Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Ode to the Stay at Home Mother

Some things? Have to be said.  Let me preface this by saying I have fully appreciated the lovely gift of being able to stay home with my children.  I have never had to drop my kids off to a daycare center with people I didn't know nor have I been forced to miss school functions because of a tight deadline at work.  I get that.  I appreciate that.  I understand that.  However, I feel the "other side" could use a bit of a wake up call as to what exactly "not working" entails.  Since my first born was a baby, all I have heard is how lucky I am and I am always very quick to agree.  It's when I'm told how lucky I am with a head shake, eye roll and condescending chuckle that gets my back up.

Guess what?  I worked before I had children. Yes, I had a paycheck, health insurance, a 401K plan and a parking spot just for me at an awesome lot downtown.  I met big wigs.  I received daily phone calls from some of the richest people on the planet (LITERALLY)...sometimes work related, other times to say hello.  No, I am not exaggerating for effect. I have been flown to Hawaii, California and New York for work and stayed in four star hotels while doing so.  I doubt there is a celebrity ANYONE can name that I can't do the six degrees of separation thing with. OK? I gave that up to be a stay at home mother.  Now, am I saying I regret it? Never.  I know how lucky I am. Yes, I said lucky.  But if one more snotty "working" mother gives me the metaphorical head pat because she thinks I simply don't understand her high pressured job, I might just bitch slap her.  But because I'm not the violent type, here's what I would say if I ever had the nerve....

Dear Condescending Working Mother Who Thinks All Stay at Home Moms Couldn't Possibly Understand What You Deal With On A Daily Basis Because You Think All We Do Is Watch Soap Operas And Take Yoga Classes -

Something you need to know about stay at home mothers.....

We are the ones who help your kindergartner find the bathroom.  We are the ones who stay in the bathroom with them because they are scared.  We are the ones who gently remind them to wash their hands.

We are the ones who walk your first grader to the nurses office when they have a boo-boo, a sore throat or have puked all over the classroom.  We are the ones who expose ourselves to your highly contagious child and by default, our own kids, in doing so.  We are the ones who help the teacher clean up said puke.

We are the ones who devote time to help your second grader catch up on reading by sitting with him or her and reviewing spelling words.  We are the ones who correct homework and spend our nights cutting out various shapes so your child can do a fun craft project. We are the ones who tie a million shoes.

We are the ones who plan classroom parties and make sure Bobby Joe doesn't get the ice cream sandwich because he is lactose intolerant so we make a special trip to the grocery store so he can have a fruit popsicle. 

We are the ones who chaperone your kids on field trips and make sure no one harms or abducts them.  We are the ones who wait for your dumb ass to show up because your child is freaked out by the fact you seem to have forgotten what time school gets out. (Seriously, I had a little girl ask me once to wait with her until her mom came.  She was little and we waited for her mother for 45 minutes... when she finally showed?  didn't  get out of the car OR have the decency to even try to look embarrassed. And no, there was no thank you or apology). We are the ones you will flippantly dismiss with some bullshit line about how we have "no idea how hectic the business world is" and that's the reason you're late.  Yes, this has happened several times.

We are the ones who recognize your child dawdling in the hallway because they have missed their bus but are too little to know what to do so we take them to the office so that you can be called.

We are the ones who bake cakes for cake walks and glue your child's artwork on a matted frame for you to ooh and aah over.

We are the ones the  exhausted teachers approach for help and we say yes. 

We are the ones who tell the asshole kid who has just shoved your child into a locker to knock it off and put enough fear into them that they do, indeed, knock it off.

We are the ones your child hugs at school when they are scared or just need a little comfort.  We are the ones who wink at your child and make them smile.

Do we live at the schools where these things happen?  No. We are simply there a lot, dropping off our kids, picking them up and helping out teachers who are overworked and underpaid.  Yes, we have a life.  Contrary to popular belief, it does not revolve around petty gossip, Days of Our Lives and pedicures.  Our lives, just like yours, consist of balancing relationships, paying mortgages, finding good books to read when we have a moments peace and wondering how our kids are going to turn out.  You don't know why or how we became stay at home moms.  Some of us didn't really have a choice. Some of us threw our hearts and souls into it and never looked back and some of us yearn for a business meeting where people actually listen to us and the words "Fart Face" or "Booger Head" are never uttered.  But we all get up every day and do what we do for our kids...and yours. 

Am I overdoing it?  Perhaps.  Am I lucky to be a stay at home mom? Yes.  And guess what? So are you.  My "luck" is benefiting us both.  You are just too preoccupied making sure I know how busy you are to realize it.


  1. AMEN SISTER! AMEN!!!!! YOU TOOK THE WORDS {I cannot quite speak so eloquently} right out of my mouth and brain! I moved out of a beautiful home, rented it out, became a landlord and an on site Resident Manager of a Homeless Youth Program so that I could stay at home with my son. It was more important for me to raise him than anything else in the world!

  2. wonderfully spoken (as usual) Andrea....YOU GO!!

  3. That was awesome. We haven't met and may never meet, but i appreciate your perspective. I am a grandfather that has similar views on parents at children's games (football, soccor, baseball, whatever). I'm a tad too old to coach now, but i did coach youth baseball and football for eight years. Most parents don't come to practice, some don't even go to the games. Many view their child's participation in sports as free babysitting. When they do come to the game their shouts and comments about their child's performance or lack of are very hurtful and damaging. I never tolerated that. I once asked a father to put away his golf club (he was practising his swing) since his child would be up to bat next. I have sat countless hours on cold Fall evenings waiting for a parent to pick up their child only to be berated and told "you don't have to wait, Billy can sit in the stands and wait alone". Today it bothers me so to hear parents berating the coaches and officials for the choice of plays or their decisions on penalties. Really mom & dad? Before you think about throwing out that expletive, consider coaching for a season or two.

    Thank you very much for the help you provide to all those little people. Bless you.

  4. Andrea I love you so much!!! you took the words right out of my mouth!!! It is so true we as stay at home moms do alot not only for our kids but for other peoples kids as well. We are consintally going and having to run around a do whatever it may be like taking kids to football practice or guitar lesson or even the occasional doctors appointment, whatever it is that we have to do we do it with a smile (most of the time)because we love to do it and if we dont who will?

  5. Love this Andrea! It is easily forgotten or not even ever 'gotten' by some parents all the work parents like you do. I feel blessed I can run my business from home so I have more flexibility than when I worked for someone else and had to abide by their schedule. Thank you and all the other dedicated parents who help all of our kids out!

  6. All ungrateful parents, whether they think so or not should be tied in a chair, rubbed with cow shit and be forced to listen to you speak these word of truth. Maybe after your heartfelt truths are spoken the cow shit may not seem so bad. KICK SOME ASS GIRL!

  7. Ahhhhh the mommy wars continue I think you are interpreting condescending for envious on the working moms front. just a different perspective to think about