I write about what I know and live, I know what it is like to be a stay at home, work from home Mom. I wanted to write this blog because of the misconception about what a stay at home parent is actually about. I just love when I read posts on facebook about " oh I could totally do the stay at home parent thing and not work", or when on vacation someone writes "oh how I wish I was a stay at home parent - my life would be great" (which cracks me up because these same people panic when their kids are out of school on vacation and they have no clue what to do with them). Well I am here to tell you - the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. I used to have those same misconceptions too. Now this is in NO way a comparison of the two camps. Because guess what? I do not know how the other camp lives, because it is not my life and I will make no assumptions (ie ASS - U - ME). So rather instead I will educate on what being a stay at home, work from home parent actually is all about.
1. I do work. 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. My work is home with me ALL the time. My office is my home. I have so many things left undone at the end of the day and it lives with me, I cant leave it at work. Mentally I have to be ok with always having something over my head that has been left undone for another day.
2. I work from the home. Almost all stay at home parents I know still feel the need to financially contribute in some way. So we take on work from home jobs which is usually done either in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. I myself have 2 jobs in addition to taking care of my children. 1. I own a photography business - and for reference for every 1 hour of shooting, I do 12 hours of work at home (editing, sales, accounting, etc). My other job ( I am blessed) is to be able to still do some physical therapy duties from home for my old work place. Now I have to do both these jobs while having 2 young children pull me away about every 5 minutes ( I have already stopped 4 x 's up to this point writing this blog).
3. We volunteer. All those people who work for free? Yup that is us. We volunteer to be room mom, PTO president, preschool or school volunteers that are endlessly needed. Not because we have an overabundance of free time but because we do have the benefit of having a flexible schedule that is always being rearranged and we feel the need to contribute.
4. Entertainment. Kids do not entertain themselves. At home they are generally into (or trying to get into) whatever I am doing - or if not they are getting into something they usually should not. What this means is that I am always multitasking. Which leads me to the next one.
5. I can not afford to spend my days going from one fun activity to another. For one, I still have cooking, cleaning, bill paying, work from home duties, etc. to get done at home( ie no I don't have a maid - I am it). Two, being a stay at home parent means that my husband and I have sacraficed and decided to have a one steady income house - not because we make a lot of money, but because it was a decision we made together, which therefore means we dont have the money to spend on going out to eat and frolicing all day.
6. My house is all about function. I have children in my house 24 hours a day, there is no such thing as "decoration" in my house (unless I hang it on the walls). You know how daycares look? That is basically what my house is.
7. Go to parent. My husband is always amazed when my kids will climb upstairs to ask me for something rather than ask him who is already downstairs and usually standing right beside whatever they need.
8. My house is never clean all at the same time. I have had to accept this and move on - kids in home all day = mess. Literally while I am cleaning one thing they are making a mess somewhere else.
9. I am tired at the end of the day too. The only difference is my duties have not ended. I need to get dinner cooked (refer to number 5 - no money = cook at home), prep kids for next day, then get my work from home duties done (this means late bed times every night for me).
10. I am never alone. No bathroom time to myself (I literally have had a child sitting in my lap while I am on the toilet), no personal grooming, nothing by myself. If I am not in the room my children immediatley notice and come find me. That is how it is. I get lots of laughs all day but any personal space is gone.
11. There is no such thing as talking on the phone without a lot of background noise. My sweet kiddos are with me all the time and have figured out that when I am on the phone is the time to- 1. Get into something or 2. Run around the house screaming and wrestling. Now this is not a problem if the person on the other line is a parent - they get it. But if the person on the other line is not, they are so annoyed. Unfortunately I can not just leave my kids unsupervised to make a call.
12. Flexible schedule. This is not because I have lots of free time but rather I am able to rearrange my schedule and move things to another time or not do them at all (i.e. anything that would just be for me).
13. Snuggles - yes I do get lots more of these during the day. I also get a lot of "I love you's" all day, making everything totally worth it.
14. I see the milestones. I get to see my kids develop and grow everyday. I know work out of the home parents - this must be a huge sacrafice. Again another plus that makes the crazy, no shower, yoga pant wearing with stains, bed head, touched out days worth it.
15. No time for myself, I saved this for last because as a stay at home parent, this is where the priority for anything for me goes - last. (Although quite honestly I think this one is true for all parents). Now for those that have family available to allow you time to yourself - count your blessings and go give them 20 hugs, because not living close to family means I do it all the time with no breaks.
Lets face it we all work hard because we are parents and the struggle is real, we just all go about it different ways.
April of Running Mom Photography