Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to make an asshat out of yourself publicly, score 1 for team SAHM!

I found this article via another momma friend and I thought it was so poignant that I had to re-post it. It comes as a question and answer column from Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post. Essentially a single kidless friend person asking what stay at home moms do all day long... and how staying home with kids could possibly be so exhausting and leave you with no time to indulge said single kidless friend person...

Yea... trust me I was thinking the SAME thing. I would've responded pretty easily with a short and sweet version beginning with the word eff and ending with the word you... but Carolyn said it much better with much bigger grown up words and I applaud her. I couldn't have kept the same composure.

Dear Carolyn:
Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .
Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.

      Tacoma, Wash.

Relax and enjoy. You're funny.
Or you're lying about having friends with kids.
Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

Internet searches?

I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.

So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends, or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself.

Can I get a collective round of applause for Carolyn please! Thank you very much for enlightening this dim wit and lord help her when she has a brood of her own...


Emily C said...


jenny said...

can i virtually slap that lady? and try doing it all with a business too! (you know what I'm talkin about)

three pugs & a baby said...

Definitely amen. Couldn't have said it better, myself.

Sarah Kimmel said...

Oh THANK YOU for reposting that! Seriously, I am DYING for some just ME time!

Alice said...

"It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15."


This was very well said!

christine said...

AMEN is exactly what I thought. I seriously just laugh at people who think this. I laugh all evil on the inside and think "I CAN'T WAIT" One day that woman is going to eat her words!

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