Wednesday, February 4, 2009

as oprah says, "it's the hardest job on earth."

My friend Ariel sent me the link to this article after my last post. I just couldn't NOT post it for all of you to read too. All the parents out there will get a serious kick out of this and if any of you without children have ever wondered what moms do all day... well I couldn't have said it better myself. Read on.

From Washington Post:


Wednesday, May 23, 2007; Page C10


Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .

Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.

Tacoma, Wash.

Relax and enjoy. You're funny.

Or you're lying about having friends with kids.

Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.

Internet searches?

I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.

So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.

It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.

It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.

It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.

It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.

It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends, or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! When I was very first pregnant, I used to wonder how on earth I would fill the days. Then I had a baby and realized that wasn't the problem it was just crossing things off my to-do list like "Shower." And now that I've finally got things back in a routine again, here comes the third set of sleepless nights and endless new-baby laundry...but I do love those kiddies.

  2. Totally awesome - and true. I love it!

  3. Ha ha- that was hilarious. My personal fave was "it takes you 45 minutes to do what takes others 15." One of the hardest parts for me is not being able to just go run an errand whenever I need to. I've got to schedule it around feeding/nap times to make sure she isn't screaming her head off when we're out and about. I can only imagine how crazy it will get when she's mobile and getting into everything!

  4. Ah, this is exactly what I needed to read tonight!!! Thank you. I was so down just now, and this totally makes me feel like I'm not alone.

    I'm a brand new mom (one months on Saturday) trying to recover from birth complications while loving a rather colicky baby (thanks to a forceps delivery and a short stint on formula due to my complications), while also trying to rebuild my milk supply and keep up with the people who want to meet my son. And that's just the start of what is going on inside of me and in my life. If I could retreat to a deserted island with my little one, I think I'd go for it right now.

    But reading this and reading your blog let me know that I'm not really alone and that there really are folks out there who can understand. So thanks!

  5. I wonder how many ways I can say AMEN!!!!

    Thank you for posting this! I just read it to the Husband and we both HOWLED with laughter and even he shouted a few AMENS!

  6. Oh, I loved this - how do you post articles to a blog? I am very new to this whole blogging thing. You have inspired me to get back in touch with my own thoughts and feelings, and to not be afraid to take lots more pictures! Say hi to Jared for me!!!