I read some blog posts today, trying to get some techniques for managing my time with my kids. One of them, not worth linking, ended up being about how Stay at Home Moms should just shut up whenever they have a bad day, because they’re so lucky and they don’t have any real problems. I ended the reading feeling very aggravated.
I’ve been both a full-time working mom and a SAHM. They’re both REALLY hard; don’t kid yourself that they’re not. When I worked full time, I cried for a full week at my desk about leaving M. I resented taking care of a room full of kids that weren’t mine. Chores at home went undone because I was so exhausted, we ate out due to sheer exhaustion, and I felt guilty that M wasn’t getting my best at the end of the day. I cried at night about all the firsts I missed with her. I supported my family to the best of my ability, but it never seemed to be enough. If I talked about this, usually what I heard was, “Hey, at least you’re employed. Think about all the people that don’t have jobs!”
Than, when my husband got a job that literally paid double what I made, we moved, and I became a SAHM (and then, shortly after, a working online at night mom) I am incredibly grateful that I’m home with my girls, seeing all of Little A’s amazing firsts, being able to see M’s school events and taking care of all those undone chores. And, sometimes, I miss talking to adults. Some days, A is throwing tantrums and ripping up everything I just did, and I want to cry. I feel guilty that I don’t make more money, that we struggle to pay bills, and that my girls don’t go to camp or travel. I worry that I’m doing things wrong. And if I say anything, I hear what that blogger says–“Quit complaining, you’re so blessed to be home.”
Yes, I am blessed to be home. I was blessed to work. I’m blessed with my online job now to pay bills. It doesn’t change the fact that being a parent–any kind of parent–is incredibly hard work. And we should be allowed to vent about it and hear, “You’re doing your best!” Because that’s all any of us need to hear.
I was in therapy for a long time, and one day, my therapist was telling me about a different patient who had a much more severe eating disorder than mine. I said, “Wow, hearing these stories makes me feel lucky…and also that I’m wasting your time with my petty stuff.”
She replied, “No matter who you are, there is always someone who has it worse, and someone who has it better. What you need to remember is that you are allowed to feel whatever you do, and talk about whatever you need to, and it is just as important, because it’s what you need. And that’s fine.”
So, o all you fellow parenting bloggers out there, listen up. None of us need to sit down and shut up. We all need to agree that this is hard, and we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got.