I shrug off my blog writing when it comes up in conversation. I use air quotes when I say I have to do “work” and I’m referring to something that needs to get done for a post. I shy away from even telling people I have a blog because I see them desperately trying to hold back an eye roll when I do. Yet, I spend a lot of time writing, reading, thinking of new ideas, making videos – and for what? There’s no paycheck (as my husband is quick to point out!) and yes I’ve gotten a lot of free things – from workout gear to deodorant – but why am I so uncomfortable talking about how much work I put into it? Would I do the same if I was making money from it?
I’m also a SAHM (stay at home mom). I could start ranting about how it’s the hardest job in the world and there’s not enough money in the universe to pay me what I deserve for all that I do but, we’ve all heard that one before. Is being a SAHM held in any kind of high regard? I think not. Most of the time it’s the “wow, you don’t have to go to work all day?” variety and some think it’s a cakewalk or at least better then a full-time job. Is it rewarding? Absolutely. Am I glad I can be with my kids all.day.long? Sometimes. How about those working moms? I used to be one. Ever heard of mom guilt? I assure you they have.
I also have a paying job teaching fitness classes three times a week. I use the word “paying” very lightly since I get an average of $22 per class. That’s right. Twenty-two dollars buys me a quarter tank of gas so, I’m not in it for the money. And, if I’m not there because the pay is so good, why do I consider that work and writing and being a mom not?
My best friend sent me an article in defense of stay at home moms. The reason it’s so good is because the defender is the woman’s husband and he’s defending her to other women. You can read the full article HERE. Then, my cousin, who just had her first baby, posted THIS article on FB which is a letter from a SAHM to a working mom and vice versa. It’s pretty amazing and speaks volumes of truth.
I don’t want to get into a pissing contest of who has it easier or harder – working moms or stay at home ones. If you’re a mom then you’re working hard, period. So it is work but why do I have such a hard time defining it as such? Maybe it’s because I used to own my own business. The short story is that I opened a personal training and fitness studio in the Fall of 2007, had surprise twins in 2009 (I was planning the pregnancy just not the twins), my aunt watched them while I worked, then she hurt her back in 2012 so badly she was in bed for months and I ultimately had to sell my business because I didn’t want to put my kids in day care for hours on end when they were barely three.
I had a choice but it didn’t really feel like one. Yes, we’re lucky enough that my husband’s salary can support our family (and my $66 per week!) but I worked very hard at building and maintaining my business and then had to choose between my it and my babies. Once I sold the business I felt lost for a time. I was a woman without an identity. I dreaded the question “How’s your business going?” or, even worse “What do you do?”
Somewhere in the past three years I found my identity. I figured out it’s not something static, but rather moving and evolving as I am. I’m glad I don’t have a standard response to the question “What do you do?” because I could say “What the hell don’t I do?” or “Have you seen my children?” I dare you to raise them.
I’m once again in a position where I have choices and decisions to make. I’m choosing to be proud of my space here. Nothing makes my day more then when someone tells me that my blog motivates them or that they love reading it or that they laughed or could identify with something I wrote. Like Sheryl Crow sang “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.”
I guess the answer to the question “Is it work if you don’t get paid?” is – who gives a shit? If you take pride in what you do, and are passionate, then the money will come if that’s what’s important to you. Something I wanted very badly was to be selected to speak as an Ignite Spark at the FitBloggin conference this June in Savannah, GA and I was! I’m beyond excited and cannot wait to unleash my “spark” on the crowd at my very first blog event. Am I being paid for that? Nope. But you better believe there will be a ton of work involved to make it a success and that makes me happy.
What makes you happy?
How do you feel about working and not getting paid? SAHM, working mom or neither?
If you had a choice, which would you chose and why?