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Working Mom Rationale

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Stop looking at me like that.  Actually, stop looking at me altogether.  You can’t judge me.  You have no idea what it’s like to be as invested in your job as you are in your kids.

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No, I get it.  I know.  Being a stay at home mom is a job.  I’ve been there.  I hear what you’re screaming.  I understand how the work life balance involved in stay at home parenting is there, it’s just less obvious.  I understand that being at home means juggling primary care giving with home management.  And that home management includes a whole mess of shit (dishes, laundry, toilets, floors, meal prep, general tidying, food shopping, the replenishment of non-food based household goods, pet care, social calendar upkeep, car care, more laundry, etc) that takes time away from parenting, which is the whole point of being home in the first place.

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And I get that unless you hate your kids or are totally OCD, no matter how hard you try, the house looks like perpetual tornado aftermath and that you’ve forced yourself to be cool with that.  This Fonzi approach is necessary for circumventing your otherwise hourly chaos-induced panic attacks.  It’s really hard to keep it together when the baby’s crying, the water’s boiling over, the cat’s puking and all you did was take 5 to go pee.

Being a stay at home mom is really fucking stressful.

Which is, umm, sort of exactly why I’m no longer a stay at home mom.

It wasn’t for me.

Fine.  I’ll say it.  I COULDN’T HACK IT.


You’re still looking at me.


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I’m not embarrassed.  I love being a working mom.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s hard as hell.  Just as hard as being a stay at home mom.  I still have a whole mess of home management shit to deal with.  And I see my kids less.  But, I get to pee whenever I want for as long as I want.  And that’s a big deal.

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My kids are 8 and 6.  They go to public school (for much of 2007-2013 we had to pay through the nose for private daycare and pre-school).  We have a babysitter (an AWESOME babysitter) for 3 and half hours, 3 afternoons a week, and for a few hours on Saturday nights expressly to preserve my marriage.  I take my kids to school every morning.  On Friday mornings, my husband is in charge of drop off.  It’s a family affair – we have early breakfast (usually at Starbucks) on these mornings and savor the sacred additional hour of togetherness that we are able to build into our weekly schedule.

Every Tuesday afternoon, my husband leaves work a little early to pick the kids up.  Every Thursday, I do the same.

We spend most weekends as a four person unit (with the exception of the umpteen birthdays parties for which we tend to divide and conquer ).

I rarely attend after-hours work events.  I cannot participate in any meetings that are called before 9am.  I disconnect (mostly) from work on weekends and evenings.  I am generally unable to pinch hit for co-workers.  And 9.9 times out of 10, I’m busy with work during normal work hours, so having to pick up a sick or injured kid from school is really, really inconvenient.

I chaperone 2 field trips a year – one for each of my kids.  I somehow manage to get to almost all performances/special events/monthly bring-your-parent-to-school mornings.  But it’s always by the skin of my teeth.

Yes, it’s a complicated house of cards I’ve constructed.  Which is why, as you pointed out, you and I have never met.  But I actually have been to this playground before.  Many a time.  Not at school dismissal time – I’ll grant you that – but other times.  Weekends.  Holidays.  Late at night…

The look you’re giving me, half pitying, half repulsed, indicates that you think my mom skills could use some polishing.

Well!  That’s bitchy.

I happen to like my mom skills just the way they are.  I’m proud of my house of cards.  Yes, it’s delicate, but it’s functional.  For now, at least.

So, stop looking at me like that.  Stop judging me and stop pushing me to judge myself.  I’m sure as hell not judging you.  Though, don’t think I don’t see you eyeing my bottle of malbec…see how much we have in common?


4 Responses to Working Mom Rationale
  1. Emily
    May 7, 2014 | 6:46 am


  2. Beth
    May 9, 2014 | 8:43 pm

    Amen, sister! I’d go totally postal, if I had to stay home full-time. My kids have a better mama, because I do work, even if I feel schizophrenic half the time! Cheers!

  3. Jenn
    May 10, 2014 | 10:44 am

    This is my life almost to a T… The constant juggling of priorities so that I do my job well yet have a happy family. The one advantage I have is that my job is entirely home-based, but that’s dangerous in some ways. It’s so easy to “just wrap up one more thing…” And before I know it my evening is shot. But with my husband’s travel for work, I couldn’t manage the kids, house, appointments, etc. without the flexibility of my job. I also live for grocery-delivery services as they have saved my hide more than once. And my wine, but we’ll leave that discussion for another day… :-)

  4. Jaynee
    May 11, 2014 | 10:38 am

    I have a SAHM friend who told me that it’s way easier for working mom’s because when we get to work we can just relax. And then I punched her in the face.

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