I was doing my nightly flick through the world of social media when I came across the This Morning debate on are housewives lazy. This happened yesterday after a mumsnet thread where it was suggested that if you are a housewife you are lazy as you don’t go out to work. Anyway, this got me thinking am I lazy because I am a housewife?
This is such a bizarre debate to me as it is just so negative to judge an entire group of people based on a stereotype. Imagine if I started wildly accusing all working mothers of not being good mothers – everyone would be horrified (I would be horrified too as that would clearly indicate that I had finally lost my mind!) So how can a whole group of people be judged because they are stay at home mums. As an aside, wouldn’t it be lovely if SAHM actually did mean stay at home as I would love to get out of that blasted school run, but off I go down a rabbit hole…
I am not lazy and nor are the other housewives that I know. No matter what your situation is, once you have children, you are busy. My opinion is that I am probably less pressurised than a working mother. My deadlines are largely self-imposed except for those associated with school and clubs, but managing a busy household and keeping four children fed, watered and alive does present its own list of pressures and stresses. I find myself to be in, what I consider, to be a fortunate position where I can stay at home. I am able to be around for every assembly, every school event and every drop off and school pick up (well actually I hate the school run, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, but I would still rather it was me moaning about it than someone else). However, I don’t think it is the easy or lazy option. It is however, an alternative choice to continuing with my career which would not have been possible with the amount of travel necessary and the cost of childcare for four littles.
So, she doesn’t work then?
Someone in his office asked my husband today what his wife did today and he said that I was at home with the kids. To which this person (whose identity he’d best kept secret or I could not be trusted at any future work-related gatherings) replied so she doesn’t work then… My husband (who is clearly after something which he won’t be getting as I’m too lazy 😉) pointed out all the things I am responsible and accountable for and asked whether that sounded like work and said that he believed raising kids and managing the home was the hardest job of all! I believe the person concerned was put well in their place. Good job husband of mine – you can stay!
Do I work now?
Yes, I think I do. My role starts around 6:30am and finishes around 10pm once all the days chores are done. During my working day I take on a number of roles including people manager, educator, negotiator, peace broker, disciplinarian, chef, administrator, PA to husband, blogger, cleaner, logistics manager, resource manager, event planner, entertainments manager and operations manager.
On any given day I have typically done 2-3 loads of washing made at least two meals for 6 people each time, cleaned and tidied, helped with homework and organised the lives and activities of four littles. This is a more than full time job.
None of this makes me special or unusual. There are millions of other women and men around the world who also wore various hats today and will again tomorrow (I do look good in a hat though!). We are all juggling something these days whether it be professionally or within the home, but as shown by the guest on This Morning, the Mumsnet thread and a conversation my husband had today, the value of the stay at home mum juggle is not always realised or appreciated.
It is true that I don’t bring in very much money at all, but I have saved this family a small fortune since our children were born. With four children our childcare costs would have been astronomical if I had of returned to my previous roles within the corporate world. I even tried retraining into a more flexible career, but that didn’t work as I simply could not earn enough to cover the costs and so was only going because I enjoyed it. The stress that it caused me to get in and out of the house and to catch up on the chores that I missed whilst I was out meant that it stopped being enjoyable and so it was not worth me essentially paying to go to work. I don’t think that this makes me lazy. It makes me a person who values their sanity and recognises that if I am unhappy the children are unhappy and as I said previously a person who knows they are lucky to be able to have a choice. So whilst I don’t bring in a huge income I do save us loads. Being at home also means that I can take time to look for cheaper alternatives to food and buy locally in order to make additional savings. There has got to be value in that…
Do I have lazy tendencies?
Yes I probably do, but this is not a product of my staying at home and may be more a consequence of 7 years interrupted sleep. I am tired alot, but it doesn’t mean that I have a nap – far from it. I am always running to something or another or rushing to complete something before I have to collect the kids.
I am not going to lie, there are days when I would love nothing more than to spend my day watching tv and lay on the sofa flicking between Jeremy Kyle and Homes under the Hammer (especially after a mummy’s night out) but I haven’t watched daytime tv since around 2010 before my eldest was born. These days if it isn’t Peppa Pig or Peter Rabbit I haven’t seen it and even if it is I probably have only seen part of it – fortunately I know that it all ends with everyone loving muddy puddles and the Rabbit always gets away (SPOILER ALERT!) so I am usually able to catch up with the plot when I finish whatever chore I was doing and have a chance to return to drinking my cold coffee. Not sure what my television viewing has to do with anything so I will get back to the point….
And the point is (apologies for starting with an and, but apparently this is OK these days although it does slightly bother my old-fashioned sensibilities where the English language is concerned.) Anyhoo… the point is that everyone can be lazy, but to suggest that all housewives are lazy full stop is ludicrous. We all know that when you are a SAHM you never drink a hot cup of coffee or tea!
Goals and Achievement
The housewives I know all previously had successful careers and worked hard, so why would they suddenly stop having any pride in what they do? Why would they suddenly not want to achieve goals? The goals may have changed, but they are still goals. The way I judge my success has certainly changed since I stopped working in the City. Now its more about whether I have gotten everyone to school on time (bonus points if I haven’t raised my voice and double bonus points if I had time for breakfast), whether I emptied the dishwasher and whether I got the first wash of the day on before I left for the school run. Listen, I know that this is not world changing stuff and I sometimes bore myself with the monotony. However, this is my job and these are targets and goals within my role that determine whether I meet or exceed expectations (I’m pretending I am never ‘needs improvement, but we all know that’s not true!)
Lets support one another
We never know anyone else’s circumstances or the motivators for their life decisions so we shouldn’t judge one another. In a society where women’s value is still often questioned and women often get paid less than their male counterparts, but feel a terrible pressure at work to prove that they can still do it even after children shouldn’t we, as women, be supporting one another?
Did the suffragettes or the feminists of the 70s struggle so that we would all feel pressure to ‘have it all’? I don’t think so. I think they wanted us to have options. They wanted us to be able to be the CEO if we wanted to and not have doors closed simply because of our sex, but I don’t think they wanted us to feel like we had to have paid employment to be of value I don’t think that they wanted SAHM to be called lazy?
I might be shaping the next CEO of superduperindustries.com or helping the next JK Rowling to learn her spellings or just showing 4 littles how to be decent, kind human beings and that has a value too so please – don’t call me lazy.