Working mom versus stay-at-home mom

Note: The last couple of years have been tough with work, studies, and for the most part, no hired help. Could be why I haven’t been blogging as regularly as before. Read my thoughts on the same in this Gulf News column: http://gulfnews.com/opinions/offthecuff/working-mom-versus-stay-at-home-mom-1.1200885

(image via source)

Work drives me insane. As a matter of fact, it also keeps me sane. What, did I just hear you say you don’t quite follow me? Read on, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum. I’ve played the role of a home-maker (or housewife if you will), a studying mom, and a working mom. I realise there are benefits and drawbacks in each, and each has its own charm.

When I wasn’t working or studying, the day stretched ahead of me long and tiring, a bore, with house chores being the only thing to look forward to. I wasn’t however permanently tired or short on sleep and when I spent time with the children, I was all theirs and I didn’t worry about unfinished assignment or colleagues and bosses.

There was always fresh, home-cooked food on offer and we never ran out of things like toothpaste or dishwasher tablets. Enter studying.

Anyone will tell you that trying to study whilst playing mom and home-maker is no joke. It means having ugly circles under your eyes because the only time you could study was after the kids snoozed, and it means knowing the paper you wrote on Durkheim could have been so much better if the girls didn’t get food poisoning that week.

You are however glad you could turn in the paper after all and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you pass, is unparalleled! Oh, and sometimes you nod off during class because you’re so unbelievably exhausted.

With me, that of course wasn’t such an issue, what with years of high school training! The best part however, is when you take an exam and the whole family comes to see you off.

You are told, “Mom, you’re the smartest. I promise it’s going to be easy,” by someone who actually means it, and the icing on the cake? You are presented with a melted and squeezed up Mars bar saved especially for you as a gift.

Reality check

And then you start work. You are so ready to implement all of that knowledge you acquired and you wonder just how hard could it be? And then you get the reality check you always knew was coming: it’s really hard but it’s also fun!

You get to dress up and go out every morning, you can’t make random trips to the fridge because you’re no longer vegetating at home, and you feel content when things go right. You do however, hate the fact that you appear to be aging faster because you never really get beauty sleep and because the sun seems to eat up your hands as you drive!

On the other hand, you accomplish things you didn’t think you ever could and then you challenge yourself and climb another rung on the ladder of satisfaction. And when you finally see your own kids again, you bring with yourself an infectious positivity and even though you’re physically tired, you’re not frustrated.

You’re actually more productive than you were before and you begin to appreciate the little things because you miss them at work.

So you sometimes run out of things and there are days when the only thing the family must eat is a take-out meal, but then you learn to value your weekends and make the most of them. Your children see you working hard, as a student, as a mom and as a working woman, and they begin to gain a sense of responsibility too. You learn so much with every passing day; you feel like you finally looked outside your own little world, reached out, had wonderful experiences and became abetter person for it.

In no circumstance however, is life perfect. On the best day at work, you might be in a brutal fight with your better half and after the most amazing weekend in your life, that Sunday makes you wonder why you wanted to work in the first place.

I’d like to sign off by saying that the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is keeping my chin up through everything that happens, to find my inner positivity and to let my spiritual energy keep me in the right place. Our happiness does not depend just on what we do, but it also rests heavily on how we think, how we approach life, and whether we see the glass half full or half empty.

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4 thoughts on “Working mom versus stay-at-home mom

  1. My mother left my father for good reason. While raising us, she worked. She was a nurse. She had no choice but to maintain her career. Not only did our survival and futures depend on it but so did her sense of self-respect. It was hard as hell on her. There were times that it nearly killed her; literally, but she did it. I love her for her sacrifice, her strength. Much of what I do in life is in her honour.

  2. I like this : “……the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is keeping my chin up through everything that happens, to find my inner positivity and to let my spiritual energy keep me in the right place. Our happiness does not depend just on what we do, but it also rests heavily on how we think, how we approach life, and whether we see the glass half full or half empty. ” Very, very true!
    My own recent blog was on whether a woman’s place is in the home, even though my own mother is a housewife and I am still cherishing the joys of student life 🙂 Do check it out & give your feedback! It’s good to find like-minded people 🙂

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