Patience, drive, and lots of wine! That’s what it takes to be a stay-at-home working mom. If you’re like me, you probably drop the F-bomb more than a couple times a day and need at least two drinks before you go to bed. And you often hear people say “It’s so nice you don’t have to worry about daycare!” and “Isn’t it great that you get to stay home with your kids all day and watch them grow?”
YES! It is great! It’s amazing that I don’t have to pay for daycare. But I also have to wonder why my two-year-old is standing in front of me naked because she decided it was time for a bath without consulting me first. Or why toilet paper is covering my bathroom because I got tied up with a project. It’s 5 p.m. already? I totally forgot about lunch!
I chose social media. Not only social media, but social media for automotive dealerships across the country – one of the biggest male-dominated industries in America. Through my career choice, I am teaching my girls to be bulldogs, no matter what life puts in front of them. Sometimes, that means long hours for me and a shortage of attention for them. But it can also mean I get more time with them, a flexible schedule, and the ability to watch my baby take her first steps. I don’t have to book time off work for doctor appointments.
I might be privileged to be a stay-at-home mom who earns an income, but don’t think for one second that it’s easy. I don’t get to pick up and leave whenever I want. I have deadlines. I have to make sure my company’s constantly moving parts are well oiled. It’s been a few years now, and I still have a hard time keeping up with my three girls and a full-time job. But it’s totally rewarding. My oldest daughter always tells me she hopes she can do what I do when she’s older. That alone makes it worth it. As I work, she asks, “What are you working on now, Momma?” When I tell her, she acts like she understands, then continues with her day.
I’ll never let you get away with telling me that I’m only a stay-at-home mom or that I’m not being a great mother because I’m behind a screen all day. I am so much more – and so is every momma on my team. Every day, we show our kids that it’s possible to make a career of anything, as long as you love what you do.
And believe me, I do. I LOVE the career I’ve chosen. My kids see that. They see my work ethic, and my ability to overcome anything, all while being a stay-at-home working mom. They see all of that much more than they see me behind a screen. Choosing this path for my family has allowed me to continue to be employed after a month-long stay in the NICU after the birth of my third child, lots of medical attention for my oldest two girls, including a cancer scare for which we had to travel five hours for a hospital stay. I didn’t have to “call in” or lose pay because of that. I can work from wherever I am, anytime. I can do anything I need to do on my phone or my laptop, and the flexibility that allows is massively rewarding in itself.
Let me tell you though, my house is not always clean. I end almost every night with at least one drink. I have to set reminders every hour to help me remember what needs to be done. Thankfully, what we call a “brain dump” helps me keep my day and tasks organized. Despite all of the “Don’t eat that!” and “Get back here!” and almost-forgotten, last-minute homework and school projects, we make it through.
So, to those who doubt me, to the nay-sayers who think social media isn’t a real job, to those who say you can’t work from home and still be a hard worker, I say this: just work one day in our shoes. By all means, I will go out kid-less and leave you with all the stuff you need to do our job. There’s a meeting at 9 AM, so keep those kids quiet while it’s happening so you can pay attention. I’ll lay the kids’ clothes out on the couch for you so you can get them ready for the day. Don’t forget to load those kids up on your 30-minute break and run to grab groceries real quick. Don’t forget to feed them lunch and learn how to speak two-year-old through the endless tantrums!
Make sure the baby gets tummy time, the laundry gets washed, and the dishes get done. Don’t forget to help the two-year-old go potty in the potty! She screams the entire time because she hates it, but she has to potty train someday. Oh, and take the dogs out every two hours. We can’t have accidents in the house. The oldest gets off the bus at 3 p.m. Dinner needs to be done by 6:30 p.m., and all the kids need a bath. The husband comes home at 7 and doesn’t want to come home to a mess. Oh yeah! We got new clients today, too! Make sure you get everything ready to go for the team! A girl quit today, so you’ll need to replace her STAT! Get her trained and make sure we’re hitting our quota for the month.
Are you up for the challenge? Your job isn’t harder than mine because you have to leave the house to do it. However, it may be less rewarding. I wouldn’t trade this crazy, chaotic life of mine for anything in the world. I get to work with the most amazing team of women, watch my kids grow up and reach milestones, and I learn a ton every single day. Plus, getting to work in my pajamas is a huge plus. Some days, I’m not sure I remember what real clothes are. So no, my job is far from easy – but the rewards I get from it are almost as good as that nice long drink I make myself at the end of every day.
Author: Jessica Burkhart