Thursday, August 12, 2010

But what do you DO all day?

Through a layoff, I accidentally became a SAHM (that's Stay At Home Mom or Sometimes Aggravated and Horrible Mommy). The transition hasn't been easy, but it is not one I regret. I once saw a T-shirt advertised in a parenting magazine that said simply "I AM at work."

I didn't really appreciate it until I became a SAHM with two small children. We've all heard (or heard others thinking) the question "but...what do you do all day?" when we tell them we're stay at home moms. In an attempt to explain I have provided a cheat sheet for the next time someone asks this question.

Detractors may point out that the percentages add up to more than 100%. This is no accident. And in addition to no pay, there is no vacation or weekend from the job either. But the benefits....ah, they last forever. Just ask any accidental SAHM who's a former corporate achiever. And who has teenagers now.

25% - Picking things up
20% - Putting things away
10% - Pleading with others to pick things up and put them away
10% - Playgrounds, playdates, music class or other activity to prevent children from destroying house
2% - Paperwork (school, doctor, daycare, etc.)
4% - Wipe bottoms, wash hands or otherwise assist in bathroom activities (for other people)
6% - Dressing and undressing other people
4% - Teaching other people to dress and undress
10% - Preparing food
10% - Helping people eat food
10% - Cleaning up after food preparation and consumption
90% - Laundry
15% - Worrying about money
22% - Picking up and dropping off people
2% - Getting gas (for car)
1% - Getting gas (from eating hot dogs and mac & cheese)
6% - Paying bills, clipping coupons, talking to various "service" people on the phone
13% - RSVPing, shopping for, and going to birthday parties
15% - Reading stories
12% - Making up stories
50% - Grocery shopping
45% - Making lists for grocery shopping
4% - Doing things for self (showering, eating, going to the bathroom)
2% - Threatening
3% - Bribing
24% - Answering questions (i.e. Do dinosaurs have birthdays? What color is bear poop? Do fairy tales wear helmets? When a skunk bites you does he say sorry?)
2% - Repairing household things that husband can't or won't
3% - Indulgent online ordering of needless child gear and toys
7% - Justifying to others the fact that you don't work "outside the home"