One of my daughters recently told me “they” say stay at home moms – or SAHMs – do the equivalent of two and a half jobs. As a SAHM, I always suspected that was the case – if not a little low. I was glad to know “they” are now saying what SAHMs have always known. I googled “how many jobs do stay-at-home moms do” and, lo and behold, there was an article in the New York Post validating the job equivalency for SAHMS.
My daughter brought up the studies because she thought since I am an empty-nester, I probably only do one and a half jobs now. Hmm… As she was giving me the details of the study, I was at that very moment carrying a 10-foot long, 4-inch diameter PVC pipe on my shoulder through Lowe’s. Why? Because my hubby was a time zone away yet still directing via texts the TWO construction jobs going on at our house.
I felt a little bit like a construction foreman directing and overseeing the work taking place in our yard. Every so often I would snap a picture and text it to my hubby so he could check on the progress and make sure everyone was doing what they should. One of those pictures lead to the realization we needed drain pipes added for one of the jobs. Since that crew doesn’t do drain pipes, hubby requested I run get some. ASAP.
Yep, just run get some drainpipe. I stopped everything I was doing, jumped in my car and ran to get a PVC pipe. A very long piece of pipe that barely fit in my empty-nester car.
Not only did I get the pipe but I also used the recip saw to cut it to two 12-inch pieces needed, carried it down to the guys who don’t speak my language and gesture the best I could where the pipe needed to go.
When the New York Post wrote the article about a SAHM doing 2.5 jobs, I wonder if they included construction foreman and sawing PVC. Probably not.
My hubby has traveled extensively the majority of our marriage so I do things around the home a lot of my friends with husbands who come home every night don’t do. I don’t have the luxury of waiting for my husband to change light-bulbs or air filters. I’ve been known to rearrange whole rooms of furniture, build cabinets and install them, create a garden plot, dig up an unwanted tree and plant another. When freezing temperatures threaten, I go out to cover the plants late at night. I trim trees and haul the limbs. My hubby has no idea what day the trash is picked up.
Once, I drove two hours to pick up a piece of equipment for our pool. A piece of equipment that barely fit in the back of his truck and looked like I was transporting a small spaceship. Last week, I hauled three huge trees and helped him unload them.
I wonder if any of my “chores” are covered in the 2.5 SAHM job list. Maybe the trash chore.
And just because I am an empty-nester, it does not mean I’m finished parenting. It just looks very different. I no longer drive them to their activities, take treats, serve in their schools or fix their meals.
But they are still my kids who need their parents. They call for advice on the big life decisions they have to make. We help with the grand-girls when we can. We pray for the right jobs, their perfect mates, good health, good grades for the college girl, among many, many other things.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had multiple conversations with moms who tell me they feel inadequate. My heart hurts for them and hate they feel they aren’t enough.
I fear SAHMs hold themselves to a higher standard. There is a need to show the world what they are doing has value – even if a paycheck isn’t attached to their job as a mom at home. I know I did.
I thought I had to bake the cupcakes, sew the costumes, volunteer for everything, keep a perfect house, make sure everyone learned their Bible verses, knew the Bible stories and prepare a perfectly healthy meal.
I’ve learned it’s okay to grab the store-baked cookies or cupcakes. It’s okay to once in a while throw the pizza rolls on a plate. Add a banana and call it healthy. It’s okay if you didn’t have the family fireside Bible lesson before school. We had many a talk with God in the school car line. More than once we drove to school with articles of clothing flapping out the window to dry because I suck at doing the laundry – or a kid forgot to tell me they needed a certain outfit or uniform the next morning.
And my kids are okay. They are productive members of society who love the Lord.
So to all the SAHMs out there – and the moms who work outside the home – give yourself a break. Love your kids and show them Jesus’ love for them. Dance silly dances and sing silly songs. Laugh with them – even when they spill the milk and color on your walls. Okay, maybe don’t laugh when they color on your walls…
And pray, pray, pray!
Dear SAHM, you are enough. You are adequate and have value.
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
Do you feel you are not “enough?” Do you struggle with feeling inadequate as a mom and a wife?
Husband to SAHM says
And don’t listen to the negativity of the world. Your family will always love you, no matter what.
When husbands of SAHMs are 100% supportive and encouraging, I have found SAHMs are less likely to feel inadequate. Keep up the good work!
You also are an amazing friend. You flew 1/2 the way across the country to spend and entire week caring for me post double mastectomy. Bet that didn’t make the list either.
No, I don’t think it did. But that wasn’t a “job.” That was my pleasure!
Yvette Davis says
Just in time to share with all the moms and mother figures out there! Thank you for including both moms (inside and outside the home) in your piece. As a working mom without a mom (died when I was 14), I used to say I need a ‘wife’ because of those feelings of inadequacy & doing anything motherly ‘well’ while juggling all (caregiving of elders, kids, husband, domestic duties, & work- office, etc). I’m now an empty nester and mothering from a distance to college age kids who are devoted to their studies, prayer, service and faith life. So I believe He will answer all those heartfelt prayers we Mother’s have if you pray, trust, listen and ask Him to guide you & your mothering! Maybe my mom has been talking with Him a lot, too! 😊
Shelly D Templin says
Yvette, I know it’s not easy being a mom when you didn’t have a mom to “teach” you. And I often said I needed a wife too! And trusting the Lord is the BEST advice. He thinks we are adequate!
Lana Smith says
Love to read about your life adventures and perspective on all those many adventures.
Keep ’em coming!!
Lana, thanks for reading!
Well, I now feel 2.5 times better!
One of the things I have struggled the most with is not being the friend I want to be. I often think of something I would like to do for or with a friend, but most of the time I can’t make it happen.
It makes me feel like a failure. To overcome this feeling, I developed a new habit.
At those times I have to remind myself how much I do accomplish. I tell myself there’s a season for everything.
Then I pray for whoever I thought of and for myself. Finally I tell the liar (evil) to leave me alone. Sometimes it helps sometimes it does not.
Reading about SAHMs made me feel so much better. Human!
Thank you Shelly!
Shelly D Templin says
What a great idea to pray for the friends you want to connect with but don’t seem to have time to. And to remind yourself all you DO accomplish. It’s hard to measure what we do accomplish as a SAHM. Sometimes the results won’t show up until our kids are grown and they have their own kids. We don’t get a paycheck as a measure of the success of our job. We just keep plodding along, hoping we are making a difference. Praying we are making a difference.
I bet your friends know they can call on you for anything at any time. 😉
Be encouraged, SAHM!