Monday, February 11, 2008

Who Said Stay At Home Moms Were Lazy???

I always laugh when I hear people describe what they think people like me do for a living. It typically has something to do with Oprah, Bon Bons, and pedicures. Apparently those people have never been a stay-at-home parent to four adorable little hellions before.

Since there seems to be some confusion as to my job description, I felt like I should perhaps clarify a bit. First, there is no time for laziness. Do you know what happens when people in my profession take a break or *gasp!* take the time to poop alone? Cabinets are emptied and their entire contents spilled on the floor. Small pets get so loved that they're never seen again. Dish detergent becomes the never-ending bubble maker. The blender turns into a giant science project, typically ending in some sort of explosion requiring HazMat and the bomb squad to come and check it out. Younger siblings become guinea pigs for bazarre torture treatments often including pink ballerina underwear and an aluminum baseball bat. It is truly safe to say that people in my field get no break time, snack time, nap time, bed time, meal time, sick time, or any other time. All of our time is totally dedicated to our jobs. It's like we're some strange breed of workaholic. And, oddly, we love it.

Another myth about stay at home parents is that our job is easy or mindless. Were you people raised by wolves?!?!? What on Earth would make you think what I do every day is easy or requires less intelligence than what anyone else does? I have to be a counselor, a cook, a planner, a chauffer, a teacher, a doctor, a best friend, a worst enemy, a disciplinarian, an ally, and a nurturer all in one. Do you know how difficult it is to love someone so tremendously and still send them off to their room while they're in the process of counting the many ways in which they hate you? Oh no. There is nothing easy or mindless about what I do. Every move I make, every thought I have, every detail of my life has to be pointed and well-planned and somehow purposeful. The biggest kicker is that my job doesn't come with any real set of instructions. Most people can find training for their jobs at a university or at least when they hire on. Not me. My education comes only from experience, mistakes, and sheer faith.

I think it's safe to say that no other profession has as much multi-tasking as mine, either. Just the other day, I found myself helping Number One with a very important school project about penguins, setting the Beast up with some play-doh, keeping Pretty at a safe distance from the stove, wearing Snort in the Snuggli, cooking dinner, and talking on the phone to a lady from Church about upcoming events. And I was doing it all at once. Let me tell you that having to turn your back to the stove so your baby doesn't get burnt while you're wearing him is no easy task. I will say, however, that the penguin project came out splendidly as did dinner. All in all, it was a successful thirty minutes that day.

My job also has the lowest financial pay-off of any other. I don't even get a paycheck. And, yet, I feel like the richest person in the world. My paycheck is a happy home, children who know what to expect when they get here, a husband who knows he can count on me, dinner together as a family, peace of mind in knowing my children are learning my values and ethics, and so much more. Oh, I can't deny that there are days when I wonder what ever posessed me to take on this role. From the finger prints on the walls, to the embarrassment when my kids do or say things that I can't even repeat, to the poop in the sock drawer, to the flooded bathrooms, to the exploding blender, and right down to the missing hamsters, there are a million reasons why this is a job no one should want. But, I have four little reasons why this is the only job I'd ever consider. And they outweigh all the cons.


Anonymous said...

Amen to that!! And I even have four hellions just like you!!

heidi and tom said...

Sooooo true. And I only have two little hellions!! Did I ever tell you that I love your writing??

beckylou said...

Supermom is a title you've well earned. I hope to be half the mother to my children someday that you are to yours everyday. :)

Jen said...

Just found your blog searching for hernia's ... glad I did. I love it. I have three crazy kids and am also a stay at home mom.
Keep writing :)