Oh, the poor, exhausted stay-at-home mother: her yoga pants constantly covered in little people’s various body fluids and her dreams of backpacking across Europe flushed down the toilet with her cell phone (courtesy of her toddler). The sad, resentful woman with a sink full of dirty dishes, a hamper full of grass-stained clothes, unhelpful husband, ornery children and burned chicken.
Before you rip the electric sliding doors from your minivans and charge at me with sharp kitchen utensils because of that first controversial paragraph, please know that I, too, am a SAHM, raised by a SAHM – I didn’t appreciate her for AWHILE, you can read that saga here – and constantly surrounded by friends and family who are also SAHMs, so I have some authority on this subject.
I know what it’s like to have a horrible day. I know what it’s like to run a fever of 103, with the intense desire to sleep, and still have to burp people and try to block out the shrieking sound of screaming toddlers. I completely, utterly, wholly and thoroughly understand that being a SAHM is a stressful, selfless and never-ending job. I believe it is easier to solve calculus problems whilst under the influence of mind-altering drugs than it is to devote all of your time and energy to short people who rely on you for everything.
I am beyond sick and tired of hearing SAHMs complain about their long resume of “Chef, maid, chauffeur and bookkeeper all rolled into one!” I, too, command all of those roles, and yet, I manage not to constantly sigh in disgust at my choice to care for my children or vent to anyone who will listen in the grocery store line about my unfulfilled life.
I think it’s time for the indignant SAHMs of the world to take a heaping helping of Shut Your Friggin’ Piehole. Instead of complaining about how weary, exasperated and annoyed you are with caring for your children and your spouse, reconsider for a moment that you are one of the most privileged species on the planet.
I have friends who choose to work and I have friends who must work. My friends who are required to clock in every day leave their children in the care of others while they solve the business world’s problems. They duck out of meetings to take a call from Mrs. Jones and discover that the baby just said her first word or took his first step. They hang their heads at cluttered desks because they’ve missed so many precious milestones.
I was pumping breast milk when I watched my son discover his toes for the first time as he sucked on them with slimy baby gums. I was sleep-deprived when I witnessed my daughter’s first step, and her first plummet to the hardwood floor. Mrs. Jones wasn’t there. I was.
And I’m incredibly thankful for that.
I am thankful that I have the option of wearing my pajamas until noon. I am thankful that I don’t have to answer to some sleazy boss who tries to look down my blouse. I am thankful that I don’t have to rush home after a long day at work to thaw Stouffer’s lasagna. I am thankful that I was the one to clean the baby diarrhea from the shag rug, to bandage the boo-boo, to console colicky cries. Many of those things weren’t easy, and they sure weren’t fun, but I’m thankful that I experienced them.
To the SAHMs who can’t be thankful and instead view life at home with their children as one putrid event after another, I say this:
If you despise constantly being in the company of humans who drool, if you are completely unsatisfied and miserable and longing for a way out, then, pretty please with a cherry on top, get a job, volunteer, find a hobby, go out with the girls. Do SOMETHING.
Just stop knocking on my door with your greasy hair and your caffeine withdrawals and sit at my kitchen table and try to convince me that your children are Satan’s spawn and gripe that you had to clean all three toilets today.
(Three toilets. Some people have to pee outside in holes.)
I’d just like to hear one of these SAHMs say to me, “I am so blessed. I have a faithful husband, gorgeous and healthy children, a beautiful home, and I am fortunate enough to stay home and enjoy my blessings.” Just say that to me once per a instead of continually moaning about the dust accumulation on your furniture, the temper tantrums in Target and the gas you burned hauling your children to baseball, ballet and soccer practice.
Just be content or quit your whining. You’re giving us thankful SAHMs a bad rap.