Stay-at-homers or working moms: do you ever envy the other side?
posted by: Guest Blogger
The thing about moms who work outside their homes is that we love to hate the moms who don’t.
Not as individuals. But as a demographic of nameless, faceless minivan drivers toward whom we direct a venomous mix of resentment, bewilderment and envy.
We spot them in their workout clothes and tell ourselves their days must be so mindless.
Every time we mooch their graham crackers, every time we borrow their Handi Wipes and every time we ask them, last minute, to cover for us in carpools, we’re reminded of our own half measures.
What a waste of talent and ambition, we try to convince ourselves, congratulating ourselves on our choices.
I write this after having spent a week off living like a stay-at-homer.
For the first time ever, I got to linger among the moms after drop-off at day camp, joining their ritual coffee klatch.
“We’ve never had your type in the mornings,” one of them told me.
“My type?” I asked.
“Yep. A rusher,” another mom answered.
Still, I loved every minute of it.
As it turns out, it’s possible to spend five perfectly meaningful weekdays impervious to news releases about Gov. Bill Ritter’s signing ceremonies.
It’s possible to pull weeds for three hours at a time and enjoy an enormous sense of accomplishment.
And it’s possible to feel fully engaged refereeing our boys’ lightsaber battles afternoon after afternoon.
“Mom. Why aren’t you going to your job?” asked Ike, our 4-year-old.
“This is one of my jobs, being your mom,” I told him.
“But why are you dressed like that?” asked Abe, 6.
“Because I went to the gym,” I said.
“The gym?” Ike asked. “What’s a gym?”
(It had been five years since I last set foot on a treadmill.)
As parents with full-time jobs, there are muscles we don’t use and things we don’t make enough time for. At our house, those include working out, letting our kids sleep in when they need to and hanging out in the backyard eating blueberries.
There are errands we don’t catch up on, thank-you notes we forget to write and, always, all too much time missed with our children.
“I didn’t know your kids had a mom,” the barista at our neighborhood coffee place told me Thursday after three years of patronage by my boys and their sitter.
I love my work. I love our kids. And I’ve made my choices.
But it was good, if only for a week of mandated furlough, to live my life without a deadline. It was kind of fun to shop for groceries late in the morning, when nobody’s there. And it was sweet to be the one who slathered our kids with sunscreen in the mornings, then be there to reapply in the afternoons.
I’m back at work, still cursing the stay-at-homers, as, I imagine, they’re organizing their kids’ toys or underwear drawers. It is a luxury, no matter your job title, to get to do just one job at a time.
-Susan Greene is a Denver Post columnist
Are you a stay-at-homer or working mom? Do you ever envy the other side and how do you balance everything?