While browsing Instagram like a boss the other day, I came
across a post from a fellow mom of four (it's like we're in a secret club or
something) that listed her various activities for the day: gym in the morning
with the kidlets in the gym-run daycare, then because her every-other-week
housekeeper was still deep-cleaning her house, she was forced to go out to
lunch. [insert good-natured chuckle here.] And then later, take-out for dinner
because we all know how crazy mom life is!
I fully admit that my first thoughts upon scrolling were not
I looked over my lot in life—me nursing baby at 10
o'clock at night, a house in disarray, a budget that rarely allows takeout for
dinner and most certainly does not include a housekeeper—and I felt a simmering
flame of familiar, ugly jealousy.
That's not real mom
life! I shouted like a pouty 2-year-old. Well, except I was nursing the
baby, so of course I didn't actually shout because that would just be foolish. Real moms are burnt out and exhausted and
don't have housekeepers!
Trust me, I know how horrible I sound. I was pretty cognizant
of that fact even while thinking it, and I even confessed to my husband. So great
was my guilt over the fact that I had committed the cardinal sin of the
motherhood club: Thou Shalt Not Judge Other Mothers. (Except of course, when it's for the
So after I had purged myself of my sins, I took some time to
get to the root of my jealousy. What on earth makes me think that motherhood
means being miserable and never hiring a housekeeper? Why was I feeling so
The answer is, of course, that I want that life.
I want to be the in-shape sporty mom, but I can't bring
myself to leave the kids in the gym daycare, nor do I have the desire to spend
the money for a gym membership, nor do I have the time to dedicate two hours of
my life every day to getting us all to the gym and exercising.
Just because we all stay home with our children, does not mean that we will do it all the same way.
I want to be the mom who takes her kids out to lunch just
for funsies, but lunch out alone with four kids 6 and under is not always
that much fun for me.
I want to be the mom who is confident enough to announce to
the world that she has a housekeeper and doesn't care, but I can't even bring
myself to contemplate hiring a housekeeper, let alone talk about it.
In short, I realized
that in looking at that mom who was glowing and happy on Instagram with her
well-fed children and clean home, that what I really want is to be more relaxed
in my life as a mom.
Where did I get this idea that being a stay-at-home mom
means constant sacrifice? If we really want to treat being a stay-at-home mom
as a job, well then why shouldn't we be able to kick off our shoes (so to
speak) and indulge every now and then and enjoy it along the way? We are all
about women working jobs they love and we'd probably never bat an
eye about a woman working a 100+ work week outside of the home hiring a
housekeeper, but when a stay-at-home mom does it?
Well, some of us (cough, me, cough) may get a bit judgey
about that in their own personal Instagram scrolling time.
The truth is, I'm slowly starting to see the true wisdom in
realizing that even among stay-at-home moms, there really is no point in
comparing and contrasting lives. Just because we all stay home with our
children, does not mean that we will do it all the same way. The stay-at-home
mom who spends her days lunching and hitting the gym while someone else cleans
her house? Well, she's still caring for her kids in the way that she sees best, and if I have a problem with that, it's really just my problem.