The Beautiful and the WAHM'd

The term "work at home mom" is a total conundrum. It's also redundant. It is one of the few redundant conundrums I can think of, or, because I get off on word play, redundrums which was why I brought up the topic of balancing work with motherhood on today's yesterday's Momversation. I'm always desperately curious as to how so many of you do it all. WTF, people? How do you even have time to read this blog post right now?

I've always been on the outside of the (not-so) great "mommy debate" of working vs stay-at-home momdom, waving my Swiss flag because I have no idea what side to stand on. Do I have to pick a side?

It seems pretty obvious to me that the great majority of everyone is doing what they have to do to raise their kids happily and healthily, whether that means putting off career to focus on family or pursuing everything at once. Sides can go fuck themselves.

Regardless of the choices you or me or the chick standing behind you in line for coffee has made, we're all trying to achieve balance, to find happiness, to spread the love.

Behold:



"How do you do it all?" we constantly ask one another, seldom answering the question ourselves.

Perhaps because there's no answer. Because our circumstances are so different, constantly changing, that every day is its own unique experience. The amount of balls we have hovering in the air above us changes momentarily. Like right now, for instance? It's late. Kids are sleeping. Husband's in the shower. I'm alone. I can blog and when I'm finished with this post I can clean up and eventually go to sleep* and maybe I don't sleep as much as I could but neither do you.

Because that's what happens when you have kids. Because that's what happens when you don't have kids. Because that's what happens when you work long hours. Because that's what happens when you're an adult and you have shit you'd like to do. You need to do. You have no choice but to do.

I can't speak for all mothers but I can speak for myself as a work-from-home-mom (WAHM) when I say that maintaining order in the court is not an everyday occurence. There are some days when I rock the shit out of my life - when I write ten pages in two hours, have dinner on the table by the time Hal's home from work, have kids down by 8:00pm, but six days out of the seven, I'm disasterville - the kids still wandering the halls at 10:30 and me struggling to write a blog post, bleary-eyed, teary-eyed and overwhelmed, Hal home from work to find me in a heap of drugs, gigolos and gambling debt.

This is is why starting this week we're hiring me a part-time helper. Because Fable doesn't nap and therefor I cannot work during the day. I tried "doing it all" without assistance but it didn't quite work, so ten hours a week I'll be working outside my home, writing at my neighborhood coffee shop. This is a good thing. This is necessary. For my sanity. And my creativity. And my career. For my kids. So that when I'm with them I'm not constantly looking over my shoulder envious of every laptop at the coffee shop I'm pushing my stroller through.

The pressure to perform as a writer and a mother and a wife and a friend and a daughter and a sister is nothing new.

I'm pretty sure that by day's end, we're all on the same side - managing stress, trying to achieve balance, striving as best we can to be be good, happy, well-adjusted peeps.

I mean, right?

GGC

*It was late last night when I started this post, anyway.

57 comments:

Erin | 5:05 PM

When I first read this I thought to myself, "I wonder what it would be like to hire help?" And then I realized...DUH...I KIND OF DO. I don't have to pay her, but I do get help of the Grandma variety every single day. I am SUPER blessed to have my mother who is able to watch my son while I study for the GRE, run around teaching piano lessons (the thing I do because not enough people read my blog) and if I'm ever THAT TIRED, yeah. She's there. I think that Mom's everywhere could use a hand, some baby-free time, and some acknowledgment that honestly...we don't do it our own. I'm lucky enough to have family nearby and with enough time free to help out, but other people hire people to provide loving care to their kids. I happen to think that this teaches children how to trust, teaches them to behave in different situations and in the care of different people, and teaches them that their Mommy is hard-working and committed enough to have to "disappear" sometimes. More than all that, it teaches them that she always, always comes back. It's a good thing, for sure.

::Sylvia:: | 5:08 PM

You read my mind. Congrats on the nanny--can't wait to see what really great stuff you come up with now! ;)

Marketing Mama | 5:19 PM

I CONCUR. Great post!

Little Miss Moi | 5:23 PM

Dear rebecca. I don't know how you've done it thus far, really... You're a super mum.

I just moved to a new town, Darwin, in the north of Australia. I have applied for a few jobs and had to turn them down because there is. Absolutely. No. Child. Care. in this town (there is a shortage of all skills because it's a remote city that noone wants to live in). So I am trying to think of ways to work from home... and I just don't know if I could do it without help, and I just have one baby!

Virginia | 5:24 PM

Yes! Absolutely. I don't know how ANY of us do it, just that somehow we do--some days better, some days worse.

Chanel | 5:27 PM

Even mothers that don't "work" are still working in my opinion. "Stay at home mom" is a job title. Cleaning the house, cooking dinner, watching after children are all "jobs" that other people can be hired to do.
Great post.

Momma Pants | 5:37 PM

I just want to thank you for sharing such a balanced perspective on this issue sans-judgment-- I'm very tired of the whole, "You're a bad mom" "You're a bad woman" argument that arises when working-- at home or out of the home-- and motherhood get discussed. You do what you need to do. I do what I need to do. She does what she needs to do. Different contexts call for different actions. So, yeah. Thanks.

jessica | 5:37 PM

oooh i have to tell you that my first reaction to you hiring a nanny was....attitude. i shook my head and rolled my eyes. then, i realized it's more out of jealousy than anything else. i realized that i wouldn't feel that way if you worked outside of your home full time and put your kids in daycare for 45 hours a week. i just felt that way because sometimes i wish i had some help too.

go me- way to sort out my feelings on the quick, yo!

and go you! way to know what you need and actually get it.

Capital Mom | 5:50 PM

Great post. My favorite - sides can go fuck themselves. Because it is hard. No matter what you do, SAHM, WAHM, work outside the home, finding any kind of balance between you, the kids, your partner is hard. Good for you for getting help.

Beth | 5:51 PM

I could not agree with your more. I want to know when Nanny or helper became such a bad word. I mean we are not the mothers who send the Nannies to saturday play dates because we need to get our nails done. No, we all struggle with the balance each and every day. If you need someone to help you to get it all done, then fine. Everyone needs to do what works for them. Besides, it is healthy for everyone for Mom to have some time to herself, it does keep us all sane. It took me nearly 2 years of motherhood to admit that without guilt, but it is true. Every can do it all on the terms that they set for themselves, not what your neighbor does, not what your mil says, but what you know is right in your mommy-gut.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 5:52 PM

Yeah - that's the thing when you work from home. I feel like we're sort of expected to keep producing work while at the same time raising a child in the same space. It's INSANELY difficult because you cannot leave your work - it's there next to you at all times.

I had some part-time help when I was working on the edits of Rockabye - same situation. I had deadlines and too much work to do JUST when Archer was napping and asleep. I was also working a night job at the same time 3 nights a week. It was insane.

Of course I wouldn't have it any other way and I AM SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED OMG but for me there is no way I can do everything without a little help. (Whoa, it was hard to just type that.)

Assertagirl | 5:53 PM

I'm currently pregnant with our first baby and I work at home full-time. I'm really not sure how this is all going to go once my maternity leave is over...but you've given me some hope here!

Anonymous | 5:54 PM

All I can focus on is "Fable doesn't nap." How do you do it??? My 13 month old still takes two naps a day (at least 1 hour each) and they are my lifesaver. I can put away dishes, clean up the house and then put my feet up and read and relax. I would seriously go crazy without this break.

Enjoy the 10 hours a week. You need it!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 5:57 PM

I was the same way, Assertagirl. I've worked from home off and on since I was eighteen - made my living freelancing, copy-writing and was able to continue working full-time through Archer's infancy with no help miraculously enough. I have no idea how I did it but you will too. No doubt. And if you need to hire some part-time help? You do it. You make it work, Tim Gunn style.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 6:01 PM

Anon - Archer napped THREE HOURS twice a day. I kicked ass with that much work-time. Fable sleeps through the night amazing but cannot nap. I film Momversation with her in her highchair next to me. I write when I can on the porch with her playing on her play-mat, but the majority of my writing is done when she's asleep. Between the hours of 10-1am. This is why it's nanny time.

chantalart | 6:13 PM

People often hear "work at home" and they think you are, I don't know, sitting on a divan eating parfaits and having foot massages. They do not understand why you can't bend your schedule to work with theirs; they frequently don't get that you really truly do WORK. My husband and I both work at home and when our daughter was smaller it was slightly more doable but as soon as she became mobile it became impossible. Now that she is 20 months it simply can't happen. I am a professional freelance artist/painter and I work on deadline. If my daughter is in the house, she wants me, wants my attention and wants to be in my workspace which is full of non-child-friendly materials. And if I don't make my deadline the work goes away. My work isn't mobile (not of the laptop at the coffee shop variety) so I have to be at home, and we can't even have a nanny in the house because we are already there. Would anyone at a law firm or a bank or advertising firm get anything done if their children were there? I don't think so. So yes!!!!! A nanny or daycare or whatever you feel is a happy safe situation for your child while you pay the bills or rent or mortgage and put food on the table is FINE. It doesn't matter where you work- you are still working and need undivided attention to get the job done.

Amanda | 6:26 PM

I am 25 and just had my 3rd child in March. Not a day goes by when someone doesn't ask me 'how do you do it?' and honestly I don't know, I usually laugh and say with a lot of alcohol! But I guess us moms just know how to survive and pursue.
So, why do we put on these acts out in public like we all have our shit together?!
PS love your blog, just started reading it!

Keri | 6:35 PM

right.

Robyn | 7:01 PM

I'm so glad I'm not the only one. I happily gave up my full-time hat as a newspaper editor when I had Baby No. 1 two years ago, opting to stay home and freelance instead. This was a trick with one baby, but since No. 2 came along three months ago, it's been damn near impossible. I WILL make it work, because it's just that important to me to be home with my boys but to not completely lose my identity as a professional and a writer (not to mention how I'd lose my sanity if I couldn't write...), but many many days I don't know how I'll do it.
I'm seriously busy 24 hours a day, and often when my husband gets home and I look around at the disaster that is our living space and the unfinished dinner on the stove and the baby fussing in my arms and the toddler running in frenetic circles around our table and the looming freelance deadline that I fear I might miss, I think "What the hell did I DO all day??" Because it's not like I'm sitting around watching Oprah and eating bon-bons. (OMG, if only....) Unfortunately we don't live anywhere close to family, so free babysitting is out. I'm jealous of your nanny-time, but it gives me hope that perhaps I can work out something similar. Good for you. I'll bet you'll be amazed at how much writing you accomplish in that time. ... probably a gazillion times more than you used to accomplish in the same amount of time, before kids.

coleen | 7:21 PM

i struggle with this so much more than i thought i would. i work from home 4 days a week (mon, wed, fri & sometimes sat) & on tue & thur i go in office, so i get that little break of just focusing on work. when i am at home, i work early in the morning, usually starting around 4am & then i work until aaron gets up around 7. i work when he takes his 2 naps in a day, & then i work when my husband comes home & usually work before i go to bed, crashing around 10 or 1030p. during the day is all about aaron, aaron, house work, cooking, husband, aaron. i do it all practically & has been that way since i went back to work after maternity leave.

i often feel i am neglecting my work for him & him for my work. i don't know if i've found a "balance" or just what works for me. am i exhausted? yes. am i lucky to be able to work from home? yes. am i grateful that my boss is a good guy? yes. am i happy to be able to help support my family? yes. do i ever wish i could nap during the day or that my husband would do the laundry? yes.

i agree with you that it is hard to balance career, kids & house, not to mention hubby's feelings & immediate/extended family.

i feel your words, girl...probably more than what you know.

p.s.
your word verification just asked me to type in "unbras" fitting, non?

Fairly Odd Mother | 7:39 PM

I love this post----you are SO right.

The other morning, I didn't do anything on the computer, just made phone calls for summer camp, for the exterminator, a doctor's appt, etc. I called about an incorrect bill. I made a shopping list b/c we were out of everything. I did laundry and fed the kids and unloaded the dishwasher. None of this was for my paying job, it was all part of being a mom. And it sure felt like work to me.

That's great that you'll get some help soon. I hope that time to write is wonderful.

Bex | 8:08 PM

i work two hours a week teaching at a yoga studio - just to preserve my nerves.

but as a SAHM, sometimes there is pressure to be super housekeeper, chef, lover extraordinaire. but i'm in my 30's and i've just reconciled the fact that i am NOT now, nor will i EVER be superwoman. and that's ok.

whoorl | 8:11 PM

I loved this Momversation episode. And I loved this post. And I love that you will have 10 more hours a week to blind us with your brilliant writing.

Baby in Broad | 8:17 PM

I look at other women all the time and think, "How do they do it all?" Because I REALLY don't do it all. I don't even do half of it. But there are probably people looking at me thinking I do it all.

Anne Lamott talks about "comparing your insides to other people's outsides" and I think a lot of that goes on with mothers and work. We compare how we feel to what we see other people doing (and what we interpret that to mean), and we can end up beating ourselves up over not matching up to what we imagine someone else's life is like. Or is that just me?

Anyway. Great topic, great post.

Lauren From Texas | 9:02 PM

that's awesome. you deserve it. enjoy every minute and don't feel guilty at all. it's good for everyone.

JJ Keith | 9:02 PM

I'm extra motivated to find freelancing gigs because if I can start making enough money I might be able to afford a part-time nanny. That way I could be a WAHM, have tons of time with my babe, and maybe not be a complete nut job, such as I am now trying to work without childcare. Kudos to you reaching "make it work time."

Amanda | 9:30 PM

I JUST had an almost mental collapse about this very topic. We recently got a puppy, and two days later returned it to its previous owners (who were so understanding an awesome, thank god). I told everyone it was the puppies personality and that it didn't like us (which is somewhat true), I said finances were too tight (we could have *squeezed* him in), but in reality- I just couldn't handle him and my son all day. I cried and cried over that fact- that I just couldn't do it all. I want to be the girl with the most cake...

Between my son and balancing my passions and finding a new job, I just couldn't forsee a happy life for that puppy. And as hard as it was to accept that, it was a lesson to me to KNOW my limits. To not spread myself so thin that everything is half-assed.

I still wish I could do it all, but for now I can just do my best.

Desiree Fawn | 10:11 PM

I'm just transitioning into this whole WAHM situation. My daughter is almost 5 months old and I'm doing some freelancing now -- I'm trying to find this balance & I thin it will. To start, it's a little stressful -- but you're right -- work means SO much to me and I want to do it.
I will I can etc. etc.
The thought of working outside of my home seems really awful to me -- I don't want to leave her, so you're damn right I'm going to make this work ^_^

EMQ | 11:01 PM

Right on Rebecca! First off, congrats ongetting help. You're totally going to rock those 10 hours.
You definitely hit on a great topic. It seems like this is such a universal concern for moms. How do we strike a balance between very real, demanding work of mothering and our own individual needs. Before I had a baby, I never thought I'd be any kind of conflicted about this. I grew up with an unapologetic working mom. I figured I'd be the same.
Then I actually had a baby.
Our situation is slightly different. My husband and I are both touring musicians. We both play in the same band, and we decided to stay on the road after we had our baby. We took her out on her first tour when she was six weeks old and we've been traveling ever since.
On the one hand, we both get to spend loads of time with our daughter. When we're on tour we're always together. When we're not on the road, we're totally off. We get to be
part time stay at home parents.
But, you know, our baby has already traveled over 15,000 miles. She's five and a half months old. And in the bad moments I can't help but think maybe we're doing the wrong thing.
Maybe I should just shut it down, get off the road, and raise my baby in one place.
But I love to play music. And I love to travel. And I love being with my husband. And in my good moments I believe that happy parents make for happy kids.
I have't talked to a woman yet who doesn't struggle with her post-baby decision about herself. Work, don't work, get a nanny, do day care...there's just not a simple or perfect solution. I'm just trying to stay happy. And I guess we'll see.

punkymama | 4:11 AM

Read blogs......no not me....My text aloud reads it as i do the dishes.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog | 5:42 AM

Oooh!! You lucky girl! Enjoy the helper freedom. That sounds like bliss. Even if I couldn't write a single legible word during my 2 hour breaks at a coffee shop, I would still LOVE to try it out!

Marie-Ève | 7:01 AM

GREAT idea Rebecca.

I'm just like that too, sometimes I can't believe how fantastically on top of things I am, and sometimes I just want to curl up on the floor and cry. It's great to see that we're not alone!

You're rocking it, working mom, WFHM, whatever. Those are just labels.

Kendra | 7:40 AM

It always makes me so happy when I see moms coming together to support one another's decisions. I do day care from home, which lets me be home with the kids, but probably as importantly, it's the only way we could afford to have three of them. And often I get the impression that people don't think I actually "work." I mean, I just stay at home with a bunch of kids, right? How is it that I couldn't do the laundry, call the plumber, pay the bills, and start supper? (They're eating breakfast now, while I take the chance to read a blog or two and maybe take a couple of sips of coffee!)

And at the same time, I get some day care parents (usually moms) who feel extremely guilty about sending their kids, especially when they work at home. They think that the whole point of working at home is so that they can take care of their kids at the same time. But at some point, often around a year, they realize that they can't be good, engaged parents and be professional, effective employees in the same moment. You can do both, but not actually at the same time.

You've talked before about the moms at the playground and the other places where it feels like moms are always judging one another. I think we all feel that. It's so great to see you (and all your wonderful readers) taking the chance to support one another's choices instead.

Angela | 8:13 AM

Thanks for the post. I'm a teacher who is a mother to a three-year old and a three-month old. I have my summers off so I get a taste of both worlds. I'm happy with my choice. I need to work to maintain my happiness, but I also get lots of "breaks" with those summer vacations and holidays that drop throughout the school year to be the stay-at-home mom as well. We all do what we feel is best for our families. For us that means dad stays home two days a week during the school year and the kids go to their "school" for three days. There are times when I want to pull my hair out as I'm grading papers at 11 p.m. but we make it work. What I hate about the choice I have made is that some people want me to feel guilty about it. I don't see why we have to pick sides either. Sides suck.

Anonymous | 9:19 AM

I work out of the home and have a 3 yr old and a 1 yr old in daycare (and weekly cleaner). I had always 100% fully assumed that work at home moms had at least 20 hours of babysitting (paid, unpaid, split parenting whatever). I'm actually pretty flabberghasted at the idea of all these prolific bloggers getting anything done without help- but then again, my 3 yr old has always been higher maintenance so I guess I started out from different reference point.

Jackie | 9:33 AM

Good for you, for hiring help! You're a smart, lucky woman. When I had our first baby, my husband and I decided that I would be a SAHM. Because I absolutely WANTED to, but also because it made the most sense; realistically, with the cost of childcare - we couldn't AFFORD for me to go back to work. I'd be busting my ass to bring home *maybe* a couple hundred dollars per month. Totally not worth it. Now, I have 2 children and I'm still blessed to be a SAHM. Because Mama needs a bit of "me time", and I'd like to at least feel like I'm trying to contribute financially, I've started an Etsy store to try and make a bit of money on the side. But for any energy I put into this little business, my housework/"wifely duties" lack elsewhere. When friends ask "how do you do it?!", I laugh and tell them, "I don't!". I honestly tell them - the sink is stacked with dishes, I've got dirty laundry up to my ears, and I nearly break an ankle every day tripping over toys. My children and I spend way too much time in our pyjamas, and I usually don't shower until everyone has gone to bed - because honestly, I'm just going to end up covered in spit-up and peanut butter anyway, so why bother? When I leave the house it may *look* like I have my shit together, but I struggle to get everything done, just like everyone else. There's no need to pretend that I can "do it all", because really - I can't!

W | 9:39 AM

I have my days where I wish I was a WAHM, and then there are days when I think that working at home would be so much harder than the status quo (9 month old spends 40 hours a week at daycare).

This fall, thanks to the expense issue, I'll be a WAHM 2 days a week. Not sure how well that will go.... I'm pretty nervous. And simultaneously, happy that I will be spending more time with my son. What a mixed bag.

Kirsey | 9:45 AM

I'm not a mom yet, but am trying desperately to confince my husband to agree to start trying. He has agreed to May 2010, and I can't wait. This post just hit home for me and I have no idea why! I just adore your outlook on life and your free spirited nature. I love that you are getting help 10 hours a week and can admit you can't do it all. I know far too many moms who just won't admit it and I see them unravel more everyday pretending to try. We all do what we have to do and fit the jobs and the kids and the life shit all into one day. I feel like if you can do it all, one day so can I! And I'm obsessed with your word plays, HA!

hayley | 10:58 AM

writing one-armed w/baby girl, elke, 3 mos, in my lap... so i understand. my son was just like yours. slept 2 long naps a day. new baby, not so much. took off year from creative writing mfa, just to work on freelance jobs because - how can i do it all? answer: i can't. not with out help. this time, i started with a sitter twice a week, which is great. honestly, it's always better having more people in your kids' lives. for instance, my best friend taught my son how to ice skate. when he tried with me, he just got annoyed and frustrated. with her... he focused! good luck to you, you're wonderful!

Stella B | 11:07 AM

Stumbled here awhile back - I love your blog.

I am an adjunct professor at a community college, and until very recently, also worked PT at a bookstore. I basically worked Sunday - Weds. Even though on paper it sounds like a great schedule, I was slowly going nuts trying to find time to concentrate on so many disparate jobs while preparing to return to school and devoting time to mommying.

So I jettisoned the bookstore job and on Thursdays my little girl goes to daycare so that I have a day to myself.

Modern life is about a constant striving toward balance - not everyone finds balance in the same way, and what is adequate at one point in life will change as YOU change and your children change. So the best we can do is keep trying. And acknowledge that EVERYONE is just trying. You deserve time off - you'll be a better YOU and thereby a better mommy for it.

Stephanie | 11:47 AM

Thank you for this post. I hate the SAHM/WAHM vs. Work-outside-of-home debate. Really. I do.

I get asked frequently how I do it all, some by SAHMs, moms with one child(and that's still alot, don't get me wrong), and women who aren't moms. I work 30 hrs a week outside of the home, I have a budding photography business that I would love to make my WAHM career, I have three kids (7, 5, and 3) and I'm pregnant with #4. And I have my husband too.

Sometimes the question isn't of amazement, but seems more of a critical nature. To those, I tell them that my kids are smart, outgoing and they don't have to want for food and clothing, whether if it comes from Gap, Target, ebay, or Wal-Mart.

When I get asked how do I manage it all, I don't know, I just do. I have to. My life revolves around my kids, but I have to be able to support them too. Because my mom was single and received government assistance, and it was miserable and sad to not have groceries at the end of the month. And I dare not let my kids know that feeling. Ever.

My life isn't consumed by T.V. watching, but I will sure let T.V. watch my kids from time to time so I can get some things done. I love to cook for my family and we don't do every activity under the sun. I've learned kids need realistic play time and I need my sanity to not bounce from activity to activity with no time for family meals.

I'm not the perfect mom, I get tired & cranky, I get overwhelmed with work, kids fighting, bills, spousal frustration, just like every mom I know, whether SAHM or not.

Being a mother is the most rewarding(and energy-zapping) job, and if I could have my way, I would work less but life(nor the lottery) has not afforded me the opportunity. It's healthy for my kids to be around other people and I feel validated when people come up to me and tell me that my kids are so outgoing and sociable and funny as hell. I think that has a little to do with them not being under my feet every second of every day and letting them learn how to socialize and mingle.

I say to all mommas, we all need to support one another. I don't care where you work, if you work, if you never work. We all deal with the same frustrations as mommies and it's a universal feeling. What I don't like is the imaginary line drawn in the sand over who is/can/will be a better mom for being a SAHM, WAHM, or WOTH(work outside the home) mom. We are in this together and it's difficult. We shouldn't make this harder than it is. I give props to all mommas, even those that can pay a sitter/nanny to give them a much needed 2-hour break! Thanks GGC for the post! Have a great week!

"Motherhood is not for the weak. Pansies need not apply."

Kelly in SD | 12:00 PM

You had me at gigolos! That word cracks me up. Isn't there some 80's song about gigolos and the buffalo stance? What is that?

You're great. :) Keep workin' hard fellow mama!

cocosmalls | 12:59 PM

i think the truth is, people used to live near family and family helps with kids. we are not meant to be alone raising our kids and i am not sure where the idea of getting help, paid or not, being bad comes from.

i not only have a nanny but also a cleaning lady because i need them. i just flat out do-and hopefully i will be ok with that someday.

Anonymous | 1:09 PM

Okay-- I don't want to come off as being age-ist here but I really feel like the whole mommy wars between SAHMs, WAHMs & WOHMs is something I hear older generations talk more about.

I'm a newer mom (2 year old son) and most of my friends are starting to have children too. Some of us work outside the home, some stay home, some work at home.... and it's really not a big deal.

You're right when you say that we're all just doing what it takes to raise healthy & happy families... and we each do it differently.

I appreciate the continued conversation about this but can't we all just agree to support each others decisions and if not, keep our mouths shut?

Thanks for your great blog!

Sarah @ BecomingSarah.com | 1:49 PM

There's nothing wrong with hiring part-time help. Heck, I live four houses away from my parents and do you think I'm not going to milk that for all its worth?! NOT A CHANCE! This kid is going to get plenty of grandparent time if only for my own sanity.

I hope those 10 hours a week help out. I'm sure they will, but I hope you get out of them more than you expect to =)

GingerB | 2:29 PM

I think the "debate" largely starts with out own self criticism and then we turn on each other. Seriously, how many men are sitting around feeling like they are crappy at each role they fill? Sure, some do, but women generally and especially moms are harder on themselves than anyone else I know. I really do want to strive for these high goals of involved parenting and self fulfillment and perhaps being nice to my husband and getting self satisfaction from my work that I find meaningful and every now and then I'd like to read a book and knit a sweater and watch a chick flick and go out for some live music and on and on, and damned if I don't kick myself all the time when I can't quite pull it all together. And If I wasn't being critical of myself, and the rest of the moms weren't either, we might have the time and energy to be supportive of one another.

Geordy and Pete | 4:01 PM

"I'm pretty sure that by day's end, we're all on the same side - managing stress, trying to achieve balance, striving as best we can to be be good, happy, well-adjusted peeps." GGC


here here.
i have no time for this debate.
we do what we do. and thats that.

so succinctly put and a step towards not having so much judgement in the world.

x

Jennie | 4:44 PM

Totally right!

Alyssa | 5:42 PM

Amen.

This Must be the Place . . . | 10:36 PM

Rebecca,
This hit at such the right time for me. I'm a longtime reader but don't comment much . . . to save time. Like a lot of other commenters, I work from home (primarily) and outside the home (about 30%, I'd guess). Like another, I'm an adjunct professor working at three institutions, and trying to balance the insanity of commutes, three different sets of protocol, paperwork, and the like makes me crazy. My husband works nights, so the only time I can work is at night -- once I've put the 20-month-old down. He doesn't nap much, and working with him during the day is pretty much an impossibility. Since he still doesn't sleep through the night and often gets up four or five times, you can imagine how much I get done in those hours. Recently, I've stayed up as late as 4 a.m. because of deadlines . . . and get up at 7. It's nuts. I've called my husband crying, begging him to come home to be on "Reed duty" in case he gets up so I can actually work. I've had him call in sick so I can get work done. As the breadwinner in a big way, I HAVE to get it done, but my husband can't stay home full-time because we can't afford it. It's the fucking proverbial Catch 22.

I hear so often from others that they'd "love to work at home", and the prevailing opinion seems to be, as a previous commenter so aptly put it: "People often hear "work at home" and they think you are, I don't know, sitting on a divan eating parfaits and having foot massages." Tis true. Makes me crazy. Yet, I find myself doing the judgy judgerson thing when my SAHM friends complain about being tired or not having enough time, wanting to shout, "You only have ONE job! Being a stay-at-home mom! And yes, you have to cook and clean and do laundry and blah blah blah, but I have to do these things to AND work over 40 hours a week! And blah, blah, blah.

We've thought of getting some help recently, and I haven't wanted to admit that this probably needs to happen. I do have a friend who watches Reed here and there, and I pay her, but it's not working out as I thought it would. Thanks for making me see that getting the help I need is the right thing to do rather than a, I don't know, ode to the white flag on a sinking ship. Your decision sounds like a good one, and 10 hours a week is nothing -- if you break it down, you're gone an hour or two per day (except it's consolidated into two days). It will be so good for you.

Your posts really help me sometimes, so I just wanted to say thanks. Sorry for the verbal diarhhea . . .too much caffeine to stay up and work. :)

kittenpie | 4:43 AM

HELL YES. I have never gotten less done than the times I've been home with my children ( a year each) because they just don't leave you time and energy and free hands to accomplish those projects you'd like or need top work on.

And as far as the whole "mommy wears" BS, I think it's so much from people feeling insecure and judged, and taking a defensive stance on it. If they were easy with their choice and felt accepted, they would, I think, be fine with other people's other choices ( or needs, as may be).

J-momma | 9:35 AM

ok, i could have wrote this same exact post this week. i am in the same position as you. i work from home with my 3 month old. i also have a 3 year old who goes to preschool 3 days a week. but i thought i could get plenty of time to work even with the baby home. turns out, babies need a lot of attention. hmm...didn't see that coming. anyway, my husband has been telling me for weeks now to get a mother's helper or babysitter just for a few hours a week for the baby but i kept saying to myself, why should i? other moms can do it, why can't i? well, even if other moms can, i can't. maybe it's me, maybe it's my high maintenance kids, let's just go with that. but either way, i got a babysitter starting next week. phew. i just feel the weight lifting off my shoulders as i'm writing this. good to know i'm not the only one out there.

Nicole | 10:23 AM

aw right on, good for you (doing what you need to do and working outside of the home)!

Cat | 5:04 PM

Delurking here (finally!)....I couldn't agree with you more! I also find that other people don't take the fact you are "working" at home seriously....like somehow it's not a real job. You do a truly awesome job at making us feel "not alone" - thank you!

Alicia | 8:58 PM

You're only gonna be 28???? Happy Birthday - you just SEEEEEEM so much more wise and mature (for lack of a better word) than 28. Damn. I feel old.

Babe in Babeland | 11:14 PM

AMEN!!!

Anonymous | 11:09 AM

This is the first time I've seen your blog - and I visited solely based on your Little House On The Praire outfit and braids that you wore during your last momversation. Did you lose a bet? Regardless, you are DARLING! I will visit more often and I love the names of your children...