It was like someone had punched me in the gut.
I read it again:
(me) "I work just as hard as you."...........(her) "Not really. Not even close."
I was in the middle of working on a project and I was trying to explain why I couldn't, at that moment, drop what I was doing and do what she wanted me to do. As I tried to explain what was on my plate she responded with "ha ha ha, whatever." And then, after I lost my cool and told her why I was stressed she patronized me saying, "motherhood is hard, working motherhood is harder."
First, fuck her.
But more importantly, here's the thing:
YES, I stay home with my kid. BUT, I also work two part-time jobs and, I put whatever is left in the tank at the end of the day into this business- every extra ounce of blood, sweat, and tears creating content, workout programs for clients, and helping other mamas find their fitness mojo.
I experience it all:
--> All the amazing-ness of being a stay-at-home mama
--> And, all the frustration of staying home, trying to keep us busy and feel "successful"
--> All the sadness of leaving him at school
--> And, all the accomplishment of helping provide for my family and do what I love
All the love, frustration, guilt, joy, stress, and sadness... ALL. OF. IT.
I get to experience the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows from both perspectives- working and staying home. And, it's not easy.
They are both tests of patience, willpower, and emotional fortitude.
When you stay home you spend your days figuring out how to stay engaged and entertained, trying to get shit done around the house, while staying on the perfect schedule, surrounded by a little person (or people) wanting every ounce of your attention. And it never ends, you are always at work.
But, when you work outside of the house you have to get used to parting with that sweet baby, wondering how they are doing, wondering if they are having a good day or if people are being nice, all while having to deal with other people's BS and then, come home to the rest.
ALL MAMAS WORK REALLY, REALLY HARD.
But, I've noticed, that WE are also the ones that make it harder on each other. We assume the other type of mom doesn't work as hard, worry as much, or have as much stress because they aren't dealing with our same issues.
It is assumed that as working mamas, we get a break from the kids and we don't deal with any whining or bullshit which, MUST be SO glorious. And, us stay-at-home mamas, well, we get to be home all day, vacuuming in our aprons, making cookies from scratch, and flirting with the bald guy on the paper towel package as we hand mop our white tile floors...RIGHT??
Nahhhh, fuck that. NONE of that could be further from the truth.
Every time I drop E off at school I spend the first 20 minutes that we're apart looking at pictures of him, worrying about him, MISSING HIM DESPERATELY. But, I get a break from him- you know the one where I spend a majority of my time continuing to worry (or, obsess) about him or, planning the rest of our week, thinking about our tasks for the next few days, yada, yada, yada.
And, when I'm at home, I really can't get shit done unless I'm super organized and prepared. Did ya know that toddlers want ALL of your attention? All of it. And, while I don't always give in, the whining on a bad day is enough to make me yearn for my old job... that I loved... where I was successful. Oh, and that's the other thing. Some of us miss working- miss getting stuff done, miss interacting with adults and having conversations where the other person is able to put together an intelligible sentence. I love my boy but lawdy, it's like having a conversation with Honey-Boo-Boo... drunk AND stoned.
Neither job is harder. They are just... different. Both come with great days and both come with bad. Both will give you a sense of empowerment and both will suck you dry. Both will make you laugh and at some point will make you cry. And both, have incredible highs and, incredible... incredible lows.
And usually, it's in those lows where we wish we could be the other mama... because she's got it SO much easier.
But, the only thing we can do to make it easier on ourselves is to be compassionate with that other mama. As women, and mamas, we owe it to each other to stand by and support one another instead of comparing and patronizing. We should offer help instead of mocking or belittling. And, instead of immediately thinking "I have it harder," remember that perception is reality. You have no idea what someone is dealing with until you have been where they are and lived a few weeks of their life... with their thoughts, feelings, and stress. Really, you have no idea what that mama is going through or where she comes from. And,
I encourage you to create a tribe- with mamas who are like you and with mamas who are not. Learn from each other, compare notes, and for Pete's sake, be compassionate.
Looking for a tribe of like-minded mamas who practice compassion and are trying to better themselves through exercise?? Come join my tribe! I'm looking for mamas who want to talk about movement, motherhood, mindset and, at some point, making stuff because what good is life if you can't craft a little?