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You've all heard it before: "Being a stay-at-home mom is not a real job." Those words have probably made your skin crawl and your blood boil. Your days aren't filled with lounging on the sofa, getting manicures and binge-eating bon-bons (regardless of what others think). Your work as a stay-at-home mom is absolute WORK. So how dare they turn up their noses with comments about how your job isn't real?
But we're here to break it to you, your job isn't anything like a "real" job at all. Here's why:
You can't go to the bathroom in peace
Even though office bathrooms are public, you can go to the bathroom in peace without someone trying to break into your stall. As a stay-at-home mom, you can't relieve yourself without someone interrupting your five minutes of freedom. Even if you make it out of the bathroom without someone whining "mooooom" through the door, you're bound to encounter some disaster when you're done.
You're not around other adults
Working in an office allows you the opportunity to interact with people your age, which means you get to have stimulating and empathetic conversations. As a mom, you are with young'uns all day long. Even though you're grateful you get to debate the superiority of trains to all other forms of transportation with your 4-year-old, it's definitely not the same as the chats you'd have with grown-ups in an office setting.
You don't get paid
It's normal to measure the value of your work by the money it yields, but you don't get handed a paycheck for being a stay-at-home mom. Instead, you have to constantly remind yourself that your work is intrinsically valuable (because it really is), even if it's not apparently financially valuable.
You don't get lunch breaks (or any breaks)
Unless you count cutting a grilled cheese into squares (after you already cut it into triangles), or cleaning mushed up sweet potatoes out of the carpet as a lunch break, stay-at-home moms don't get the same respite people who have "real" jobs enjoy.
You're never off the clock
After a day at the office, you go home at the end of the day and do everything that isn't work (aka finally spending some time with your kiddos). However, when you're a stay-at-home mom, your job is never done. In fact, your "clients" even wake you up in the middle of the night in need of your services.
You don't get a vacation
If you think a family trip to the beach or Disneyland is a vacation, think again. As a stay-at-home mom, "vacations" require more work than a regular work day.
There is comfort in knowing your expectations and how to meet them on a daily basis. In a "real" job, you have a basic idea of how each day will progress, and most of the time, it goes exactly the way you believe it will. Unless you can predict your 2-year-old will wet his pants while your 4-year-old attempts to swallow an entire bag of chocolate chips in one go, stay-at-home moms work in unpredictable environments.
(This isn't to say the unpredictability of being a stay-at-home mom doesn't ever lead to beautiful, spontaneous moments.)
There's no performance review
In a career, your work is consistently evaluated and you are given credit for your accomplishments, but as a stay-at-home mom, there are no rewards for kissing your kids good morning, making breakfast, dressing squirmy kids, cleaning up a flour fight, quelling tantrums, balancing the checkbook and reading "Go Dogs Go" seven times in a row with flawless interpretations of each character's voice (all before 10 a.m.).
So yeah, being a stay-at-home mom is not a real job
But it is an opportunity to help your kids be their best selves and develop yourself in ways that are different than "real" jobs allow. It's the opportunity to be a part of your kids' lives, and for them to be a part of yours. It's the opportunity to laugh, cry and love.
There certainly isn't a correct answer for every mother about what the right job for her is. For some moms, the workplace is the best option and for others, home is the best place to be. But you must realize that neither the "real" job nor the full-time mommy job is any less valuable than the other. What's important is finding the best way for you to make the world a better place.
The Women's Choice Award is also committed to making the world a better place (and your life easier) by empowering you to make smart choices. The Women's Choice Award makes it easy to know which brands are most trusted by women so you can confidently make consumer choices without any stress. Check out their recommendations for women, by women (for free!) here.