I read a funny article yesterday from an irritated single person who thought her mother friend was just pretending to be busy so she didnt have to talk to her. Because she cooked and cleaned and worked and still had time for her friends and surley doing that was no different to being a stay at home mum. So let me clear this up.
Yes, those things dont take alot of time, cleaning and cooking etc. Its not that which saps mum. Its the child in the equation. I think that single people assume you just feed a child, then put it down for a nap and vola you have 2 hrs free. Yeah no. The act of feeding can take an hour or more than you have to clean the child, the floor and possibly walls. Nap time comes and rather than just laying little Jimmy down and walking away you actually have to get said child to sleep. This can take 20mins, or 2hrs. then that magical 2hr nap in which your single friend wants you to call her so that you can chat, its more like 20mins and in that time you have to get ready for the child to get back up and organise more food and some sort of activity not to mention it may be the only time in the day that there is quiet in the house and you really dont want to spend it with someone else yapping in your ear because you havent showered in 2days and this may be your only chance.
Even when the child is awake its not like a dog where they will just amuse themselves. You cant just put them down and go do your own thing for a few hours. You have to not only watch them incase they swallow something, touch something or fall off something but i guarantee that they wont sit quietly and play. No, they will want you to play with them, you need to actually provide amusement in the form of talking teddies, counting, painting, and these activities will need to change every 5mins when the child gets bored of them. And all of this doesnt end at night like when you get home from work, most children will not sleep through the night so expect to be up every few hours attending to the child for 30mins or 2hrs at a time. Then somewhere in all of this you need to feed yourself which if you dont want to be the size of a house will involve cooking which will take twice as long because one hand is holding a screaming baby/ a toddler is clinging to your leg demanding attention. Then there is the pile of laundry which will never go down because children dont just get dressed in the morning then thats it for the day. They will get food, paint, vomit, poo and wee all over themselves which needs 3-4 changes in a day which means at least a full load of laundry each day that needs to be washed, dried, folded and put away with one hand because of said baby which screams if you put them down. Then there are the nappy changes. These will happen 10 times a day for a newborn and about 7 times for smaller children. Each change takes about 5-10mins depending on what went into the nappy and how willing the child is to lay still. At some point during all of this you will need to do grocery shopping with one hand, because of said baby/toddler as well as any other errands you need to do which will all take twice as long because you have to pack a nappy bag and get the child in and out of their seat and get the pram out of the boot with one hand then arrange the child and nappy bag and your handbag then realise that they need a nappy change and 30mins into your trip they need feeding again.
Compare this to you working all day, getting home and spending 20mins cooking then eating dinner and another 10mins washing up then maybe twice a week chucking on a load of laundry before going to bed at 10pm and having a nice 8hr sleep before you get up for the gym in the morning. Not really comparing is it?
Now, you still think stay at home mums do nothing all day??