Thursday, April 1, 2010

So Much Leisure Time (?)

Well, apparently a recently released study indicates that stay-at-home moms have 30+ hours of leisure time each week. Yep. That's what the experts say. That there's no reason to complain about busyness or exhaustion, because really, most of it's leisure time.

This evokes a few dialogue bubbles to pop up from my curly head.

Now, let me toss out this caveat: compared to the lifestyle of my stay-at-home grandmother, my life is pretty darn leisurely. For example, I have a car, a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, and grocery store within a moment's distance. So, it's true: I don't have to do my laundry all by hand, I don't have to pluck the chickens in order to roast one for dinner, and I can head out and about at anytime. In fact, I could be more appropriately referred to as a stay-in-the-van mom.

And to add a second caveat, I recognize that men and women who work fulltime do indeed work fulltime. So it can sound ridiculous for some stay-at-homes to complain about how hard the day is, when a day is also demanding for their office-bound counterparts. It's not like a day at the office is filled with 'leisure time' either.

But if I may, I have thought of a few ways in which the shared work space at home is slightly different than that in the office.

For example, in the office:

You do not finish filing a stack of paperwork, only to have a coworker come into your office and undo everything you've just done.

If things grow quiet, you don't have to grow suspicious. ("Uh-oh, gentlemen, it's getting a little quiet in the conference room... do I need to check on you??")

At a lunch meeting, you don't have to pack a bag of tricks to keep everyone entertained and wipes to clean everyone up.

You don't have to negotiate with your coworkers to "please just take two more bites."

You can rest assured that nobody will intentionally wipe their hands on your shirt or spill their drink in your lap.

If coworkers resort to 'potty language,' it's not because they simply love the sound of the word poopie, over and over and over again.

In most conference meetings, they don't kick each other under the table so you find yourself swatting at their thighs.

When you're on the phone, a coworker doesn't pour out all your paperclips and cry because you won't build a paperclip tower with him. Right now.

When you're typing an email, you don't have a coworker in your lap, tapping the keyboard, while another tugs on your elbow and drags the mouse across your desk.

In general, nobody follows you around, pulling on your pantleg, repeating your name incessantly, and then forgetting what he needs.

If one needs to use the restroom, you don't feel compelled to scoop him up to make sure he gets there fast enough. And you don't have to keep others from joining him, out of fear that they'll pee all over each other.

If you need to use the restroom, nobody asks to sit on the floor beside you while you get the job done.

It's just a different work environment, entirely. (I know. I've done both.)

So, it's not as though the tasks of the day are far beyond manageable; they can most certainly be done. It's the teeny tiny interruptions, the incessant little battles, the unforeseen issues, and the emergencies great and small - these are what make groceries, dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and patience a little tough to maintain.

Having said that, I think I'll enjoy some of my measured 'leisure time' now: the kids are up from their naps.


KarenC said...

THIS ROCKS MY VERY TALENTED (AND VERY CORRECT) FRIEND! We(stay at home moms), I think teeter between guilt and frustration. Guilt because we get the "joy" of being home and spending "quality" time with our children (or at least that was the plan when we quit our jobs)and feeling like we're somehow shirking our more global reponsibility (9 to 5), and anger at the fact few people seem to understand or appreciate the physical, emotional, and mental stuggles that entails. The same people, I'm sure, who would NEVER make the same choice (because they couldn't handle it, I'm sure). Interesting...

The Hutfilz Family said...

Tricia - I once again laughed out loud! This is so true. Maybe the 30 hours are the hours you spend sleeping?!?