About a month ago, a writer penned this “mommy wars” piece for xoJane which said, in sum, that being a Stay at home mom is a privilege but not a job. Naturally, the author got it from all sides with that opinion.
I just shared it generally without an opinion on the topic on my own, however, I am now ready to chime in my thoughts.
Personally, I became a work-at-home mom a few years ago. I spend my work hours (and nights) being a part time/occasional lawyer while building a digital media company and supplementing my skills, income and connections as a freelance writer/blogger and consultant. The rest of my 24-hours are spent tending to parenting and mom-only duties. The latter can be so time-consuming and overwhelming, that I find it challenging to keep myself looking decent during the day, to comb my hair and take regular showers. Thank goodness I don’t have to go to an office and interact with work peers.
And during this time, I have learned to respect all the work that goes into full time parenting. The responsibilities and duties have grown exponentially especially these days that my three children are older, and are enrolled in plenty after school activities and sports.
It’s one thing to only have to earn a living or work while leaving your child to the care of school, after school centers, a nanny, parent or child care center for most of the day. To add on the other jobs/tasks that parents have to do daily, weekly and monthly is just, whoa!
So in addition to being a small business owner/momtechpreneur, here are 7 jobs that I (and many other stay-at-home and work-from-home moms) do regularly:
1. Chief Home Energy Efficiency Manager- This job requires going around the home unplugging devices, scheduling and attending energy efficiency walk thru and inspections, fussing at the hubster and kids every time some large energy sapping device or machine is plugged in, and agonizing over the letter the electricity company sends every month letting the family know the house consumes twice as much electricity than most people in my entire town, and basically suck. sigh WTG to add more stress on an already stressed-out life, PEPCO!
2. School-Household Liaison – This is a big position requires tracking all the various paperwork, forms, permission slips, notices, announcements that come from the kids’ school online information system, email servers and from manual sources like the bottom of bookbags, folders and coat pockets. The job also requires cognizant recognition of the children’s relationships with faculty, staff and classmates and remain engaged, interactive and aware of how these relationships impact the kids lives.
3. Mailroom Coordinator/Operator – This task entails daily, weekly and monthly analysis of the mail that comes into the home, processing and sorting mail that need immediate attention, should be logged onto the family calendar or inserted in the bill payment system, and communication with various family members who have their mail sent to our home because they don’t trust some pieces of mail going to their own homes, for various reasons. This is what they were thinking of when someone coined the term , “piling on.”
4. Housekeeper– This job requires routing dusting, sweeping, taking out the trash, hanging up and folding laundry, cleaning out the kids rooms, picking up random dishes strewn all over the home, seasonal trips to the laundromat to launder large bedspreads and towels, bathroom cleaning and cleaning the refrigerator. The assistants (aka the kids in my home) wash the dishes and clean up on weekends and when it’s just out of control; and the hubby does weekly laundry, ironing and grocery shopping. Thank goodness otherwise, this job could be the most exhausting!
5. Cook – Cooking and/or microwaving leftovers, whipping up 10 minute meals, and grilling chicken, hotdogs, burgers and other foods the picky kids eat.
6. Household/Business Accountant – Keeping track of the household and business bills and ensuring they are paid on time; and sorting receipts and payments for the tax man in April.
7. Shuttle Driver – This position entails shuttling the children back and forth to practices, after school events and sporting activities; managing car pool duty and trying to remember to gas up the shuttle and at least take it in for a detail-level of cleaning once a quarter…at least!
If each of these were paid positions or someone had to be hired to fill them, we’re talking over a half million dollars in annual salaries yet stay-and-work-at-home moms and dads do it without pay and should be recognized for having a tough task, whether it is a privilege or not!