It’s been one month since my youngest started kindergarten. For one month I’ve been a stay at home mom of school aged kids. And people are finally done asking me, “So, what are you going to do all day?” Thank god for that. Now that the school year is in full swing I’m finally getting used to my new routine.
But, I know there are plenty of people out there who still question my SAHM existence. To those people, I feel like we need to get some things straight.
First: For the entire month of September I stammered my way awkwardly through my answer every time someone threw “What are you going to do now?” my way. It was difficult for me to come up with a good answer and I’m not exactly sure why. But It’s pretty simple really. You want to know what I’m going to do all day? I’m going to do everything that I’ve always done all day. I’ll just be doing it without my kids hanging on me. I’m going to continue to run this house. I’m going to continue to do all the shopping and errands. I’m going to continue to make sure everyone has everything they need when they need it. There are still a million and one things that need to get done for this family on any given day. That will never change. What HAS changed is that I can do those million and one things much more efficiently now without having to stop and cater to kids every 10 seconds.
Second: When you tell me what you do for a living, do I put you on the spot by asking YOU what YOU do all day? Nope. I certainly do not, because that would be rude. It’s really none of my business. It’s probably safe to assume that your time management skills are on point. And I’m sure you fill the hours of your day productively. You don’t have to justify any part of your work day to me. Is it wrong that I ask you to afford me the same courtesy?
Third: In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll tell you what else I’m going to do. After my kids get on the bus I’m going to sit down and enjoy my coffee in the morning. It has been over 10 years since I quit my teaching job and started staying home full-time. In those 10 years I have had at least one child, if not three, vying for my attention every…single…morning while I tried to sit and enjoy my coffee. 10 YEARS! Nothing you can say (or ask me) will make me feel guilty for taking some time to relax now.
Fourth: Here’s something huge I want you to understand. I’m home between the hours of 8:30 and 2:30 most days. That’s 6 hours. Yes, you can sure get a lot done in 6 hours. But that time goes by incredibly quickly. And here’s a fun fact for you. Between 2:30 and 8:30 at night, I’m running my ass off. Carpool, dance, football, basketball, piano lessons, homework, dinner, bath time, book time, bedtime. Many days I do it all on my own when my husband is traveling for work. There’s no way we could fit it all in if I was working full-time. Being at home has allowed my kids a lot of flexibility to be in all of the activities they love. I’m so grateful that we can make it all work.
Fifth: Effective immediately, you know what else I’m going to do now that I’m a SAHM of school aged kids? I’m going to own the hell out of it. I’m going to stop apologizing for it. And I’m going to stop feeling like I need to defend it. This is my life. This is a choice that I have made. It works for me and it works for my family. It’s not rocket science or brain surgery. It doesn’t pay well. But it’s the most important job I’ll ever have. I wouldn’t change being a SAHM for anything.
It’s true, many things about my life have changed over the last month. But something that hasn’t changed is my value as a mom. Just because my kids aren’t with me all day now, doesn’t make my job any less important. Will I eventually go back to working outside the home? Of course. But this is it for me right now. It’s all I do and I do it well…um, some of the time. I know people don’t mean to be rude when they ask, “What do you do all day?” That probably seems like an inconsequential question to most. But to this SAHM, it’s been difficult not to take it personally. All I know is, the next time somebody asks me to justify what I do with my life, you can be damn sure I’ll be ready with a good answer.