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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

hi ho to work I go

 work - work - work 

I am a Work Outside the Home Mom (WOHM). I just found this term from an article and decided I think it's cool - WOHM. It's similar to SAHM = Stay At Home Mom. It's like yup, we either work at home or out of the home but either way, we moms, we work it up.

Sometimes it's hard leaving the house.

We leave at 6:20 and commute a half hour. That's an early morning for all of us. I'd say that's one of the worst parts about working out of the home... the driving, getting out the door by a certain time. It's different than being late for story hour at the library, if that happens oh well, we go home and read. But if you're late to work, day after day, well that doesn't fly with Boss Man.

It's hard when my babies are sick, like a little sick with sniffles or sneezing and of course I know they'd be happier at home but I just can't stay, we need to save those days for when they're really sick or I have a huge meeting that I'm sorry to admit IS important, too.

Can we talk about packing lunches ?! HATE this. It takes me more than an hour on Sunday evenings to pack lunch, breakfast, snacks for the kids for the week... I like that I get to pick what they eat and don't mind doing it, but coming up with new ideas is crazy hard for me.

The first time leaving the babies with a new babysitter ... hell! So hard! Learning to trust a care provider with your precious cargo... terrible! That is such a hard part about working out of the home.

Yet there are a zillion good things, too, about working out of the home. 

I love that my kids are social, that they have friends, that they learn to share. I love that they have other adults who they feel loved by and adored by. Our babysitter is another grandmother to our kids, seriously. They are so incredibly lucky to be loved by her.

I LOVE the moment I pick them up after school. The second I hear them say "MAMA!" with a huge grin, like it's the best thing in the entire world. I told my sitter the other day that is the reason I can deal with being away from them for those many hours in a day. That second I see their grin, like "oh, there you are, I was missing you, Mama!" lOVE that.

I love that they get extra special attention and adventures without me. I love that they learn a sense of independence.

I LOVE my work clothes! Seriously, it's nice to dress up, put on jewelry that the baby won't try to eat and feel like a woman, individual, an actual person... instead of just mommy with drool on her shirt or talking in baby sign language.

Hold up, Stay At Home Moms... before you get mad at me, I'm NOT in any way suggesting your kids are socially off or have no clue how to share. My nephew hasn't ever gone to daycare and yet he shares 10 times better than my two kids who go to daycare. I get it. It's a balance, not one-size-fits-all type of scenario that I'm talking about here.

I'm just sharing what our experience is like.

I love that I'm using my college degrees. I love that I have a job I love going to. That definitely makes working and being away from my babies a lot easier to handle. I feel like I help other people's kids every single day, and that matters greatly to me. (I'm a school counselor).

I also have the perfect schedule... out of work by 3:30 most days. It's pretty awesome.

Which brings me to being a Stay At Home Mom... I get it... a little bit anyway. 
Since I work for a school I have weekends, holidays, snow days and school vacations and summer off. I'm home with my babies from June to September each summer, and then of course the vacations. So I get a small taste of what SAHM- ville is like. I'd never pretend to know exactly what it's like, but working this schedule allows me some stay at home time also... which I'm so grateful for.

I love being at home in the summers for months. We got to the beach at least once a week. How lucky are we?!

I love waking up whenever we want to instead of to the alarm.
I love wearing pajamas until noon or even later.
I love going on new adventures every single day, without planning ahead.

I adore seeing every single second of my babies' days. Every growth and development.

I love seeing how my baby girl was tip toeing just yesterday and now a week later is almost tripping while she attempts to run.

I love seeing how she learned a new word today just by observing her brother talking to his toy trucks. I love seeing him color in the lines a little more ... and then encouraging him to color outside the lines, just because that's fun and I'm here to tell him so.

I love having all the laundry done. Like folded and washed and put away all in one day. What?! 

I love the dishes being cleaned and there being food in the fridge, and spending quality time with my husband when he gets home instead of saying I'm too tired to even talk about our days.

I love feeling organized. I love watching TV while folding laundry or keeping up with Facebook posts and emails because I can during my lunch when kids are napping.

Yes, there is so much fun to be had being a SAHM. 

Tons of fun, except for when there is not... 

Like when staying home means being the only one to deal with the tantrums, lack of patience, tiring moments that seem to drag on and on... and when you feel like you've picked up toys about 42 times already just today. Or when you forget if you've even showered this week, let alone today. Or that moment you smell your own breath wondering if you even brushed your teeth, because your goal today was not to be clean yourself but to make sure the kids didn't kill each other.

Or when you pray for nap time to arrive. Then during nap you clean up and fall on the couch, hoping to sleep or watch mindless TV for like five seconds before they wake again... only for them to wake again....

Or when you're attempting to make dinner and don't have a clue what to make because you already made lunch today and used up whatever ingredients were left... and then your counting the seconds until your partner arrives to take over. Please, for the love, take over.

But then you feel totally guilty begging him to take over because you have been home, in sweatpants and no bra all day, hanging out, comfy, albeit a bit disheveled and annoyed with life, but you were not working, per se. At least not the type of work that means going out of the house.

So here's what I know about being a working mom:

1. Working in or out of the home = WORKING mother. Either way, it's very hard. End of story.

2. SAHMoms should NEVER feel inadequate or like they aren't providing enough for their families. If you feel dumb for not bringing in cash, then find a job you can do from home - sell something or sell old clothes on mama swap pages or take in another kid or something. But honestly, I think you should call around to local daycares, ask how much it would cost to send your child there, take the most expensive price and give that to your partner. Tell them that's the bill for childcare this week, then rip it up and say, "Just kidding, I just saved us that much money by being a Stay At Home Mom! Bam!" :)

3. I cannot decide which is harder - working in or out of the home. I've done both and I honestly don't know. They both have drawbacks. I'd say working out of the home is hard because you have to be "on" and put together... dress up, keep to a schedule you can't control, drive kids to and from wherever daycare, pay providers, and have about 150 other things in your head from work, and have to find some way of balancing work and home and priorities... and sometimes those do collide, unfortunately, and you have to choose. And yet being a stay at home mother is wearing on your patience, for sure. I don't know how moms do this, every single day, with multiple children. And those who homeschool on top of it, you are SAINTS!

So, honestly, I don't know... I can't decide which is harder. Quite honestly, it doesn't matter which is harder... we all do what we do, and it's hard, and we do it anyway. 

Whether SAHM or WOHM, you ROCK. That's all I know for sure.
You are doing what you can to provide for your family. For some that's with paychecks, for others that's with bathed children and meals on the table. Regardless, give yourself some slack and stop comparing yourself to someone else. Your experience is yours alone. Don't make it anyone elses.

No matter what you do... in or out of the home... make sure when you're with your babies, they are your priority, they are what matters.

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