Friday, June 6, 2014

Not a real job....or is it?

I was asked if I was ever going to get a "real job" instead of being a stay at home mom.  I replied, "I do work and have several jobs, in fact, many weeks what I do totals above and beyond your typical 40 hour a week job".  This person told me that what I did was not "real work", because most of it I do from  home or if not at home, because it is only part time.  (Some weeks I have actually worked over 100 hours, simply because I have two families whose children I have for 24 or 48 hours straight as their parents work 24 hour shifts.  That often gives me more than a normal week of 40 hours worth of hours, just in 2 days times.  Then, I may still go and work another 2 or 3 days at the speedway, which is usually 12-16 hour shifts.) 

Humm.........I wish the IRS thought so, because I sure pay taxes on it.  If everyone felt that the jobs I do are "not real", we would have no landlords or property management people, no daycare, preschools,  or babysitters, no CPR or first aid instructors, no first aid tents at events, no copy editing/proofreading/writing, and no fire rescue people at sporting events.  In fact, a lot of jobs could be lumped into that field, because probably somewhere is somebody who does something from home to the extent that almost all occupations could fall under this.  I even know of a dentist whose office is at his home in a converted garage. 

Evidently, to some people, a "real job" means you must leave your home to work for someone else.  

This same person then told me they thought that Pizza Hut was hiring (minimum wage) and perhaps I could quit my part time at home jobs to work there.  In doing the math, I would not only incur the cost of fuel to and from work and uniforms, but would actually earn only half of what I earn now in the average week.

Working at home has huge advantages, as you can still keep an eye on your kids and their activities, not have to worry how to get to work on days with bad weather,  not having to purchase work clothes, or call in sick, and get some small household chores done in between breaks. 

It also sometimes has its disadvantages, as having to stay on task to meet an editing or writing deadline when you know the laundry needs to be hung up on the line, or keeping people out of the office and quiet when you are trying to work.  And the biggie, people who think they can just drop in whenever and then get mad because you are on the phone or computer and can't just leave and do whatever, whenever said person wants you to.

This person said if my job was real, then why do I usually state I am a stay at home mom.  Well, I am AT HOME.  Being at home doesn't mean that you are not contributing to your families income. There are lots of stay at home moms who add to their income, through Avon, Mary Kay, having a beauty shop in the basement, child care, giving music lessons.  And, to me, being a mom is the #1 most important job there is, next to being a dad.

In fact, being a stay at home mom also saves the family money. I am here to do what a lot of dual working families hire to have done.  We have no nanny, no lawn service, no weekly housekeeper, I pay no one to transport my kids to and from events because I am at work.  I have the time to cook and bake from scratch, instead of having to stop and get fast food on the way home from work.  I do our laundry instead of taking it to a dry cleaner.  I have time to save on our grocery bill by planting a garden.  From that garden I freeze, dehydrate and can over half of our food.  I have time to coupon and shop sales and feed our family (5 remaining at home) on $200 a month (month, not week as the average family does).  That alone takes me around 4 hours a week to plan my shopping/sales trips.  I have time to do my own mending and some sewing (when my girls were younger, I made all their clothing, except for their Christian School uniforms).

When I worked full time, I had to pay for a sitter, pay to have my lawn mowed, pay for dry cleaning and we ate out at least 3-4 times a week, because by the time I got home from work at 6 p.m., I was tired.   I thought I would get all my chores done on a day off, only to be given mandatory overtime (Sprint was famous for that), which is very painful when you are a single mom.

Having said all the above, the person then argued my children were old enough that I could leave them.  Yes, I could.  After all, the youngest 2 are now in high school.  But, often that is when they need you most.  This is the age where they can have a friend come pick them up and be gone to who knows where with who knows who.  I am here, I know where they are and I know who they are with, and I know the other parents.  This is the age of teen pregnancies, teens drinking and smoking and experimenting with drugs.  

Years ago I worked at a crisis center, and for a few months was a volunteer interim director.  One thing we asked women "in trouble", (trouble could be anything from drinking to pregnancy, or they had been kicked out of the house or abused), was how did they get into this situation.  Over and over the answer from many women, especially the younger ones, was that the behavior that got them in this situation started or usually occurred at their own home, while their parents were at work.  "Well, I got into the liquor cabinet while dad wasn't home, or my boyfriend would come over every day for an hour before school as soon as my parents left for work, or I took the drugs out of my moms medicine cabinet."  Basically, because your child is a teen, does NOT mean you are not responsible for them, or need to stop watching them.  Often, you need to watch them more, but for different things and different reasons.  Teens are easily persuaded by their peers, fashions, and other adults, and often not in the best way.

Work at home moms (and sometimes dads), are not to be looked down at, thought of as lazy bums, or to be criticized.  They are both a parent and often more than a full time employee.  They are also usually the first to be asked to help with various volunteer activities that parents who work full time "for the man" can't do.

Next time you visit with a stay at home parent, pay attention to what all they do.  Often there is a lot to be learned from them-such as organizational skills, budgeting skills,  and other lessons.


Anonymous said...

I very much agree with this. My mother in law nags me weekly because I am now a stay at home mother and care for the children of our neighbor across the street and next door. She does not understand why I gave up a job of $500 a week. I now have no gas, no car payment (we gave up my car-if I need it I take my husband to work). I cook and bake an this year we are doing a garden. We are close enough that during the day we can walk to the park and library, and I have lost 40 lbs from walking, which lowered our health insurance bill. I mow our yard now, instead of us having a service who charged $50 a week. I earn around $200 a week, and with no car payment, or insurance on my car, fuel, dry cleaner, or eating out, we are doing just fine. In fact, some months we actually have more at months end then we did when I did work full time out of the home. Also, I have learned to sew and during nap time am taking a Spanish class to learn a new language to assist when I do go back to work. If I was still working, after paying for the daycare that takes infants at $200 a week, I would be paying taxes on $500, and clearing after daycare $300, minus carpayment, insurance, gas, dry cleaning (was required to dress in a suit each day). But, each week she calls and tells me what a horrible wife I am for leaving her son to foot all the bills on his own.

Mary Ann Cain said...

After a move across the state, I stayed home for 6 months to paint and unpack and job hunt. I worked 12 hours a day painting, cleaning, and cleaning up the neglected farm we moved to (it had been empty several years when we bought it and needed a lot of tlc). I faced the same rude comments from people. Isn't it odd though, that our grandparents generation was the other way around. In their time, the mom was expected to be home and was the oddity if she worked outside the home. Now, you are the oddity if you work at home or put your family first. I also agree teens need a stay at home parent now more than ever. We have had several in our rural county commit suicide, get pregnant, run away from home, get involved in drugs and even some teens breaking into homes and stealing cars. I wonder if they had a parent who was home to keep tabs on them, if that could have been avoided to a degree. Yes I know working parents can also check on their children, but with todays cell phones and call forwarding on phones, they could be anywhere when you call them to check on them. And, with the internet that is another can of worms. I have been searching for jobs that I can do from home. So far, I have found a company that makes hospital gowns and employees at homeworkers who have sewing skills to make them. I will be starting that job later this year, after I use up my paid vacations from my current job (its a use it or lose it deal).

Anonymous said...

I agree. If I could do it all over again, I would either homeschool my kids or take a job in their school building to keep better tabs on them. We trusted our children too much and within 3 months found out we were going to be grandparents x2 from our 15 and 16 year old daughters. It was a bad situation. Our family is still healing from it 12 years later. Both daughters managed to finish highschool and one has finished college. Both are now married, but the hurt from the arguments, and missed activities of growing up will always be there. At that time, My husband and I both worked evenings-I was 3-11 and he worked 12-12. Later we found out others knew our kids were running amuck while we were at work, but no one bothered to tell us, they didn't want to get involved. I wonder if they had told us though, if we would have listened to them? Hindsight.....makes you wonder.