Thursday, May 13, 2010

Really? Work Life Balance

Really? This is my new favorite word to say when I’m dumbfounded, speechless and utterly confused.

That’s exactly what I said, out loud, when I read another mom’s post about her days being super busy and overwhelmed as a stay at home mom and trying to find her work/life balance. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that a life of a stay at home mom can be busy and most certainly overwhelming at times.

This is probably the most “controversial” post I’ve ever written, because I know this is a hot topic that seems to divide the seas between working moms and stay at home moms.

But I felt compelled to share my feelings on this topic. I’m going to say it like I see it. I hope I don’t offend anyone because that is not my intention.

I just cannot comprehend how a stay at home mom would feel overwhelmed on a daily basis to the point she’s complaining about not having a work/life balance.

Key words here are work/life balance. I have MANY friends and family that are stay at home moms and I know they can have hectic days. I am not saying that being a stay at home mom is easy. Every day has its own challenge.

I had my “really?” moment when I was reading about this mom’s experience being so busy with her three kids’ activities and how she doesn’t have a work life balance…

First, I would never describe being a stay at home mom was a “job.” Sure it’s hard work. Sure it can take every ounce of my energy to scrub that pot, or change that diaper. But being a mom is your life. There isn’t a work/life balance to even find.

I’ve decided that this particular mom was really trying to explain how hard it is to find time for herself. This is something ALL moms struggle with and I couldn’t agree more.

Second… I am a working mom. I work full time outside the home. And as this blogger, went on and on about her day and all the things she needed to do – laundry, house cleaning, lunch making, shuttling kids etc – I couldn’t help but think: I do all of those things AND I work 40 hours a week away from home.

Let’s be honest here - I would give ANYTHING to be a stay at home mom where my only head aches and stresses where about which play dates to schedule and what school activities I would go to.

I guess another part of my “really?” moment is tied to my own disappointment that I cannot be home with my son. Instead, I have chosen a lifestyle that must be supported by two incomes. I understand this is my choice. But it is not an easy choice by any means.

It pains me to know that I may be missing out on something.

I’ve had my fair share of mother issues. My mom worked full time and I pretty much was what we called back then a “latch key kid” I’d come home from school, I’d let myself in and even start dinner. Sometimes my mom wouldn’t even be home before bed time.

I have made a commitment to myself to be a different kind of working mom then my mother was. I know that I will make extra time to be there for my children.

I know I will struggle with a work/life balance.

A struggle that I am thankful for everyday.

Okay – let me have it! I’d love to know what you all think...


Jo said...

Hi Rebecca! Just found your blog and thought I'd say hello.
I have been both a SAHM and a "working" mom, so I can say from experience that both are indeed equally challenging - just in different ways. The grass often does seem greener on the other side, though. I have thought as a SAHM that "working" moms had it easy, and I have thought as a "working" mom that SAHM's were living the life. At the end of the day, we're all moms, we all work hard and we all do what we think is best for our children.
Your little guy is precious, by the way! Nice to meet you!

- Jo ~ Monkey's mom

Tina said...

Nah, I'm not going to let you have it. I understand where you are coming from! I've worked in the corporate world for 10 years until about 8 months ago when I went out on maternity leave with my second daughter.

I chose to stay at home because I couldn't imagine myself having to deal with 40+ hours of working AND spending time with my children AND cooking AND cleaning AND laundry, etc, etc etc. I am domestically challenged, so I wouldn't be able to balance it all.

I do agree with you, I think the writer probably meant finding me time. I couldn't imagine me talking about work/life balance in reference to being a SAHM. LOL. You are right, though, being a mom is your life. Good or bad, it's your life, not something you can give two weeks notice and quit!

Stacey said...

I agree and disagree with you. Personally I was never interested in being a SAHM. I knew I wouldn't be good at it and I like that at work it really is ME time. Meaning, I am not constantly thinking about/worrying about Cameron. For a SAHM, she doesn't get that kind of break. So mentally I think it would be overwhelming. Also, I would think that a SAHM still wants some her time in the evenings but negotiations with the hubby is more tense (he works all day, blah blah blah).

I do agree that I have to do all the same things that a SAHM does and in more limited time windows. But I also have some flexibility with my job to run a few errands during the week sans kid which is great. Very thought provoking!