all of the housework and cooking. As if a man paying all the bills means that the woman should bow down to him and never do things for herself like get pedicures, have “me” days where the kids are with the sitter, or join a book club or have her own hobbies. This idea drives me absolutely bonkers, and is the one thing that I will shout a resounding AYFKM until it’s no longer spewed at me by pompous men and overly intimidated women!

    Sorry – longest comment in the world. Love the post!!

    • No worries. Rant all you want. Part of me didn’t even want to write about it because I think the whole stayathomemomstrugglewithmyworth topic is over done. I’m tired of being told I don’t do anything because I don’t work; but to have someone, (stupid study) tell me I’m not as healthy because of it is really worth ringing someone’s neck. And you’re right, they left a lot of factors out of that study.

  4. Having resembled many of the Moms you write about ๐Ÿ™‚ I have found for me part time work is exactly the balance I need. It makes me more intentional with the time I have. It also gives me confidence that you don’t always get at home and is so important to pass on to kids. Living well is just like parenting you do the best you can with what you have and don’t stress the small stuff right?

    • Absolutely Baiba! I respect and admire moms that work- that includes you. I don’t know how it’s all juggled. But the article irked me because I feel like it’s point is moot. So many moms work. You do what you have to do. Whether it’s your sanity, your finances, your passion. So why do we keep having to make us into these two groups of working moms and stay at home moms? Maybe I should have expressed that point more in my post. I don’t like, and this is probably more to my husband than anyone else, that because I’m not getting a paycheck for my work, that I don’t contribute the same to the household or that I could be doing more. But that’s opening a whole can of worms right there….Know what I mean?!

  5. Rebecca – it’s NOT all juggled! Are you kidding? Oh, the guilt I feel when you post about things like getting Emma a proper middle-school lunchbox when I don’t even make my kids’ lunches but force them to eat that cafeteria crap. For one of about a million examples. I just have to hope that I’m getting the big stuff right – or, well, good enough.

    • Monika- just stop right there. Do you know what’s in those lunches? A juice box, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, bag of chips and a fruit roll up. I’m sure Dr. Oz would scold. me. Yes- you are getting the big stuff right. Most of us are. Work, or not work. We just cope as best we can. And have crazy costume mystery parties to get us through the in between.

  6. Pingback: The B(itch)’s Brain Gruel: Happy Birthday Nick, Are you on DivorceBook? and an Award with a Side of STFU « Heather Christena Schmidt

  7. Not only do I love reading this blog, I love reading the comments, too. When I was pregnant with Nick (23 years ago, ACK!), I read the best article on the subject. The internet didn’t exist yet, so I have no idea where I read it but it is something that has stuck with me. It posed the question “should a mother stay home with her children?” It basically said that children benefit most from a mother that is happy with her choice. So if you want to work and are stuck at home, it’s not the best thing for your children. If you want to be at home and have to work, it is also not the best thing for them. So, if you have chosen it, you ARE doing the right thing. And by the way, it shows in how awesome your kids are.

    And I have to say, Monika, you are doing an amazing job, too. Your girls are amazing. Yes, they have their issues, but they are so real and they know who they are and have a genuine sense of self-worth. That comes from consistent, loving, fun, confident parents!

  8. I just love this…and you. I have been both a full-time career mom and a stay at home mom. Being a SAHM, for me alone, was harder, more emotional, just MORE. When I worked, I would leave my job with a working knowledge of how I performed that day. Now, I just PRAY that I’m performing well. All I generally see are the failures. But, gosh darn it, I’m trying. And, if I’m trying ever day to be the best mom I can, I have to measure that as a success. xo – Bad Parenting Moments (aka Bethany)

      • Omfg this is something I crazy struggle with all the time! I work part time- honestly just that little bit of getting away makes me feel like a better parent. But do I still struggle with the guilt even though I leave her with my MIL or close friend? Hells to the yes. It’s not like I’m raking in the dough either which makes me feel like I don’t really contribute financially (I don’t know why but I feel like a financial burden sometimes. Eek stupid I know. I might be the Queen of Irrational Thought and Ideals). Thanks for this post which then led to the awesome comments. It’s nice to know other people struggle with this issue.

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