Sunday, July 11, 2010

Irony of a job

Being a SAHM (stay at home mom) is the hardest job I have ever had. Isn't it funny how after high school you are shipped off to college for 4+ years to be instructed on the how's and why's of the working world. You are instructed on spreadsheets and word documents, how to test well & multitask a project, but not once in 4 years do they teach you how to be a SAHM if by some chance you become one.

The irony of that is, shy of becoming a physician, being a SAHM is putting life in your hands while juggling cleaning supplies & dinner. Trying to wake up and shape the minds of your wee-ones sounds like a blast - and don't get me wrong, I love it, however it's the tiny interruptions, the "real world" floybles that intercede that can cause an otherwise intelligent woman to stuff her head in a pile of dirty laundry. And yet nobody thought it necessary to teach a class or two on how to do it right?

In my previous life I worked in 2 industries. Commercial Interior Design & Medical Marketing. I loved (and still do) design. I ran several accounts a few in the 1+million mark, one even 3+ ! I got to interact with all kinds of creative minds, argue with subcontractors, stress over timelines, cry over damages and at the end of a project rejoice with coworkers over margaritas and laughter. I went into medical marketing b/c it allowed me to promote preventitive health options, promote womens health and push the button on screening for coronary & cancer related disease. I was helping in my own little way.

But now Im home with a 3 year old and a 3 month old who I love with every breathe & tear I have in me and I am a total train wreck. I used to be able to coordinate 75 contractors to complete a job in 3 months and here I can't manage to keep the house clean, the children happy, the laundry done, the food cooked let alone shower & bath the two in question. My guilt flares up when I try to clean up the kitchen or catch up on morning emails while letting said wee ones watch TV. I question myself at every corner. I cry at every unwashed dish or new load of laundry. My husband thinks Im nuts. To which I reply " My day is like an excel spreadsheet. I work on it all day until it is complete, then you come home and the wee ones wake up and one of you presses ERASE and i end up having to create the same spreadsheet over & over & over again." Have a ever mentioned how I don't like the movie "GroundHog Day"?

To add insult to injury, we are moving, so I have to pack the house to be out on 7/28, moving to a temporary home until we figure out what the future holds for us, OH AND! potty training b/c my 3 year old wants to take dance and you need to be 100% potty trained & she isnt sure which end is up. Have I mentioned the laundry? How do you SAHM's do it?! Honestly! The most important job in the world is to mother & care for your family and there are no classes for it. They just toss you in and say - flap around a bit and you won't drown.

I am on day 31 of being a SAHM and I wish I could take a masters program on how to do it all, while keeping my sanity and breathing. If you have the job down... please, please, please share...... Ill buy you a frozen margarita and even ship you the umbrella.

inspired by: SAHM
cheers, meg


  1. Oh Meg, I totally hear you! I have 10 years of higher education: a BA in psychology, a MA in clinical psychology, a JD, and am ABD towards my PhD in clinical psychology. I was treading water when my older son was born, but when my younger son came just 19 months later, I felt like I was drowning. My husband deployed 7 months in, and the groundhog days got worse as eekends ceased to exist. My "baby" is 15 months old, and I am finally feeling like I am catching my breath (though we haven't started potty training yet and are about to move 4000 miles right when the big boy turns 3).

    Here is my recipe for simple survival: coffee for you, learning to embrace the chaos (dirty dishes, pee on the floor, and screaming children) and let go of the guilt, and the simple reminder that the kids learn a lesson each day, even if that lesson is that Mommy is only human and cannot do it all.

  2. Thanks Michelle, there seems to be a safety in numbers feeling. I would have never believed how difficult this was until now. I'm hoping after the move we will get a better schedule going. That plus school + dance will provide the companionship to Hannah I know she needs, plus give me a break from guilt!

  3. Meg,

    I think the only thing you forgot to mention is it would also have been helpful to have a course on how to control your inner rage when some unknowing family member or friend says, "So, what do you do all day?"

    I've been a SAHM now for 4+ years, and have 2 beautiful children. I have a B.S. as well and I left a great job to be a SAHM when my daughter was born. Other than missing my paycheck on occasion, I haven't looked back. I don't pretend to have any easy answer or a formula that makes things easier.

    I can say that in time, you will likely begin to realize that it's okay if your home isn't perfect. It's okay if the laundry is behind. It's even okay if dinner is late.

    As my oldest embarks on preschool this year, I am overwhelmed by how quickly the years have passed, though many of the days seemed endless. I worry I haven't spent the time I'd like to preparing her for the world and playing and making memories.

    But, I take comfort in knowing my decision to make my kids my career has given me an opportunity to be there when I otherwise couldn't have been. And, in the end, I hope that matters more than the laundry (because if not, I'm in trouble!).

  4. Thanks Donna! I agree with you about the "what do you do all day" question. Its 100x harder than any day job I have ever held. NYC & PA!

    I truly can't stand the mess but I think the fact that we are moving & Im backing up our home is a huge reason for the messiness.

    The days pass to fast. I cant believe Harrison is 3 months and Hannah is 3 yrs! I look at them and shed tears sometimes knowing they are growing up before my very eyes. But at least I get to see it every day. That is a blessing.

  5. I don't think anyone has the job down, and you, my dear, are doing a wonderful, marvelous job! You are probably too hard on yourself. If I were juggling as much as you are, I'd have totally lost my mind. I completely agree with Michelle's advice above. Hugs!

  6. Teresa - you are so right. Its the most responsibility you can give a person. I want to make sure I teach them and love them and help them enter the world strong and happy. WHOA, no pressure!