Ladies and Gentlemen, if you don’t mind, I’d like to set the record straight. This is prompted by the duncely verbiage of an ignoramus who recently observed to my wife,
“Wow, I wish I was a really attractive young woman so I could marry a rich guy too… and not have to work.”
First and foremost, any person, male or female, who thinks that being a full-time mom isn’t work has never spent more than two or three hours with a toddler. And no, I don’t just mean being present – that’s not parenting – I mean listening to them, speaking to them, feeding them, clothing them, wiping their butts, playing with them, catching them as they fall off the counter or arm of the couch, drawing with them, running with them, chasing them, playing with them, interacting with them, reading to them, answering their ceaseless questions, playing with them, bandaging their wounds, comforting them when they’re hurt or sad, buckling them into a car seat, chasing them down the aisle of the grocery store, playing with them, explaining to them that it isn’t nice to audibly observe that that lady has the appearance of a hippopatamus, generally keeping up with their undying energy for everything under the sun, and did I mention playing with them?
By the way, “playing” with a child, when it goes on for some twelve to fourteen hours straight, isn’t quite the same thing as “playing” poker with your friends, or “playing” volleyball, or whatever suits your fancy. It’s responding to the ever-changing whims of a child’s voracious appetite to learn everything all at once in the most hands-on manner possible.
My wife has put in over 46,416 hours since our son was born, and that was just over five years ago. Because you know what? Even when she gets to lay down and try to get some sleep at night, she’s on the job. Yep, because parenting doesn’t magically end at night (at least if you’re not the type of parent to leave your child to wail themselves hoarse in total abandonment for so many hours).
By contrast, I work a regular 40-hour work week, plus another 10-15 hours in the evenings. But I get to drive into work in peace and quiet. And I get to spend my day associating and conversing with adults who can hold a conversation (my son can hold a conversation, by the way, in the sense that he can own it, for hours, and hours, and hours – but it’s more of a monologue, and usually the subject matter is Batman and Robin, or Fireman Sam, or some such flight of fancy he is presently obsessed with). I get to lean back in my chair and poke at the internet, maybe even write a (quarterly if I’m lucky) blog post or argue politics, without having my arm yanked off the keyboard to watch him play Legos or get a glass of water or instantaneously rocket out the door to the school park.
When my workday is over, I get to go home, away from it, and let whatever stress that’s clung to my spirit roll off of me as I walk in the door and get welcomed like I’m the Superhero of the Universe whose been out capturing Two-Face and his minions all day. I get to spend my weekends away from work, putting it out of my mind until I actually have to be concerned with it again on Monday.
Stay-At-Home-Moms work 24/7/365. They don’t get overtime. They don’t get vacation (a shopping spree while I stay home with our son is not a vacation). They don’t get weekends off. They work from moment they get up in the morning to the time they lay down in bed at night, and are on-call all night for bad dreams, potty, thirst, itches, and anything and everything that can possibly rouse a child from their sleep. (Note to dads: this shouldn’t be regarded as an exclusively mom duty, either.)
Stay-At-Home Moms ARE working moms, and they work harder than ANY other worker in any other profession bar none. Their work – raising the future stewards of the planet – also happens to be more important than presidents, prime ministers, chieftains, ambassadors, et al, ad nauseam, none of whom could ever become presidents, prime ministers, chieftains, ambassadors, et al, without a mom.
I haven’t even mentioned everything else these working moms do outside of interacting with the children – NONE of which can ever get done without some interruption or other by either tragedy or need. And throughout all of this, adult interactions, by comparison, are few and far between. And when they happen, this is what they get?
It bears repeating: STAY-AT-HOME MOMS ARE WORKING MOMS. And they work harder than anyone else on the planet.
Having made that point, when the heck did my wife (who is really attractive) marry a rich guy?