You don’t do much all day, do you?


This post was first published on’s Unblogged. I’m sharing it here in my blog for my Wifely Steps family. This is for all the work-at-home and stay-at-home Moms who feel they’re misunderstood. Cheers!

We were having a quiet lunch and I was complaining to my friend how I didn’t have time for myself anymore. She looked at me square in the face and asked, “But aren’t you a stay-at-home mother?” I nodded, raising my own fork instinctively as she put hers down. “Then you must have at least some time for yourself,” she insisted. “After all, you don’t do much all day, do you?”

It took every amount of energy I had not to hurl my fork across the table. I calmed myself down thinking silently to myself that no, she didn’t understand because she’s not a mother. No, she didn’t understand because she doesn’t run around all day chasing a toddler. Her words stung. There I was relishing what little time off I had from Toddlerville when that question was, well, innocently, thrown at me. I realize now that her question was borne out of curiosity more than sarcasm, but at that very moment my fork could have made quite the weapon.

The corporate world was my life for twelve years. When motherhood came my way, I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mother, especially during my son’s first years. It’s been six months since I’ve resigned, but every day I am challenged in a totally different yet still dynamic setup. I tell you: Nothing compares to the challenges a stay-at-home mom faces every single day, every single hour. It’s just as (if not more) dynamic, tedious and tiring, only you can wear pajamas and go barefoot all day.

“I take care of the baby,” I replied in a tentative tone. How else could I answer the question? Do I tell my friend a typical day in the life of this mother? Waking up when the baby does. Playing in bed before we go down for breakfast. Preparing breakfast. Having breakfast. (Have you tried feeding what could be the world’s pickiest eater? If that doesn’t drain your energy, I don’t know what will.) Cleaning up after breakfast. Washing poop. (Have you tried washing the cute butt of what could be the world’s wriggliest baby?) Cleaning up. Bathing baby. (I repeat: Wriggliest) Nursing baby. Teaching baby with building blocks, crayons, cars, crumpled paper, empty tin cans and old socks. Chasing baby around the house (repeat at least ten times throughout the day). Wiping away drool. Wiping away sweat. Fixing the laundry while he stays still for ten minutes watching a DVD. Picking up the toys he throws on the floor so he doesn’t slip on them while running around the house. I haven’t even gotten started on what happens right before lunchtime.


If a stay-at-home mom of one experiences this crazy scenario everyday, what more a mother of two? Three? What more a mother of preschool children, of tweens and teens? What more a mother of all of the above? I don’t want to imagine what their reactions would be when they are thrown the question, “You’re a stay-at-home mother? Then you don’t do much all day, do you?” Let me clear the table of all cutlery before World War Fork begins.

I looked at my friend and repeated, “I take care of the baby.” This time I said it without any trace of apprehension. It filled my heart just saying it again. The day is all about the baby. The days are all about the baby. I’m a stay-at-home mother and proud of it. The few moments I have to myself come when midnight strikes. Call me Cinderella. Midnight is when I begin writing freelance or getting into the shower. The little one consumes majority of 24 hours and I am immensely happy about it. True, I am crazy tired, but it is what it is. We stay-at-home moms are quite the misunderstood lot, aren’t we?

You don’t do much all day, do you? Maybe I should ask my friend to come join me for a day in Toddlerville. For lunch we’ll eat with our hands the way the toddler does. I don’t trust myself with forks just yet.

12 Comments on You don’t do much all day, do you?

  1. Melissa Hicks
    June 17, 2011 at 2:15 am (13 years ago)

    All I have to say is that I admire your restraint. I know that I used to define myself through my work. It was what I did; my success at work was my success. The time I’ve spent at home as a mom and as a student have been hard, because I’ve found even I have to struggle not to see it as “of less value.” You work damn hard, and I know it. I think your friend might need a good day babysitting.

  2. Nenette
    June 17, 2011 at 9:42 am (13 years ago)

    When my firstborn was 5 months old, my mother spent the whole day with us for the first time (before that, she’d come over for just an hour or two). By lunch time, she was stunned when she looked at the clock and realized how much time had passed and all we did was take care of Lam!
    You see, after I was born, my aunts and grandmother took care of me while my mother recovered from the C-section, and as soon as she was able, she went back to work. In other words, she had no clue what goes into taking care of a baby and being a stay-at-home mom. Her enlightenment was so cathartic to me!

    You handled that well. So much better than I would’ve, my dear! Your friend will understand, on day.

  3. mariqia
    June 17, 2011 at 9:54 am (13 years ago)

    I feel ya Toni, though I haven’t held my baby yet, I do have an idea what to expect.
    I know your friend won’t understand it because she doesn’t have any idea about baby sitting and the intricacies that come with it..

  4. Joan
    June 17, 2011 at 10:58 am (13 years ago)

    i found you in nuffnang featured blogger ate.. Im officially a fan of yours now.. :)) i love the homeey feel of it.. Keep blogging!

  5. Agatha Yamada
    June 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm (13 years ago)

    being a first time, stay-at-home mom to a nine-month old bundle of joy, may I just say, hell might as well shout, a big “AMEN”!. One could just never fully understand it unless she’s one of us… enough said. :)

  6. MieVee @
    June 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm (13 years ago)

    How strange indeed — we SAHMs don’t “seem” to do much yet has little or no me-time. For the past 2 years, i’ve only gone out for 2 dinners without bringing son along. And I haven’t visited the hair salon for 17 months! There’s always so much to do and me-time is a plain luxury. However, being there to guide my boy through his early years is the best “career” choice I’ve made. All the best!

  7. Lissa
    June 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm (13 years ago)

    I think your friend had some nerve saying that to you. Even if she thought that, she shouldn’t have said it out loud. I honestly think that working moms (those that actually come in to work) have it a little easier than SAHM or WAHM’s. Whenever I’m alone all day with Connor, I’m ready to strangle him by lunch time. hahaha… I don’t know how his sitter does it.

    I’m really happy that you’re able to do what you want: stay at home and be with your son and work at the same time. It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.

  8. Kay
    June 18, 2011 at 10:58 pm (13 years ago)

    Ever heard someone say “I wanna have a baby even if I raise it alone. It should be easy.”

    That makes my blood boil. The things people don’t understand is amazing.

  9. aloi (guiltlessreading)
    June 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm (13 years ago)

    saludo ako sa yo toni, at sa lahat ng stay-at-home moms. seriously, working from home with a toddler is the ultimate test for anyone. i’m glad that fork didn’t make it’s way anywhere iffy (except your mouth), and just think and believe that no matter how people perceive you … who cares. you have made the best decision for yourself and your family.

  10. m
    July 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm (13 years ago)

    I would have stabbed her with the fork ;p Hehehe

    Actually, Lissa, no, working mothers don’t have it easier. Whether working outside or staying at home, the pressure and hardship is the same.

  11. kino
    September 30, 2011 at 12:58 am (13 years ago)

    I agree with all the responses. sabi nga nila walang pahinga walang time-out ang pagiging ina, minsan lang silang bata let’s cherish the moment when they are still young. No amount of money can replace when you see your kid smiling and laughing because they are happy you’re there with them.


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