gimme a break
I’ve never understood mothers who say that going to the office is like “getting a break.” Those women must not be managers or directly involved with customers.
When I was volunteering, I didn’t have to worry about co-worker conflicts, or the poor performance of employees, or the (sometimes) unreasonable complaints of customers. I just went in and did my part cheerfully and left.
Ditto with being a student. I might have felt bad for the young man who was failing out of the class, but he was the teacher’s concern, not mine. Nor was the student who was cheating on the exams my problem. I was responsible for my performance alone.
How little I understood as a young person, when the bulk of my experience was as a student or volunteer, just how demanding working life could be. I imagine that being a stay-at-home wife and mother is more like my younger life, when I was responsible primarily for my own business and not everybody else’s.
I think this is an instance of “the grass is always greener.” Here’s my two cents: During the (admittedly brief) time I was unemployed and stayed at home with my son, I felt like a virtual prisoner in my own home, a servant to the needs and demands of a tiny tyrant. I felt like I was entirely cut off from the adult world, had zero self-determination, and was a clock-watcher more so than I had been at any office job, ever! This is not to say I don’t love my son madly, just that the life of a SAHM is often more harried and confining than most people can imagine.
My guess is you’ll understand this better as your mother ages and her needs demand more of your time and energy. Or it could be a sick pet/neighbor/friend, or a side business off the ground, or a book you’re trying to publish. You’ll appreciate being able to focus your attention on something or someone else.
“I imagine that being a stay-at-home wife and mother is more like my younger life, when I was responsible primarily for my own business and not everybody else’s.”
My understanding of a SAHM’s role is that her business IS other people’s business e.g. her child’s needs, her partner’s needs … I’d still take this over the life of the average-salaried fulltime working mother though – that seems like hell.
I agree that doing both seems impossible!
“I imagine that being a stay-at-home wife and mother is more like my younger life, when I was responsible primarily for my own business and not everybody else’s.” What a narrow-minded, condescending thing to say! As if these women — the same ones you accuse of not trying to understand singles – are just prancing around in solipsistic, juvenile fashion, giving nothing back. They give everything they have, to their families and communities, from the position of maturity and experience. In this instance, your imagination has utterly failed, and ironically because of an impenetrable solipsism.
Well, I suppose it’s a change of pace or scenery. I know SAHMs of small children are constantly busy… but once the kids are in school, many of the SAHMs I know (who don’t return to work at that point) seem to have more time to pursue their own interests — crafts, baking, volunteer work, etc. I do agree that it’s probably a case of the grass is always greener, etc…!