Friday, July 17, 2015

A Stay at Home Mama Walking in the Shoes of a Working Mama


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I just want to say: I'm sorry.

I have spent a lot of time judging you, without knowing you or your circumstances. 

I was also jealous of you. (I know, right?)

I totally romanticized what your life must be like.
I dreamed of lunches out and meetings and paychecks and wearing real clothes and maybe even heels to work each day.

I envied your potential for friendships in the workplace and your opportunities to participate in conversations that do not revolve around PBS Sprout, or convincing a toddler to go potty.

Honesty? - I was also pretty intimidated by you.

 I know what my days are like, as a SAHM who works part time as a volunteer. Busy, doesn't even begin.

I have no idea how you can be both a mom and work, too.

I suspect you might have super powers.

I feared that I could not do what you do.
Above all that judging and envying, in my head...I could hear my mom's wise words: "Never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes."
Her words made me doubt my judgments. I decided to put them to a test. I decided to join you, as an experiment.

(And part of a book project- you can find out more about that on My website,and blog A Mile in Her Shoes.)

I was hired by a friend for some temp work.
Just a peek at what I learned during that week:

1) Lunches out cost money and time. (I was so busy I didn't have time to pee, let alone languish over a business lunch. Your mileage may vary of course.)

2) Paychecks don't go as afar as anyone wishes. Especially when childcare is a factor.

3) Wearing heels all day- still hurts. (Somehow, I forgot that. It's not like I never wear them.)

4) Getting young humans out the door in the morning on a schedule is probably the reason behind so many heart attacks occurring during the morning hours.

5) Being a "Mom" doesn't stop at the workplace door. (Kids like to call mom at work. A lot.)

6) Workplace friendships often involve workplace drama. (Who needs more drama in their life? No one. Justsayin. I forgot about that.)

7) Having a "Boss" to please and perform for- is STRESSFUL. I am hard enough on myself. Having to meet someone else's expectations is a whole 'nother layer of crazy.

8) Crockpots are straight from heaven.

9) Stop lights and train crossings are straight from... well, not heaven.
Let's leave it at that. (I rushed to work in the morning and home in the evening... During that week I acquired have more rushing yards than the entire history of rushing in the NFL. Did I just use a football analogy? Why yes, yes, I did.)

10) Being a Christian Working mom is hard. It's not a sitcom everyday.

However- If I had to I could do it.
Why? Not because of super powers... but, because I'm a Mom.

We do what we have to do, don't we?

So, Dear Working Mom- Heels (and whatever shoes you work in) off to you!
You are amazing.
As are we all.
SAHM, Working, Work part time-insert your mommy type- here.

I love getting to know you.

And now that I'm less of a judgmental jerk, I hope we can be friends.

We just might be able to learn a lot from each other.

It's possible I may not be the only one envying and romanticizing someone else's life;)

I certainly thought being a SAHM would be more "picture perfect" than it actually is...;)

So, dear ones, What would you add?
  • What would you like SAHM's to know about being a working mom?
  • Are there things about being a SAHM that you may envy or romanticize?
  • Things you judge?
  • How can we better understand and support each other?
  • Let's talk. Because I truly believe we're better, together.

More about Tracey:
She believes that life is a journey meant to be shared.  Tracey has been married to her husband-Kyle for nearly 25 years. She is a Mom to three sons-one in each of the last three decades…Mike 24, Matt 20 and (yes- SURPRISE!) Noah- who’s 11.  





She dreams of: Encouraging and equipping women to live authentically and love fully, and by doing so- to make a difference in their world. (I also dream of having the whole house clean at one time… .  but that will probably never happen.)

19 comments:

Aimee Stafford said...

I Loooove this! I believe that we are all guilty of a 'the-grass-is-greener' attitude at some point. When I have a Friday off and have a fun day with my kids, I think that I would love to be a SAHM. However, I also know that by teh end of several days off, I find soem comfort in a spreadsheet and an adult conversation about marketing tactics. My point is that I love her willingness to try working outside the home and honesty about it's struggles. I think that her first few sentences could come out of any our mouths if we tried to live in another mom's shoes.

Vicki said...

Thank you for this!

Anonymous said...

Great article and viewpoint! I romanticize early bedtimes for kids!!!! Mine stay up way too late because there's just too much to do. I work till 5:15pm, pick up the kids from two locations and never time for homework, making and eating dinner, dishes, folding laundry, clean up, and forget about the boxes we still haven't unpacked from our move, sewing projects, calling mom's and friends, reading my Bible, etc.

Elizabeth Jones said...

I think for me, more than anything, I feel anxious about a SAHM judging me. I feel the need to explain why my "working outside the home" status is really "okay" for my kids. I find myself throwing out why my situation is not so bad because... I have a lot of leave, can work from home, etc...but truly I don't need to justify anything, that is my own pride and insecurity coming out. I think that I do, at times, envy the amount of time SAHM's have with their kids. I hate feeling rushed with my time. But as someone else mentioned here, my kids stay up late as well so that we can hang out longer. I sometimes drop down into bed with them around 9:00 and read books and chat til 10:00pm. It throws me off from time to time and then we have to catch up and go to bed earlier or nap more on the weekends. I envy the friendship-time that I also perceive that SAHM's have time to cultivate. I LOVE play dates and feel rushed to do them after work and on weekends, but they are very important to me. I need that Mommy connection time. I would like SAHM's to know that I am not putting my career before my kids. I don't think I am better than you because I am using my education or dress up everyday. I think you are a rock star and are beautiful in your Mommy sweats and whatever you wear throughout your day. I love grown up time, I do enjoy my job and using my skills everyday. I don't love that more or less than being a Mom. I feel like I am a better Mom because I work but that does not mean that you are a lesser Mom because you do not work. I truly think God has different callings on all of us as Moms. I also think we have much more in common than we think. That is all for now!

Elizabeth Jones said...

I also want to add that I think that SAHM's DO use their education every single day. Didn't want my statement misunderstood.

Tracey solomon said...

Working is hard. Staying home is hard. Being a mom, is hard. And wonderful. I'm so glad Liz let me share a bit of my experience. And that I'm not the only one idealizing someone else's life... I think it's something we all do. But might not admit.

Tracey solomon said...

I think it's sad how the media pits one mom against another:( we are making a difference here. By stopping the judging. Mine has mostly been driven by insecurity on my part. And the judgement I've run into as a sahm:(

Elizabeth Jones said...

I definitely idealize other Mom's lives and at times think some Moms are "better" than me, which I should not, but honestly- I do. I was at the playground just Friday evening, the evening that I posted this blog! I was there by myself with my one kiddo (I have two- but the other was at baseball)- I was older than the other Moms. They were probably mid 20's and each had four children about a year apart I would guess. One Mom was in a workout outfit, very thin, the other two both thin and beautiful. The kids were sharing a gigantic bowl of blueberries. No one spoke to me, which is fine, I did not say anything either. I recognized one of them from a church my parents attend and I thought to myself- "why are you intimated by them- you know they are believers just like you...?" I remembered that one of them homeschooled as well. I just felt like an outsider. I could have gone up to them, introduced myself and started a connection if I had put aside my pride/insecurity, but I didn't. It made me think though...I need to be willing to step up and take a risk more often. Most likely- they were the nicest Mama's in the park and would have welcomed me. Food for thought:)

Elizabeth Jones said...

For those of us Moms who work outside the home- Tracey-can you tell us what kinds of judgment you have received from working Moms? I know sometimes as a Working Mom we feel that SAHM's think we are putting our career before our kids and neglecting them, selfishly pursuing a career while ignoring our children's needs. While I am sure there are women like that out there, I am also sure that my readers are not those women- you can see that by their responses to the posts. I think many working Moms truly do struggle and need to pray and look at ways to change their work schedules/financial obligations if at all possible. There definitely are women who have lost themselves in the world of work and have been pulled away- finding their identify in their roles at work, then coming home with nothing to give to their kids. That is sad- I have seen it. There are also of course people who put the pursuit of wealth above their kids and work to pay for things they don't need. I cannot stand seeing children ignored and neglected by their mothers and yet I can fall into that trap whether it is due to working too much or being home and just getting bored and not wanting to "play"- at the end of the day, it is my own selfish nature and I believe that even if I was a SAHM, I would struggle with that same sin nature it would just manifest itself differently. Which lends me to the point that the ground is level at the foot of the cross and we are all sinners. I love my SAHM friends. I am blessed to have many who just love me as I am- they watch my babies for me, they double their dinners so I have extra at the end of a busy day. I also have working Mom friends who use their skills to bless SAHM's in unique ways. I want to see more of things like that/partnering to help each other be the Moms we are called to be! That makes me EXCTED!

Elizabeth Jones said...

You are so funny girl! I completely relate to the concert found in a spreadsheet an adult conversation. I love the structure and routine of my job. And I agree, I love that she is willing to try working outside the home and then share about her experience. And yes we all need to say sorry for those moments of judging one another. She was very brave to share her thoughts and raw experience with us. We need more of this!

Elizabeth Jones said...

Vicki- is there anything specific that this post resonated with you? Thank you for commenting and I'm so glad you stopped by!

Elizabeth Jones said...

I definitely relate to the bedtime issue. Especially when we have a sports night. I tried to remember that the chaos is usually not as bad as I think it is! Haha! it's hard to do anything in the middle of a move! Hang in there girl! Is there anything about the articles that really resonated with you? Would love to hear more! And I'm jealous that you even have sewing projects. I'm still trying to figure out if I'll ever cultivate a hobby for myself :-)

Elizabeth Jones said...

Yes, being a mom is hard and wonderful all wrapped in chaos and beauty.I found it so fascinating that you actually idealized what a working mom's life is like! I had to laugh because the day of this post, my friend who watches my 3 year old sent me a text message telling me how he pooped outside after deciding to take all of his clothes off-because he could slide down the slide faster in the little baby pool that she uses, and at the same time that her one year old dumped the trash can over all over the carpet. I told her she was a rockstar :-)

Elizabeth Jones said...

I completely agree. Sometimes I look at working mom blogs and articles and it just drives me crazy when I see the judgment and the nasty comments from both sides. It's just so unnecessary, being a mom is hard enough as it is. And I think that we have so much that we can offer each other, and if we can work together and support each other, we can all become better moms, but like you said we need to do it together. Not sectioned off in our little groups with moms who are just like us.

robins-corner.com said...

I live in a bubble. I ignore nasty, or never hear it, or I am not sure...but I think most moms are awesome. And all moms--even the terrible ones--have it hard because there is nothing more important. We are better for cheering and supporting all circumstances and even for the SAHM, crock pots are straight from heaven!

Evonne Prince said...

Being a working mom is hard. I've always worked and at times I wish I could be a SAHM. I hate it that I'm always rushed and it's hard feeling like nothing gets 100% of your time. I changed jobs on purpose jyst to have more time with my so in the evenings because I felt strongly I wanted to be the biggest influence in his life and not some after school program, other kids, or adult. I've come to the conclusion as a working mom, we have to let our yes be yes and no be no. I've learned sometimes we just have to miss out on certain things in order to cultivate that bond with our children. Being a working mom requires selflessness in order to watch our children grow and thrive. If that means missing a workout, birthday party, volunteeing for a church event so be it. My furst responsibility is here at home because its my mission field, to spend the most precious time with the best blessing in this world, my son!! Our time is precious and if we don't set time aside for our kids, someone else will. It's all about balance.

Evonne Prince said...

Being a working mom is hard. I've always worked and at times I wish I could be a SAHM. I hate it that I'm always rushed and it's hard feeling like nothing gets 100% of your time. I changed jobs on purpose jyst to have more time with my so in the evenings because I felt strongly I wanted to be the biggest influence in his life and not some after school program, other kids, or adult. I've come to the conclusion as a working mom, we have to let our yes be yes and no be no. I've learned sometimes we just have to miss out on certain things in order to cultivate that bond with our children. Being a working mom requires selflessness in order to watch our children grow and thrive. If that means missing a workout, birthday party, volunteeing for a church event so be it. My furst responsibility is here at home because its my mission field, to spend the most precious time with the best blessing in this world, my son!! Our time is precious and if we don't set time aside for our kids, someone else will. It's all about balance.

Elizabeth Jones said...

Sometimes bubbled are good! Love you Robin! We ARE better for cheering and supporting! I wonder how we can be specific and intentional about this. We need to start in our churches- Amen? Connect with all Moms- same and different and build on commonalities. No Mom should ever feel isolated. Crock pots are amazing!

Shannon said...

I love the idea of the stay home mom and the working mom gaining a better understanding of what life is like in the other mom's shoes, great post! As a stay-home, homeschooling mom myself I enjoyed reading this post because I have a lot of friends that are working moms and I like having a better insight into what it is like for them. It's not "us" against "them", I really like simple line "We just might be able to learn a lot from each other". The world needs more of that, moms supporting each other instead of judging each other.