Friday, July 24, 2009

High Worker Productivity


Took two begging children to toddler time at the city pool for an hour and a half, even though it was only 67 degrees outside and had thunderstormed shortly before. Came home and vacuumed the entire house. Changed the sheets on all the beds; did four loads of laundry. Fed the children lunch; made a vegetable tart for dinner later. While it baked, did the 30 Day Shred. Took the zucchini bread out of the freezer to thaw so we can have it for dinner with the tart. Swept the floor, watered the plants, and emptied the trash.

This is how I earn my SAHM stripes. Also how I stay thin. I'm ready for a coffee break now, though.

I think the hardest part about being a stay-at-home mom is that there is no discrete ending to the work involved. There's literally never a day when the clock strikes a particular hour and you say, "Well, I completed every relevant task today; I can go off the clock now and relax 100%, knowing that there is no other work hanging over me that I could otherwise be doing." I remember my other jobs, when on a Friday afternoon I could legitimately look around my office and determine that my work there was done; I could go home and do nothing, if I wanted, because there was no work left to do right then.

When you're a SAHM, there's always more work. I mean, beyond the obvious 24/7 of parenting, the other tasks of housewifery never end: the laundry, the cleaning, the preparing of meals and snacks for small bodies. It's a real challenge, finding a way to take time off from "work" when this is your full-time work.

Do you know what I mean, fellow SAHMs?


latisha said...

funny you should mention this. my husband said the other day he will start having some random mandatory saturdays. to which i replied: that means i dont get a day off. cuz naturally sunday would be for him...i sorta felt like an insensitive jerk, but you know what i mean.

Shan said...

I do know what you mean, Latisha. When my husband takes the girls out on his own on weekend a.m.'s or afternoons to go to the park or ride bikes, I sometimes use some of that time to work out, but mostly I do laundry, cook, bake, and/or do the grocery or Target shopping. And they ALWAYS walk in to a home-cooked lunch or dinner on the table waiting for them. I know that working moms face the same challenge of having to do home stuff on the weekends too, but I do think there is something to be said for having SOME part of one's life that one can "leave at the office" and truly get away from, be done with, etc., for a time. I love being a SAHM and don't want to be otherwise, but the main challenge is how you're never, ever away from your workplace. Ever. So you never feel not-guilty about just sitting for an hour with a glass of wine or a magazine. At least I don't!

Anonymous said...

Sigh. I'm a Work-from-home SAHM to a 15-month-old with another on the way. Granted, my house and my mental state show it. Is 9am too early for a nap...for me?

Shan said...

It is NEVER too early for a nap, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I would say you can probably do it all or do it what seems like 24/7 like you seem to do and be constantly miserable thinking of all you still have to do, or you can let some of it go. Believe me it isn't going anywhere and you will feel better if you take some downtime even if you are just watching your babies and doing nothing else!

Shan said...

Anonymous surely has a point. However, I feel compelled to say that even though I complain on this blog a lot (that's what blogs are for), I am far from constantly miserable. I do have 2 or 3 ongoing stresses that, were they magically resolved, would make my life perfect (i.e., tight budget on one income, no extended family nearby for my kids to grow up with and get occasional help from, etc.), but I suspect everyone does, right? But it is a constant challenge to take time off, as a SAHM, for sure.