Actually, the post is about disrespecting more than just the work at home mom, but also the stay at home mom and those who work at home but aren’t caring for children.
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Mandy, Jaci and I were discussing last week how amazing it is, that people think, because we work from home, that we have extra time on our hands. The three of us all have slightly different situations right now but we all work from home. And we’ve all found that people largely don’t realize that working at home means just that–working at home. And for Mandy and I, that means working while also caring for our child(ren).
But it’s amazing to me–as the three of us discussed–that people perceive neither staying at home with kids or working at home as actual…work. They believe that you’ll be free at all hours to gab on the phone, IM, or answer emails. They assume you have countless free hours during the day to run errands, do appointments, hang out or engage in other activities. They fully expect that your house will be perfect, you’ll do their laundry, cook dinner, grocery shop, pay the bills and complete any other various and sundry chores that might pop up. All of this in addition to your actual work (because God forbid any of that be seen as a job in itself!) Now, I should say, that things I listed don’t necessarily apply to me or Mandy or J. They’re a broad generalization of the things people seem to perceive about the work at home person.
I’m lucky because my husband knows that staying home with Brianna is hard work in itself. I know some women whose husbands think they play all day and that’s a shame. But I still find that some people don’t consider either staying at home or working at home a “real” job (hi, Dad) and that frustrates me! I do work, dammit, and I work hard.
I think there are a lot of misconceptions that surround both the work at home and stay at home mom. For one thing, I believe that many people think most women stay at home because they’re not qualified to do anything else. First of all, it takes an incredible person to spend the majority of their time with their child (and I’m not thinking of myself but all the women I know who care for multiple children). Second, it’s just not true. Take me, for instance. Licensed and nationally certified as an Occupational Therapist. I could easily be working outside the home, making 50,000 a year and have all sorts of cool extras in my life. Of course, I’d be paying someone else to raise my child. So, I choose not to work at an outside job. And instead I reinvented myself (but that’s another blog topic). Or I could use Mandy as an example, who has killer marketing skills and worked at a high-power job before leaving to be with her kids. She chose, too. Don’t assume it’s because there’s nothing else out there for the stay at home mom–what it actually is, is that there’s nothing better.
Another misconception about the sahm/wahm is that they sit around and eat bon bons, watching soaps all day. You know, there might be women out there that do this, but I don’t know any of them. The moms I know are passionately involved with their children, interacting with them and teaching them. Except for the occassional naptime, there isn’t much room for soaps and bon bons. And naptime? Invariably ends up being dedicated to all those things other people expect you to have time to do.
So somewhere along the way, I lost the point I was trying to make *snicker* but it comes down to mainly this; People who work at home, whether they’re “just” parenting or “just” writing or doing both or other things are working. Those who work outside the home should respect that and not expect the person on the other end to pick up the phone every time they call. Because chances are? They’re trying to write, edit, answer emails while feeding the kids lunch, letting the dogs out, pay a bill and fold the laundry. Instead, think about asking them what their schedule is like and when they might have time to chat–although there is always the risk the answer is never 😉 But regardless. Don’t disrespect the work at home person.