Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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You know that old saying, “The Grass Always Looks Greener on the Other Side”… If my mother said this to me once she said it a thousand times. It used to irritate the hell out of me. And, as we’ve learned, anything that irritated me about my mother is now something I bear or do. Bonus!
This particular grass I’m referring to is the life of the Stay-at-Home Mom. (i.e.: Sabbatical Parent, Teamparent, Director of Child Development, Junior Jockey, Full-time Caregiver, Domestic Engineer, Housewife.) You know, the mom who rises in the morning, puts on her workout clothes, drops the kids at school and then hits the gym, lunch with a girlfriend and then languishes in the parking lot chatting when picking up the kids after school. Never rushing around to make it to a meeting while applying makeup en route and scraping a dried booger off your slacks right before delivering that game-changing pitch. The mom who has all the time in the world every day to get shit done and only spreads herself across one continent of responsibility instead of two.
Before you send me hate mail, keep reading.
I get that being a SAHM is not always as rosy as it looks from the perspective of a professional mom. All women work hard, albeit at home or in corporate America. All moms have my complete respect and admiration!
That said, I still find myself experiencing Mom Envy when I hear friends talking about all the daily workouts and bar classes and shopping and entire weekdays spent at the beach during summer break. About time spent on lavish costumes for the school play and time to volunteer for every field trip and classroom party. Now, I don’t believe for a second, that I actually WANT to be a SAHM and I know it isn’t all roses and rainbows. I love being a mom and I am passionate about being a professional designer. The “greener” part of that life that’s appealing to me is the ‘notion’ of having more time and less stress.
What I’ve come to realize is that money appears to play a big part in this ‘notion’ of mine. The SAHM’s that I know who seem the least stressed are actually those with a higher household income. I know money doesn’t equal happiness, but does it afford SAHM’s the luxury of more time and less stress? Consider those SAHM’s who have help from a housekeeper, gardeners, grocery delivery service and an auto detailer that comes to the house. Less time spent on these chores affords you more time to focus on your kids and even yourself. Right?!
Maybe the thing that I’m actually envious of here is focus. Having your main focus be more heavily concentrated on yourself and your family without having to spread it across a career as well. Would I really have more time and less stress if I didn’t work and chose that as my fate?! A friend of mine says that your fate is FOCUSED ATTENTION TIME and ENERGY. I guess we choose our own fate by deciding what to focus our attention on.
Ultimately the moral of this story is that I’ve chosen my fate as professional mom. I’ve chosen to focus my energy across a broader landscape and, in turn, sometimes it takes it’s toll. Instead of spending any of my precious energy feeling envious of someone else’s life I should stop, take a breath and feel gratitude for choices and children and work I love. And remember, “the grass isn’t always greener”, sometimes it’s actually dry, brown and shitty.
(I should remember never to write these when I’m PMS-ing…#ramblings)
As a SAHM, I sometimes find myself envious of working moms for the time they get to spend away from the constant housework/child care involved in staying home, for the grown up interaction they manage to get and the lack of ‘so what do you DO all day?’ Questions they get asked. So yes, the grass is always greener on the other side but sometimes it’s just astro turf and you only realize that once you’re on that side of fence yourself :p
I’m going to link you up to an article here about the dangers (financial) of being a SAHM, only because I read it the other day and it’s pretty much one of my worst nightmare scenarios: http://www.salon.com/2011/01/06/wish_i_hadnt_opted_out/
That said, I am a SAHM with 2 kids in school. And I do have a lot of time to indulge in my writing, and I am truly, blessedly thankful. The only reason I am a SAHM right now is that we are overseas and working isn’t really a viable option–not saying again that I am not truly, blessedly thankful because I am. I totally understand what you are saying. But as I worry about how I would support myself and my kids if something terrible happened, the grass on your side seems a little more green in places. Peace.