My dad commented on something today, that had me pondering over a question that has laid dormant in my mind since having my fourth child (cheer me on for even having the time to write this post!). He said to me as I loaded my car full of bin bags before setting off towards the recycling center: “Good, I like to see people doing real work and not just bouncing babies all the time!”
I stared at him, mouth hung open, not sure what to make of this. I know my dad has a sarcastic sense of humor and eventually I clued on that he was teasing me. However, it led me to wonder why the view exists that solely looking after a baby or other children at home is not seen as ‘real work’.
What is it about putting on a blouse and skirt that denotes a real job, but being in your jim jams all day is fun fun fun? When did your lifestyle choice stop being optional and start becoming a conversational point for the neighbours and wider community? The majority of jobs require you to sit down, being a mum means you are constantly on your toes – is that not work? Having no breaks, not even a toilet one, doesn’t count as tough? What is it people think we do all day?! It’s a constant battle and constant stress; many mothers end up feeling isolated and secluded. We venture out of the house even in the rain just to remind ourselves we are part of society and not the hermits we feel we have become. It’s easy to lose your sense of identity, it’s easy to forget what day it is! How can anyone say that that, isn’t hard?!
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes; kudos to those mums who go out to work. Congratulations, if you are a mum who runs her own business from home, whilst getting ready to compete in this year’s Master Chef and simultaneously homeschooling your child and teaching them Kung-fu in your spare time; but that’s not me. I barely get time to finish my cuppa (which I have reheated past the point of it being safe to consume), I can’t even think straight or sideways. We aren’t all the same and that’s OK. To each, his own; all of us face different challenges in life.
It seems to me that many people think stay at home mums who work have a harmonius balance of the perfect life; and I can’t help but wonder, are they really the one mum to rule them all?!