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Re-writing my job description

February 12, 2007

I was reading a friends blog the other day. She wrote that she was worried about becoming a SAHM because she felt like her DH would slowly slide with chores until she ended up doing all the housework. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and came up with my latest rant.

There is a big difference between being a SAHM and a housewife.

Being a stay at home mom is a job. There is no union, no timecard, no vacation days or sick leave but it is a profession. A SAHM takes care of the kids. She’s there to kiss and cuddle, play and teach, feed and change. Sure, there might be time in the day to do a load of laundry or wipe off the kitchen table. She might even find a minute to straighten up the living room. But for me, at least, I feel pretty lucky when I get a shower and a meal or two.

I use the word housewife to mean what too many husbands expect. That a woman staying at home is at home to take care of the house. To cook, clean, take care of the kids and possibly in this order of priority. Well, there are only so many hours in the day. So if you want someone who works hard to make sure the children are well cared for, read to, sung to and played with then you want a SAHM. If you want someone who will do your laundry so you don’t have to then hire a maid. But there are only so many hours in the day and you can’t have both.

I first became a stay at home mom when my twins were about 8 months old. After they were born I took 3 months leave, worked part time for 2 months and then (this is the best part) my DH was a stay-at-home-DAD for three months. For those three months I worked full time and still did most of the housework. For those three months my DH developed a very healthy respect for stay at home parents.

When I became a SAHM I tried really hard to be both a SAHM and a good housewife. (I guess I watch too much perfect world TV shows.) But then I realized that either the house would be clean and I would have spent no time with the kids, thus defeating the whole point of being a SAHM, OR, I would have a ridiculously messy house but have spent the day cuddling, playing with, reading to and just enjoying the babies. I was always tired, fought alot with DH and felt pretty much like a failure.

Thankfully, I’ve woken up. I used Flylady to help me establish routines to do basic cleaning. Her 15 minutes at a time style has done wonders. DH and I split the cooking/clean up duties at night. Because of his experience as a SAHD he’s really good about giving me a break when I need it. (And picking up his socks 🙂 ) I also make sure to take more time for myself. I still do as much housecleaning as I can but I know that it’s more important to spend time with the girls than have a kitchen floor I can eat off of.

So the next time you want to vacuum, read your baby a book instead!

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