So a few weeks ago my husband had the day off and we spent a lovely afternoon taking our 10 month old for his very first trip to the pool. He loved it and we were happier than we have been in a while. This is partly because Ty changed jobs and in addition to making more money his boss isn’t a complete dickwad. So husband comes home happy now instead of stressed out and wanting to punch the wall. Win.
Anyway, he still wanted to drop by the old shop for some reason, probably to show off our awesome kid. And while we’re there, his old supervisor who is also inexplicably “buddies” with Ty had the nerve to ask me something of which is none of his damn business: Do I have a job yet.
No. And fuck you for asking!
Seriously, I am so sick of this mentality that being a stay at home mother implies I’m just lazy. I am not fucking lazy. I have worked plenty of demeaning low wage jobs in my life when I had no fucking choice. But now that I’m raising a kid and doing more shit in a day than I ever did out in society, unpaid, I might add, it’s not good enough.
You want to know why I’m not working? Here is why!
1) Childcare is fucking expensive. Like $600 and up, expensive. Out here it’s actually more than that, even part-time, because there is no such thing as a daycare that will take your kid “whenever” you feel like dropping them off.
2) My job options are either retail or some other service job. They all pay minimum wage and I would be working less than 20 hours per week.
3) I would make less than the cost of childcare. So essentially I would be paying to go to work.
4) After 10 years of working with the public I have no desire to go back. I was so stressed out after work that I never wanted to goanywhere or do anything. Sure, there were things I loved about my job, but the stress just isn’t worth it. Also, people suck.
5) Working nights or weekends would ensure I never see my husband. Or I’ll come home exhausted and just go to bed. We have been on opposite schedules most of our relationship. When I worked evenings we sometimes didn’t see each other until 10pm and I was too tired to do more than eat a quick meal. When I worked mornings I was in bed by 9pm, sometimes earlier. He was off weekends, I always worked one or both days. So if I went back to that we would be sacrificing the little time we have as a family.
6) I don’t want to miss anything. Yes there are times when my son drives me crazy but I would still choose him over a job any day. I don’t want to miss a second of his childhood and Ty sadly hears about a lot of the cute things Hunter does through me telling him. You can’t get that time back.
7) I loathe the idea of someone else raising my kid. I know a lot of daycare moms are about to get defensive but for me, this is a real issue. I am not judging you for leaving your kid with someone else, and I’m not saying you’re doing the wrong thing. But for me, I just would rather raise my son myself 100% of the time.
8) My income is not needed. Ty has been able to keep us comfortable for over a year and even when I was working I barely covered my half of the rent. So really, my income is supplementary and now that we have a child it really makes no sense for me to be working at all. I get more from Child Tax than I would from part-time retail.
9) I already have a job. This is the part I really can’t stress enough. I work every fucking day, with a few days off a month when Ty takes our son for Daddy & Son Day. And even then, that one day off a week is not guaranteed in length or availability. This job has brutal hours and sometimes puts me under house arrest for want of transportation and an agreeable companion. I get shit on, pissed on, snotted on, screamed at. My hair gets pulled and I have baby fist sized bruises everywhere. My back aches from carrying a 20 lb squirming toddler on my hip, and I never have a moment’s peace. It is a miracle when I manage to get half the cleaning done and I feel like a fucking superhero when my husband comes home to a clean house and a happy family. If I managed to brush my hair and put on clothes that aren’t yoga pants I’m employee of the fucking month! If I do it more than once in a week I deserve a freaking medal.
Where’s my freaking medal????
Oh, that’s right. I do all this shit for free.
I get up every day, knowing that no matter what I do, the house will never be clean enough. I wake up each day wondering what sort of catastrophe I will have to endure. What meltdowns I will deal with from my unreasonable toddler. What crap I might have to take from my overworked husband. What we’ll have for dinner. Whether or not we’ll even get to eat dinner at a decent hour. Whether or not the kitchen will be a disaster by the end of the day. How often I’m going to get screamed at. Whether the kid will even have a proper nap.
There are so many variables to my day and even if I start off with a freaking to-do list and have good intentions and say to myself “yes, I’m so going to get shit done today and it’s gonna be awesome” I can never guarantee that outcome. Sort of like with my old job, when I showed up to work in a clean, cute outfit, hair nicely done. When I looked at sales targets and said “that’s totally doable” only to get a billion boxes of stock and a bitchy customer (or twenty) decides to return something without a receipt or that they bought six months ago, and they won’t accept a gift card, they want CASH! And my district manager walks in at that exact moment and asks why the stock isn’t done and the sales aren’t where they should be because nobody feels like buying anything that day and the little I did manage to sell isn’t good enough. Only instead of all that it’s the dishes that didn’t get done because the baby wouldn’t let me put him down and he didn’t nap. And forget about me looking polished. I’m in yoga pants that WERE clean this morning and my hair used to be braided but now it’s been re-styled by tiny hands that like to pull out every strand of hair they can reach, and now I’m a mess and it’s 5pm and where the hell did the day go?
And I don’t get a salary or vacation time or benefits for any of it.
Without me, my husband would not have clean clothes that magically appear in his closet/dresser. Without me the dishes would pile up even more than they do right now. Without me the floors would be dirtier, the clutter would be everywhere and ridiculous amounts of money would be spent on daycare.
But because I choose to give up the “satisfaction” of “contributing to society” and providing an income, I am able to do everything that needs to be done. I keep my son happy, healthy, reasonably well-adjusted. I ensure that most of the housework is done in a reasonable amount of time and that clothes are washed and put away more than half of that time. I keep track of appointment dates and grocery lists and when I feel ambitious I organize shit to make things more efficient. I do all of this with barely any acknowledgment sometimes and often the fact that I managed to clean at all is something to be impressed by. I mean, seriously, I managed to do the dishes with a toddler at my feet trying to get into shit because he screams bloody murder whenever I put him anywhere he can’t get out of.
So fuck you and your suggestions that I should get a job. This IS my job and it’s more important than everything else I have ever done. This unpaid, 24/7 work that I do is more fulfilling than anything I could do for a paycheck. This “gig” that so many people look their nose down on me for choosing happens to be the very thing that keeps our family together. I am the only one who CAN do this job; I am an irreplaceable member of The Berryman Household, and without me the rest of the corporation cannot function as well as they need to.