Recently my friend sent me a screenshot of her Facebook where a lad she went to school with had put the following status on:
“Sick of these girls claiming a stay-at-home mum is a job. Try going out and getting a real job and you’ll know what hard work is”
Cue his jackass friends writing underneath “Yes lad, finally someone’s said what we’re all thinking” and “Since when has sitting on your arse watching Jeremy Kyle been a job”. Because yes, that’s what stay-at-home mums do. They sit watching daytime tv while the children feed, wash and dress themselves then sit in a corner playing quietly, only speaking when spoken to, while the cleaning fairies do all the housework. To say this status angered me is an understatement. Being a stay-at-home Mum is incredibly hard. I actually enjoy going to work because I get a break. I get to drink hot tea and talk to adults and have grown up conversations. I get time to think and listen to my music while I’m driving. I get to eat without interruptions and can actually sit down for longer than 2 minutes. This might be coming across that I’d prefer to be at work than home with Rae but that’s not what I’m saying, and is definitely not true. What I’m trying to say is that that lad and his Facebook status and his mates couldn’t be more wrong, and it’s only ignorance that can explain why they think that. They’ve obviously never spent a day with a toddler on their own. Some days they can be sweet little, butter wouldn’t melt angels, and some days by 10am you’re counting down the seconds until bedtime. Take this week for example. On Monday Rae was a delight before nursery. Everything was “yes mummy”, “please mummy”, “OK mummy”. She got dressed without question and was full of smiles, singing to herself while I strapped her in her car seat without a problem. I dropped her to nursery wishing I didn’t have to go to work so I could spend more time with her. Tuesday – In the words of Dinah Washington (I had to google that one) what a difference a day makes. First she didn’t want to take her pjs off. Then she didn’t want to get dressed. After much coaxing (and rugby tackling to the floor) I managed to get her clothes on her but she was seriously not happy about this. Then I peeled her banana wrong. You’re now asking yourself how a banana can be peeled wrong, and before Tuesday I would have wondered the same. But apparently the way I did it was not how she wanted it to be peeled, resulting in a tantrum that made a prison riot look tame. Then came time to get her shoes on. We have designated shoes for nursery because of the state they end up in so I picked up a pair of nursery shoes. Rae put them straight back and picked up her non-nursery sparkly boots. Ignoring her I carried on getting ready to leave and picked up the nursery shoes again. And again. And again. You can guess how this went on. In the end I picked her up to put her in the car with no shoes on. Cue the back arch. Anyone that’s ever tried to put an uncooperative toddler in a car seat will sympathise with me here. Trying to keep my voice calm as obviously the whole street were leaving for work at exactly the same time as this was happening didn’t help. Through gritted teeth and fake smile (and the elbow trick) I eventually got her strapped in. I dropped her off at nursery and practically skipped out of the door singing.
So there is an example of just two mornings with a toddler. It’s probably only a total of 2 hours each morning, from getting up to leaving for work. A stay-at-home mum has about another 10 hours before baby’s bedtime. Whether she’s had maternity leave or adoption leave, every mum will have been ‘stay-at-home’ at some point. We’ve laughed, cried, screamed, danced, sang, played dress up, drank imaginary cups of tea surrounded by dolls and teddy bears for company. But this is what being a mum is all about. Putting this tiny persons needs before our own. Making sure they are fed, watered and happy before we even consider ourselves. Whether we’re stay-at-home or working ones, it’s just what we do. And we don’t have time to worry about ignorant Facebook statuses from boys who probably still live at home with their mums, who once upon a time were possibly stay-at-home mums themselves.
After writing this blog I have to say I partly agree with his status. Being a stay-at-home mum isn’t a job. Being a mum isn’t a job. It’s our world, and we love it.