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A Work from Home Mom in a Sea of SAHMS

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Can a working mom survive surrounded by SAHMS?

Two women talking

Once upon a time, my butt was on the 6:43 AM Express train to Manhattan five days a week. While the early morning hours were tough, I liked my job and got home at a reasonable hour so the benefits kind of made up for the lack of sleep. But -- living in a town of mostly stay at home moms -- I was without a doubt, the odd mom out.

I always thought about those stay-at-home moms while reading my morning paper on the train or toiling away at my desk. What did they do after they dropped the kids off from school? How did they fill their day? How much tennis can one person play? I thought that there was no way I could ever trade in my busy and fulfilling life as a working mom for the more mundane stay at home variety. Or so I thought.

Today, my work situation has changed and I'm fortunate to work from home a few days a week. Besides being able to sleep in (well, if you call getting up at 6 AM sleeping in), I get to see my kids more -- they're happier, I'm happier -- everyone's happier. Now since I'm around more, I've also gotten to spend more time with those stay-at-home moms that I always wondered about. Watching the daily habits of these women has been like my very own episode of National Geographic.

It has not been easy explaining time and time again how even though, YES, I am home a lot these days -- NO, I don't have time to go for coffee, meet at the mall or even to go take that yoga class everyone is raving about. There is still a big cultural divide here -- I'm a work-from-home mom in a sea of stay-at-home moms.

But something else has happened these past few months of working from home, something I never expected. The more time I've had to watch these stay-at-home moms in action, the more I see I may have been wrong about them -- some of them, anyway. These women are not spending their days in frivolous pursuit of the perfect yoga butt. They're not spending hours obsessively grooming themselves. Not only that, not one of them IS bored or boring either. These women are working, just like me. In fact, maybe even more than me.

Here's the thing: I have an office and bosses to be accountable to. A paycheck is a great motivator to get your work done. But many of the SAHMS I have gotten to know have taken their pre-baby career skills and figured out ways to apply them towards fundraising, charity work and school enrichment programs. On the rare times I do have time to sit and chat, the conversations tend to me about more about finding ways to exercise their minds than just the latest exercise class. I have to admit, I underestimated many of these moms. I always assumed women who ditched their careers lost their identities in the process. It seems that's not the case at all.

Now don't get me wrong -- there are still a few of those frivolous women around, the ones who spend their entire days in salons or shopping. Those are the one I don't care for and can't be bothered with. But I have to tell you, the next time one of my new SAHM friends asks me to go for coffee, I may just find a way to work it into my schedule. I'm still the odd mom out, but the other moms don't seem so odd to me anymore.


next: I Get to Be a Mom for One Week Each Year
7 comments so far | Post a comment now

Well, to be quiet honest, I was sick of going to office day in day out. I was so sick of corporate politics, back stabbing and above all, I felt that my kids are missing me. So I decided to leave a corporate job, or rather a cushy life to look after my kids and make them good citizens. To cut a long story short, I have been lucky to find a US party who was willing to give me a try and ever since I never looked back. Currently I serve 20 US, Canadian, French clients and whenever I have more work, I get the help of similar young mothers who are professionally qualified to do my work. My latest addition was a disable girl from the age of nine. My next aim is to add disabled solders from the war front.

We need to add value to the lives of these people.

Thanks.

shell December 28, 2008, 2:29 PM

i’m SAHM who loves it all and does it all :o) come over for coffee one day…

Anonymous December 29, 2008, 12:21 AM

Quit bragging

Chelle December 29, 2008, 11:03 PM

Great article! Thanks!

Allison January 1, 2009, 9:23 AM

I’ve thought about working at home, but my toddler is so high energy there is no way I could do it, even when she was younger, I was spending half the day breastfeeding her. Maybe when I am done having kids and they are at school half of the day or for the full day I will try to work from home, but I don’t want them to be latchkey kids, I was, and I hated it.

Genesis January 9, 2009, 12:40 AM

Interesting article. I`ve faced the same issues to an extent and unfortunately, I know too many of the frivolous moms. None of the moms I know, working or SAHMs, understand what I`m doing working at home. :) It`s a little frustrating at times, I have to admit.

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