As moms, we automatically categorize ourselves so others can understand what our lives are like. Some of us are SAHM (Stay-at-home-moms) because it has a nicer ring to it than homemaker (really?) or housewife (barf!). Others are Working Moms, the women who run around like chickens with their heads cut off; showing at carpool in full dress attire, phone on the ear and peel out of the parking lot to make the evening meeting. Or the Part-time mom; technically full-time moms, obviously, but work part-time out of the house which can be the best and worst of both worlds. Well, I’ve had the pleasure of being all three. I can speak from 10 years of experience when I say all have their upsides and moments where there isn’t enough wine in the Merlot aisle at Publix to make the day seem better.
Now I can add a new title to this mix; the work-at-home mom. Or shall I say the Full-time-part-time-working SAHM/Housewife? Starting my own non-profit was a choice (not complaining) I made when my husband and I realized we could make it work. But I fully admit, going from working 50+ hours with two kids in school full-time and one in daycare to working from my kitchen while my toddler forces me to make him mac and cheese at 8:30 am was quite the bit of culture shock.
Look, I honestly love what I do. I believe in the work that I’m doing, and I have saved several lives, something not many people can say. But my only interaction most days is with a three-year-old who insists I play rock, paper, scissors with him every time he goes potty and a dog, who is cute but doesn’t know much about my spreadsheet formulas. Admittedly, it isn’t easy to get stuff done when you have to keep fast-forwarding the DVR to skip the commercials on the one episode of Bubble Guppies that isn’t On Demand and that you have watched eight times that day.
That isn’t to say there aren’t perks. I work in my pajamas, often. I get to take my kids to the playground and for ice cream after school and they get to do their homework while it’s still daylight outside. I also get to paint and color, reading story books and nursery rhymes, or go to the beach when my little one is done watching the Paw Patrol marathon. And believe me, I am happier. It takes guts and a real belief in something to start your own business instead of just going to work for someone else. I love being my own boss. I just never realized there would be this unwritten expectation to fill every mother-type role in existence.
I am a full-time housewife. Laundry and the dishes are done between phone calls and emails. Kids are dropped off and picked-up from school and after-school activities while I have phone meeting over Bluetooth. Grocery shopping is taken care of while I negotiate speaking engagements via text. And face-to-face meetings are done with my kid in tow. It may seem strange, but with the high cost of childcare, no one seems to mind. Besides my husband is helpful and does his share of the chores, and has never asked anything of me.
I think we should give the women who bring home the bacon and still have to cook it for the family more credit. I know I never did, not because I didn’t think they deserved it, I just didn’t know what it entailed until I was in her shoes (or slippers, because I’m still in my pajamas).
About the Author
Jeanine Hoff is the founder and creator of Where is the Sunshine, a nonprofit organization, and social media resource dedicated to mental health advocacy through positivity, education and collaboration. She is a member and presenter for NAMI’s Ending the Silence and Peer-to-Peer programs and is certified in Mental Health First Aid (Youth) and Suicide Prevention. Jeanine is also a classically trained singer and pianist hailing from the Big Apple but is now loving life in the Sunshine State.