Finally, it’s official. Being a stay-at-home parent is the most stressful job imaginable! Well, at least, it is according to a recent study undertaken in the UK. Not that I’m surprised – I could have told them that without the need for a lengthy study on the matter!
Having worked in an office environment before my kids, then as a working mother and most recently, changed to my new role as a Stay At Home Mum, I think I am fairly well qualified to have my say on this matter. On balance, I really do have to agree. This in one tough job!
In the pressurised, corporate roles I worked in before my current life of domestic bliss (did I say bliss, sorry, I meant to say utter chaos), I have of course, felt stressed on many occasions; presenting to the senior management, chasing deadlines, and making tough decisions. Ultimately though, I enjoyed my corporate life and made some fantastic friends along the way.
Having also struggled my way through the glass ceiling as a working mother, I know what it’s like to experience the split personality required to balance corporate and family life; switching from high profile meetings one minute to singing nursery rhymes and making animal noises the next.
But, in my experience, it is the relentless demands, pressure, chaos and all encompassing role of that as a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) which I have found the most stressful. I feel like my work is never, ever done. The ‘To Do’ list is a bottomless pit of things to arrange, buy, cook, clean, organise, tidy, fetch from and return to rightful places. I fall into bed utterly exhausted at the end of another busy day.
Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of being a SAHM is the lack of adult company. There is no-one to bounce ideas off, no-one to have a good moan to over a cup of coffee, no-one to help you put things into perspective over lunch to help you face the afternoon with renewed energy and vigour. You simply have to get on with it, regardless.
And you can forget about trying to sit down for a coffee break, lunch break or to make a phone call. All are pretty much impossible with the children always on high alert to the fact that you are trying to have some ‘me time’, or simply trying to organize their place at school, or re-schedule a meeting with the bank manager. Within seconds they appear from out of nowhere, instantly demanding your attention!
But of course, for every yin there is a yang, and being a Stay At Home Mum, whilst being incredibly stressful, is also fabulously rewarding.
What do you think? Is this the most stressful job there is, or do you think SAHMs are extremely lucky to have this time with their children?