Dear Stay-at-home mom,
I am sorry. Before I became a mom, I thought you had an easy job. I thought you had a lot of time to relax while the kids were napping. Oprah once said, "Being a mom is the hardest job in the world," and I rolled my eyes. "Really? Millions of women have the hardest job in the world?" Yes. They do, I found out when I became a mother myself. I was on maternity leave for a few months, and then I returned to work, and I can honestly say that being at home with a baby was harder than being a working mom. Make no mistake, my job is hard. I'm a trial lawyer. It is stressful and I'm constantly inundated with demands and deadlines. But your job is harder. There are long stretches of time where I get to sit down with my research, alone, in an office, with the door closed. You don't have that. During this time I also get to drink hot coffee or tea, and eat a meal while sitting down. You don't have that. When I'm done sitting at my desk, I go talk to a coworker of adult age, and we talk about politics, current events, and other intellectual topics. You don't have that. At times, I win a case and I'm rewarded professionally and financially. My reputation and my self-esteem gets a boost. You don't have that. Instead, what you have is an endless cycle of diapers, feedings, sitting on the floor doing puzzles, breaking up fights, bathing, laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, reading the same books a million times, going to the same playgrounds, tantrums, and more incessant demands. The kids nap, sure, but only because you worked really hard to get them to nap. During those brief nap times, I know you are doing a bunch of chores. I know you probably get more cuddles than I do. I know you are there for every memory. I know you don't have to rush breastmilk home, or get on the computer late at night to finish work. But these perks come at a heavy, heavy price. Many hours of relentless, monotonous, and repetitive work, many hours of scrubbing soiled pans and soiled pants, many hours of having simple conversations, disciplining, educating, chauffeuring, and comforting. And you don't get a good performance evaluation or an end-of-the-year bonus for all of your hard work. On behalf of all the children of stay-at-home mothers, thank you. Your work matters. Your work is not lesser than my work. And you should be damn proud of yourself, mama.