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?