"How can a stay-at-home mom be stressed?" was the question posed by Joy of the View a few days ago. "I mean what is she bored or something?" Elisabeth tried to explain that yes, it's stressful, but the conversation turned before the reason why was answered. So I'm going to explain it to those who don't have children or work away from home.
1) Being a SAHM (stay-at-home mom) is really two jobs. I worked eight hour days in a day care and then came home and took care of the house stuff. Being a SAHM is working more than 8 hour days and trying to take care of the house, which can be problematic depending on the age level of your children. I find picking up toys a real hassle since my child likes to pull them all back out when I'm done.
2) Being a SAHM means you have to be flexible and think on your feet. Children are not predictable. They have patterns, yes, but these change faster than you can change a diaper because children grow and develop quicker than adults do. The only jobs that I can think of that require a constant level of flexibility equivalent to child-care (at home or at work) are being a policemen or firefighter. Some days it's dealing with a dangerous situation and sometimes it's getting a cat out of tree or giving directions. You can have a schedule, but you reasonably have to expect that most of the time something will change.
3) Being a SAHM means you don't get a break. I worked in daycare. They let you go pee by yourself. They also let you eat lunch by yourself. At home I went from low maintenance to virtually no maintenance. There are days were I am just too tired to take a shower. And I have no desire to fix my hair (other than to get it out of my way) or to wear make-up ever. I'd rather relax when I can.
4) Being a SAHM is rather lonely. You don't get adult conversation. Sometimes what you get is a lot of illogical and unreasonable child demands. Blogs are where most of us hang out because we get very limited adult interaction during the day. Playdates also help, but let's face it. They don't happen every single day.
5) Being a SAHM means no vacation time and no sick leave. Unless your lucky to have someone available to stop by and help out, you're stuck. You don't get away from kids; they go on vacation with you. If you get a head cold, miserable or not, you have to find ways to occupy your children from the couch and still feed them and change their diaper.
6) Being a SAHM means very little "you" time. Most SAHMs will tell you that they wake up before their family does and go to bed long after everyone else. There husband may be totally right there with them helping out, but sometimes he's not. There's very little "you" time and very little sleep.
7) Some SAHMs have to take on small jobs to make ends meet. Yes, there are SAHMs who do Pampered Chef, sell Avon, make stuff to sell, or watch other people's kids. A moms gotta do what a moms gotta do.
8) Being a SAHM is not the same things as daycare. Like I said long hours, no breaks, no vacation time, no sick leave, and one important element I haven't mentioned yet you child is at home where you and all your stuff live. Daycares are set up and designed for children. Floor to ceiling are arts/crafts, learning areas, toys, changing stations, colors that kids love, books, etc. etc. etc. Try contending with a child about not plugging the lamp back in on his own (plug covers don't work in my house). At least at my daycare the plugs were at the same level as the light switch. So no, being a SAHM mom is nothing like working at daycare. It's harder.
So you maybe wondering how I manage to blog at all given that being a SAHM is stressful. Well I blog in my head and then type it up when I get a chance. Yes, I have whole conversations with "invisible" people in my head. And you think your job drives you crazy! No a SAHM is not bored and has a million and one reasons to be stressed.