Google Something Clever 2.0: The Down Side to Staying at Home

Sep 13, 2012

The Down Side to Staying at Home


Recently, I wrote a post called "What I Don't Miss About Working." Not wanting you to think my stay-at-home life was perfect, I promised a follow up, so here it is:

You Can’t Call in Sick

True, I don’t get sick as much, now that I’m not working with idiots who sneeze all the time and refuse to get flu shots because they think they cause colds, and my son is not in day care with 5 kids who think that wiping their nose on your shoulder is the highest compliment they can give, but I still get sick occasionally. When you work, calling out sick means a few people (most of whom you hate) have a marginally tougher day covering for you, and you get to sit around in pajamas drinking juice and watching game shows. When you’re a stay-at-home mom, you can’t really call out. I’ve been recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction this week, which means I’ve been sitting on the couch sighing and eating Snack Packs, trying to explain to my son over and over why I can’t play Kinect Sports with him. Sure, if things get really bad, I have the option of asking my husband to stay home, but it’s not all that relaxing when your “work” is five feet away. Imagine how much rest you’d get if you curled up in your office with a blanket and told all your coworkers to leave you alone for the day because you weren’t feeling well. Yeah.

No Motivation to Look Nice

When I worked, I absolutely never left the house without my makeup and hair done. I would make an effort to wear a nice outfit and everything. I’m of the school of thought that you should look your best when you plan on encountering strangers (since that’s their first impression of you), and when you’re going to be with people you hate (so you can show them that you’re better than them). These days, the only people I see on a regular basis are my husband and son, who are under the mistaken impression that I’m beautiful no matter what, and the staff of Target, Stop & Shop and BJ’s, who I really don’t care about impressing. These people are lucky to see me in a clean shirt and a fresh ponytail. I’ll only get “dolled up” if I’m going to a party, or if I know my picture might be taken. On these rare occasions when I get my pretty on, I barely recognize myself in the mirror. I’m always pleasantly surprised with how nice I clean up, and then I feel like a slob for not putting in more effort all the time.

When it’s Your Job, You Have to be an Expert

Nobody is the perfect parent or housekeeper, and if you’re working, you don’t feel that bad when you slack or fail a little here and there. When parenting and housekeeping is your job, you feel pressure to do it well. When I was working, time spent with my son was all about having fun and playing. But now, I’m not just his mom, I’m his teacher. And teaching, if you haven’t heard, is hard. Especially with a kid like mine, who is really intelligent and picks up new things amazingly fast, yet does not like to learn. As soon as he figures out that you’re trying to cram some education in his head, he’s outta there.

When my husband and I were first married, he did the cooking, because I hate it. After our son was born, our schedules changed, and I got home a couple hours before him every day, so it only made sense for me to start cooking dinner. I had a couple recipes, but usually I just made marinated chicken breasts with Knorr Pasta Sides and heated up a can of vegetables in the microwave. On “lazy days,” I’d make Tuna Helper. He didn’t complain; how could he? I was a busy working mom. But now that it’s my job, I feel compelled to make magazine-worthy recipes. Everything is from scratch, and we haven’t had spaghetti in years. We soon discovered that I have a natural talent for cooking. I’m damn good. But here’s the thing: I still hate it. I know some people see cooking as a hobby or an art form; to me, it’s just a bitch.

I’m Uncomfortable Without Him

On the rare occasions when I go out without my son, I feel all out of sorts, like when you leave your purse of cell phone at home. If I run to the store at night or on the weekend and leave the boy at home with my husband, I’m constantly checking the rearview mirror, because I can’t get used to the idea that my backseat is empty. I can’t spend more than 15 minutes at a grown-up party before I’ve got someone cornered, looking at pictures and videos on my phone. That’s a really weird way to feel, and I think I’ll lose my mind once he goes off to college.

I Miss Those Expensive Sandwiches

I can’t remember the last time I had an eight dollar sandwich. There were quite a few fancy little cafes near my old place of business. Mind you, I didn’t get one every day; just when I was feeling saucy, or forgot to bring in a Lean Cuisine. But man, were they good. Of course, they’re only sandwiches; I could easily make one at home that would be cheaper, and probably even better tasting. But there’s just something about unwrapping the wax paper, and the decadent feeling of overspending on something just for you that will be completely used up in less than half an hour.

All that being said, I would still pick staying at home over working any day. At least my house is warm, there are no assholes here, and my kid knows how to sneeze into his elbow.