My kids hate the phrase “Domestic Goddess,” especially my girls. When I sold Birth Boot Camp, that’s what I stuck on my Facebook profile – and they all cringed! I’ve been writing this blog post in my head for months. Don’t be like my girls (now 22, 20, and 16) who won’t listen to my soapbox. Hear me out and read to the end.
I should preface this post with the fact that I never had a strong desire to have a career. My degree is in broadcasting, but I never went to an 8-5 job. Most of the work I’ve done has been from home and I created my own schedule. My husband has had a 20-year career in corporate accounting and the money I made was mostly my “Tim McGraw Slush Fund.” In addition to front-row concert tickets, I paid for fun things – kid’s activities and lessons, presents, Six Flags passes, and meals out. You get the picture.
This post isn’t just about money, however. I just wanted to be upfront that I never had to work for money, and I recognize that so many women do not have this luxury. One thing I want you to know straight up is that your value does not come from a paycheck or a job title.
That being said, I’m going to plow forward. I’ve thought a lot about who this post is for. Honestly, if you are a stay-at-home-mom or a woman (with or without kids) who works outside the home, none of this will be news to you. You could write this post! I guess this is for the women like my daughters, those that want to have a career and children. My purpose is not to persuade you one way or another. I’m so proud of my daughters. They are all so smart and ambitious. They will do well at whatever they decide to do.
People are aware of a SAHM’s jobs, right?
Laundry (and actually putting it away each week!)
Preparing several meals a day for multiple people
Picking up the house
Cleaning the house (which is different from picking up!)
Christmas shopping for multiple people (and keeping it all fair!)
Well/sick visits to various doctors for yourself and your children
Planning birthday parties
Helping kids with homework
Helping out in the classroom/school activities
Reading to kids
Let’s not forget that moms are never ending chauffeurs
Maintaining your own social life and hobbies
Here’s the thing with this list – it still has to get done even if you work outside the home! I have often thought, how could I possibly have worked a full-time job (or even part-time?) and gotten all of this done? I remember, especially when my kids were young, being exhausted by the end of the day, even as a SAHM. And so often it felt like Groundhog Day. These things will not magically get done!
I cannot imagine if I’d had to get myself ready for work and the kids ready for daycare or school in the mornings. And then on the other end of the workday, getting everyone home, making dinner, homework, doing the nighttime routine, and then doing it all again the next day. Literally, the weekends would consist of laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc. – all the things I didn’t have time to do during the week. I recognize that this is how millions of women and families live their lives.
Let’s talk about spouses for a minute. Some are helpful and some are not. It may be because they have a demanding job with seasons where they are not around much. My husband was an accountant (getting a PhD now to become a professor), but for years, he’d be gone before we woke up and home when everyone was in bed. If your spouse is working, too, it’s so important that the two of you are on the same page when it comes to realistic expectations. Divvy up that list and decide who is doing what. If you are both working outside the home, you both need to be working in the home!
OK, OK, I just read over this, and it sounds like I’m trying to convince you to be a SAHM, but really, I think it’s important to see this job as… well, a job. It’s not just about taking care of kids all day. While that is a huge part of it, you really are a manager. You’ve seen the various titles – Domestic Engineer, Household CEO and Director of Child Development, Household Coordinator, or Director of Operations. I still prefer Domestic Goddess. These titles are real, even though they are said to be funny.
Thanks for sticking with me on this. A few more tidbits and funnies I hope you’ll enjoy:
My husband (again, an accountant by trade) has told our kids that it’s equally important to play defense, not just offense, when it comes to money. It’s not just about the money you bring in but how you manage the money you have. The Domestic Goddess is the primary controller of this situation.
Save, no matter how little you are making. Take, say 10%, out each paycheck and put it away. We were probably better at this when we made very little money!
Budget by doing things such as making meals and avoid eating out or packaged foods. Think ahead (car insurance, etc.), not just about this paycheck.
Let’s be honest, childcare is expensive – and someone else is raising your kids. I know this can come off as sounding judgmental, but it’s not meant to be. If you can make it work, stay home with your kids. I promise they won’t stay small forever. And this is a great way to play defense with your money. (Not to mention all the other household jobs may actually get done so your family can actually have some fun!)
My husband is funny. And he has truly not cared when he comes home to a messy house and dinner not made. If he did care, this next statement wouldn’t be the least bit funny. On the many occasions when he’d come home and I’d have no idea what was going to be for dinner, he’d say funny things like, “This will be reflected in your yearly evaluation.” Or if things were clean and shiny and dinner was on the table, I’d get a funny “This will be reflected in your Christmas bonus.” It always made me laugh which is what he was going for. My very favorite sentiment from my husband, who hasn’t always loved his job: “At least you’re the devil in your own hell.”
Thanks for hanging with me all these years. This is my last planned blog post for Birth Boot Camp. Many of you have been with me since I wrote the blog Banned From Baby Showers from 2008-2018. I’m excited to announce it’ll be released as a book in the spring of 2022. More on that in the months to come. It’s been an amazing career!