Monday, December 5, 2011


Over Thanksgiving, my brother was telling me about one of his friends. She has a six month old at home. "She works full time, she has a baby, and she's disappointed with herself that she is down to only two book clubs. I don't know how she does it."

Almost without thinking, I responded, "Really good childcare."

My brother looked at me like I'd slapped Santa. My husband started laughing. My mom said "Yup." All at the same time.

It wasn't a judgment. I didn't mean to be critical. In fact, I think it's a perfectly valid choice, and it sounds to me like she's doing great. But the truth is, in this life there are tradeoffs. We can't be in more than one place at the same time. We can't do everything in a single day. We all only have the same 24 hours.

Sometimes, if we have extra money, we can buy a little more time. But unless you are a Rockefeller, that money costs time too.

I forget all this sometimes. I think that because I am a SAHM, I should have time to do everything. If a working mom can do a full time job and still have a clean
house, a healthy child, and even a hobby, doesn't that mean I'm failing somehow?

No. Because she isn't doing it all herself any more than I am. She just does different parts of what I do.

There are so many things that I would like to do, but in this life, there are always tradeoffs. If we're lucky, and I am, we mostly get to choose them. That doesn't, however, stop what we're missing from stinging a little.


  1. You make a great point. And it doesn't just apply to moms. None of us can do everything we'd like to. We have to make some tough choices sometimes.

  2. The first time I was off on maternity leave I figured I would be able to cook dinner, keep the house clean and all those sorts of things. Yeah, Brad cooked pretty much every night. Being home with the kiddos is hard work, so don't you ever think that you are failing just because the house is not perfect.

  3. Well said. I definitely make trade offs, and I've definitely gotten better at making it "look" like I have it together. It's not that I try to do that last part on purpose, it just happened. I hate the whole SAHM vs WOHM thing. We are all just doing our best to provide for the people we love.

  4. My friend has two kids and works full time. She just got a big promotion and raise. I'm happy for her but it made me think maybe I should be working now. Who is going to want to hire me after taking years off to raise my baby (hopefully babies)? Your point about tradeoffs made me think more about this and the tradeoffs I'd have to make in order to work. I would miss snuggling for his naps, him crawling all over me, watching him explore every day. We all give up something and right now I just have to keep reminding myself I can work anytime but I'll never get this time back with my baby.

  5. Yup. If I had a housekeeper, I'd be trading her pay for more time. But then I'd be trading that extra money that I could use for our house. We often forget that people make tradeoffs. Sure, she's down to "only" 2 book clubs, but I have to ask, what else is she doing? How much time does she spend with her child??

  6. You are not failing at all. It is all about tradeoffs. I spend the majority of my evenings and weekends with my girls because I work outside the home. My hobbies or me time is very limited, and that is the tradeoff that I make.