Not so long ago an old childhood friend visited us. It was the first time in more than 10 years since we last saw each other. We were good friends back then. She has a very kind heart and I adore her for that.
It was sort of fun to catch up and see how we've evolved and changed. She's a single mom to an almost 10-year-old (she got pregnant back in high school and the deadbeat dad didn't stick around). Despite that, with her mom's help in caring for her child, she managed to finish her degree and has a pretty good paying job.
It was also awkward and got downright uncomfortable toward the end of the morning. Sometimes people drift apart because of personality differences, or distance, or other circumstances, or simply over time. I don't know which one applies to us, probably all of the above, but our relationship have definitely drifted from where it was before.
She works outside the home. She's single. She goes bar hopping. She parties. She exercises. She wears make-up and have highlights in her totally black hair and wears high heels. She still live in the same town and drops her kid off at her mom's for the entire weekend. Every. Single. Weekend. She's still a kind hearted person and I think her core values have not changed at all, but she and I have nothing much in common. It's hard to bond and connect when you don't have much in common with someone. It's kind of sad realizing we'll never be close again.
During our get-together, she said not only once but several times, of how easy I have it because I'm staying at home with the children and don't have to work [outside of the house]. I truly resent that statement. Anyone who's ever stayed home full time with a 9-month and a 34-month old knows that life isn't easy. And anyone who lives far far away from either side of the family (meaning, without any help from families) knows that it's pretty damn hard taking care of children by all your lonesome self and hubby.
Does she think I sit on the couch watching TV and eat bon bons all day long while the children are feeding and playing all by themselves? While we're at it, why, I have children who know how to change their own diapers and who clean after themselves too. How about while the laundry and floor and dishes all magically gets cleaned by the Chore Fairy? And meals appear on demand with the Replicator from Star Trek? Yeap. Sounds like my Stay-At-Home (SAH) Life to me. That's what I do. And yes, both of my little darlings sleep through the night for 12 hours straight without a peep.
OK that sleep part is not true.
But all the other ones are (and if you believe that, you're NOT paying attention).
Seriously. WHY in the world would she say to me, repeatedly, that staying at home is EASY compared to her desk job? And what does she know about taking care of children? She goes to work for a big chunk of the day, and drops the kid off every single weekend at her moms. Let's not forget her child is nearly 10 years old — much more independent than my two. As if that's not enough, she kept on insisting that my SAH Life is easier than her Career Life, even after I point out the facts to her and after I remind her that we have NO family nearby for babysittings.
And she isn't the first one to say this to me. It's just she's the first one to tell me face to face. Over and over and over. In the end, I gave up and stopped arguing. After all, most people, myself included aren't always fully capable of appreciating something unless they have walked in the same shoes.
Incidentally, I used to think staying at home taking care of children was easy. I didn't even think of it as a "job". A job is where you get all dressed and ready and drive somewhere. A job is where you actually get paid to do things. I used to think like that. Now I know better. Now I know when you have no help from families and you don't hire babysitters and you're doing it 24/7, Every Single Day, it's downright hard. It's like I have 4 full time jobs: Mommy x 2, Wife, Maid. Not only do I not get paid for any of it, I don't get to take breaks whenever I want / need to.
Really thankless jobs. However, I get paid in hugs, slobbery kisses and paint-stained clothes. I think I will manage just fine. Just don't tell me how easy it is [compared to your "Working Life"].