After a horrendous morning which included my 2 1/2 year old grandchild weeping, wailing and metaphorically gnashing her teeth as she flung herself about the house because I declined her demand of ice-cream for breakfast instead of pancakes, and then having to deal with my special needs 11 year old who has begun menstruation but is unable to comprehend the importance of keeping “protection” in place, I sat down in front of my laptop for a moment because I was in such a state of mental meltdown I didn’t have the where-with-all to do anything else. I was mentally exhausted and it wasn’t even lunch time yet.
And in my email I spotted where Quora had posted the following question: “Why do stay-at-home mothers claim they have a hard job?” The question was posed by a man who works construction and said “2 kids, and a small house is not hard work”.
I was a moth to the flame, I couldn’t stay away.
Now my sweet grandchild is napping (yes, she is very sweet despite the occasional temper tantrum) and, to the best of my knowledge, my youngest daughter is properly attired in such a way I hope to find no more furniture requiring specialty cleaning.
Mind you, 20 plus years ago I was also a stay at home mom with two beautiful children: a girl and a boy, four years separate in age. Both are/were healthy and without special needs. So, admittedly they were much easier to raise–I’m sure being 20 plus years younger factored in. But even then it was no walk in the park job. However, I loved being able to be the one to teach and raise my kids, so I chose that option.
Their dad, my ex, suffered an attitudinal belief my job was easy. Contrar to his misguided notions, I, as stay-at-home-mom, did not sit home all day eating bon-bons while watch soap operas. (Allegedly this is what his and neighboring moms did. IF there is any truth to it, I’d guess that’s what happens when you bear 6 plus kids in under 10 years. Perhaps then I’d have lost my mind and zoned out on smut too.)
However, in our lives there was a reason he experienced clean folded clothing, a clean and tidy home, dinner ready (most often) at supper time, a garden growing in the back yard, a balanced check book and nary a bill collector phoning (even during the many years his income was barely sufficient to survive on). And these are just the beginning of what all I would and can do about the house and home.
Now he is able, if he takes the time, to recognize the fruits of my labor, as both his children have graduated high school, served in the armed forces, graduated (and about to graduate) college (with not a penny of his money spent on there, as each kid has secured their own funding). Both are and actually have always been very well behaved (I literally received compliments on this from others–I thought they were just normal kids), neither has had any scrapes with the law, and I could go on.
At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, which is NOT my intention, the point is that well-adjusted adults who are a contribution to society require loving guidance and care as they are growing. This is the job I assume the mother of your children is attempting to serve a key role in.
I’ve had the misfortune of living in a shoddy built house, but I’ve also been owner of a solidly built house. (Jurys still out on my current house). You can do a half-crap job of slapping together a building, and we all have a fair idea how that will play out over the long haul. Or, you can expend the time, expense and effort to build something properly, with care, that will withstand the storms of life.
It’s not so different with children. Sure you feed a kid and send them off to school and they may survive. But if you want them to grow into caring, emotionally stable, drug free, crime free, law abiding, thriving adults, you MUST invest the time, energy and love required for it to come to be.
Add this to the many tasks required to properly run a household and you’ve got a demanding job on your hands; a job that deserves your appreciation and respect!