I found myself inadvertently writing books in response to commenters on my last post. Instead of leaving people a diatribe, I thought it might be better to create a new post. ❤
When I was a stay-at-home mom, I managed an apartment complex and could do it from my home. It generally took 25-30 hours per week to get the job done but I could set my own schedule. And, we received free rent in exchange for my work. (In lieu of a salary.)
I also worked as a bookkeeper for a property management company. I maintained the general ledgers and did the financial reporting for 13 small LLCs. This work also took 25-30 hours per week; however, I could set my own schedule and was invited to bring the kids along to play in the conference room while I worked. I was paid a salary for this work but that money covered school expenses like text books, some tuition and a babysitter once a week for the kids while I was in class. (I was double majoring in Management & Ethics.) It also covered Christmas & birthday gifts as well as trips to museums and zoos with the kids.
I know that doing all of that isn’t really being a stay at home mom but because I was lucky enough to have a situation where my kids did not have to go to daycare, I felt like a stay at home mom.
I would get up early and work a couple of hours before the kids got up. I’d make them breakfast and get them dressed. I’d throw laundry in the washer before we’d go to the park. Then they’d play while I studied at a picnic table. We’d go home, switch laundry loads & dust and vacuum (or whatever) together before having lunch. After lunch, I would read to them, play with them or take them somewhere fun for a few hours in the afternoon. Then, we’d grab our bag of toys & craft things and head to my bookkeeping job for a few hours. We’d come home & make supper, eat, do dishes and read or play a game together. After the kids went to bed, I’d work a couple of more hours, study a bit more and head for bed by midnight. I had class two evenings a week. One of those nights, I’d hire a babysitter. The other night either my husband or his mom would watch the kids.
If there was any chink in the schedule, the whole day would be off and I would feel terrible. I know now that a lot of this was dysfunctional & illustrative of my relationship with my husband (who worked a 40 hr/wk job, enjoyed time out with his friends, went hunting & fishing regularly, and did not enjoy babysitting the kids. Now I understand that caring for your own child is not babysitting but…. back then, for some reason, I believed that it was my responsibility and that it was an imposition.)
If there was any chink in the chain, if I forgot to change laundry loads, if I forgot I was making boiled eggs until the pot went dry and the eggs all exploded, if I got caught in traffic and didn’t get supper started, if I overslept etc…. I would be disappointed in myself and feel like I had let everyone down.
That’s why I liked ‘Being a Stay-at-Home Parent Is a Luxury… for Your Spouse’ so much. It debunks the lies I told myself and the lies other people told me that I believed. It is an ‘oh… if I knew then what I know now’ kind of article.