Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Female View: Feeling unappreciated...

I have a job. It requires me to be on the clock 18 hrs a day and on call for 6 hrs nightly. I am often called during the nighttime, sometimes every two hours. It takes at least a half hour to deal with each "issue" I am roused to tend to. I do not get coffee breaks - while I am allowed to eat and drink on the job, I am not given time away to sit and rest. Lunch breaks are worked through too. The most miserable part of all of this, which most people take for granted at their jobs, is bathroom breaks. My company (the people under me really) require an "open door" policy for bathroom breaks. If we are in a meeting the meeting follows me to the restroom.

I have to drive for my job. I do not get paid mileage even though I probably log at least a 100 miles a week, if not double that (or more some weeks). While my partner tends to some things on my work vehicle, the general maintenance of the this vehicle is for me to take care of. I am responsible for people's lives on my job- their physical, emotional, and social issues are my responsibility.

I am often called upon to plan, host, and attend special events. I am not given a budget for these events. I serve as technical support, record keeper, historian, tutor, theologian, and calender keeper. I am responsible for the companies financial well being. The janitorial and "housekeeping" services fall on my shoulder as well as everything in between. Personal shopper, chef, caterer, veterinarian, plus gardener and lawn care are part of my job description.

The hardest part about my job is that nobody in my company really knows what I do. Plus, if I do not get my job done, no one steps in and does it for me. I have such a large array of responsibilities that to hire someone else (it would actually take several employees to replace me) would be financial impossible for the company's budget. If I slack on my job, I am left in a scramble to catch up, remember people's lives/welfare are in my hands. The majority of the tasks I perform go unnoticed, almost always unappreciated. Rarely do I get a nod of appreciation. There is no room for advancement either, so even if I outperformed all expectations I could never change positions.

If I am fortunate enough to use some of my comp time, I am still on call due to my work cell phone. Do not assume that this phone can be shut off. Issues (according to my partner) must be dealt with immediately and with my input.

I have no insurance or retirement benefits. I do not have a receptionist nor an assistant to help me with my duties either. I do not receive sick days, nor am I allowed to take time off for illnesses, or medical issues. ( I must work these into my schedule) I have people under me that I am responsible for. I also have a partner - most days a silent, or worse disgruntled partner. Not only that but I am expected to sleep with my partner (*gasp...what? yep. it's ok, he's cute) Speaking of my partner, it is my given duty to tend to all of his needs too.

So, if my job is stressful and that hard then why don't I just quit? I can't quit - I made a lifetime commitment. Because my job is being a wife and a stay at home mom.

*Click to make Big*

If you work outside of the home how does this compare? How do I make my spouse, who works really hard outside of the home, realize everything I do for him and that what I do is just as important as what he does?

Side Note: My husband (the partner) is not as bad I made him sound here. For the sake of this post, I put his neck on the line by making him sound like an ogre.

(Click on pic to get to her site) Just Jules writes on her blog about how she is CEO of her family including one husband and 4 children! Her beautiful pictures is what I noticed first, but she also has a knack for writing and is one of the sweetest people I have met and call friend without ever officially meeting her in real life! :) Go read her if you get the chance!


Chief said...

This post really hits home with every mother out there...working or stay at home.
I have done both, outside and inside work. Each has their pros and cons.

The major difference is actually an individual one. Psychologically and emotionally, I needed to work outside the home. This has caused new struggles as I still feel responsible for all of the responsibilities of a SAHM but I also have the added pressure of my job. Working at my children's school as helped alleviate some of that "mother's guilt" as I see them all day long, but the house isn't as organized and I'm sometimes too tired to enjoy our evenings together.

I do think it will be interesting to hear the male side of this. I have a feeling they suffer the same feelings that we do, just on a different level.

What can we do to make our spouses not feel under-appreciated? We need to work on that at our house.

P.S. I started and stopped this comment 10 times so as to answer phones and hand out bandaids, it may seem scattered, but yet that is a true representation of me so there.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I was blessed to stay at home for a while and remember feeling this way. I remember thinking if I just had a job outside the home he wouldn't always come and say, "what did you do all day?" I always took the defense because I would freeze and rack my brain and think, "what HAVE I done today?" I so wish I had this post to pull out and read how you define stuff...so true!

I remember saying one time, "hey babe you have NO idea! You get a break from all of this! Eight hour break! From now on when you get home I'm taking my lunch break" in which I would go in my room and read :)

So I get it.

I work now...what I wouldn't give to SAH...its such hard work! But by far...more rewarding then my job now!

And like chief said, sometimes I get home and I'm just to tired to spend quality time with my kids...at that point its quantity time not really quality :)

Like my husband, your husband probably wouldn't want any different, but I think ot comes from part jealousy... He want to be with you and the kids. :)

Can't wait to see what others say :)

Missty said...

I was a working mom till baby #3. I have four. I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old and cried. Called Matt and said I needed to be home, and I would do anything to stay home. I was at home within 3 weeks. I babysat and did cleaning at night for the first few years so I could be a SAHM. That was 20 years ago.

All the jobs you listed are so worth all the things you get to see and do with your kids. SO on those days where it seems your doing it all as a stay at home mom - your not. Your not at work and then doing all the house stuff. Your not missing all the firsts with your kids.

The full time workers are missing a lot. That is HUGE price for me. It was important for me to be the one to kiss my kids good bye as they went off to school, and to be the one who sees them first from school. Something important that happen at school gets talked about in the first 15 minutes of being home... not 3 hours later.

I don't want this to be a which is good or bad, home or work. But I just really feel so strongly about moms who are at home, and then whine about it. We are SO VERY FORTUNATE! Especially in these scary times.

And I know I don't have the wieght of all the work stuff my dh has. He has an incredible stressful job. I would never want it! While he is talking about millions of dollars I am at the park with kids.

And really, seriously being at home we spend alot of wasted time.

Great post! Can't wait to read the rest of the comments. And the guys side!

Nolens Volens said...

Longtime lurker here...I really got a kick out of today's. I don't drive anywhere as far, but I discovered something else as a SAHD that I had never experienced before. I even posted about it today. You can click on my name here and look for "OP #4 - Whoa there it is..." post and I must warn you that my site is NSFW (not safe for work) - hence me being a longtime lurker. Excellent post.

wendy said...

Ah, that is the life long question of all time ---how to have people (spouses) understand and appreciate the TIME and total commitment of being a wife and mother.
At first while I was reading this, I though, wow, your job sucks----then I realized where the story was going. (I am slow that way, tee,hee)
Every wife/mom in the world could relate to this post.
Just know, when the kids are grown, you'll see the worth of what you have done ----then during your "retirement" you can get back at your kids by totally spoiling the grandkids and then SENDING THEM HOME. That----is so much fun.

Just Jules said...

This was so fun to write (although I started and stopped and changed ideas and angles about 20 times)

My stay at home mom-dom is something I chose to do. I wanted to do, and still want to do. My children have more than benefited by my decision and the sacrifices that have come with this choice.

I wouldn't go to work right now if I could. In fact I have turned down "dream jobs" to stay home in the past year and a half.

The hardest part of this choice is not what we have given up financially but the stress it can cause both partners. I feel underappreciate, my husband feels overworked etc.

With each decision comes consequences. I know that the gain has outweighed these. Thank you for the comments and please comment away - all day and then come back and read the rest and comment again... come on Shelle puts a lot of work into this site let's show her we appreciate it ;)

love ya shelle!

p.s. the guys' perspective is WELL WORTH coming back for tomorrow (hey I got a sneak peak!)

ZenMom said...

This is a great post. Thought-provoking. Can't stay and chat now. But I'll be back later! :)

Chief said...

As I have read through some of the comments already, I hope I didn't come across as lobbying for working moms as working harder than SAHM's!

I meant to say that both spouses can feel unappreciated for sure! It is something that we have to address all the time at Chief's house. I don't think anyone (unless they are working outside the home and wish they weren't or SAH when they want a job) would change places with their spouse. We need to remember this when our husbands and wives look wiped out at night. No matter how hard they worked that day, we need to be compassionate and not comparing our day with theirs. It's tough for me, cuz I am way selfish!

No matter what route we choose to take, we need to work with what comes from our decisions. Every family and every relationship is different.

When I stayed home I was sad and that wasn't good for my family BTW.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Hey Missty--admittedly those of us that work "waste" alot of time also...if we are all going to be honest ;)

Jules--thanks for writing this. It was so creative and I'm so glad you did it!

I actually went and read Nolens Volens post... it was so cool to hear his perspective as a Stay at Home Dad who had to go to some work training recently! I just had to cover my eyes to get to the first post, so if you are like me... he wasn't kidding when he said it was NSFW!!! But it is a good post!

carry on...

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I also just think it's human nature to want or look at things like it is so ideal or, "the grass is greener on the other side"... but... the question is, how do we overcome those thoughts of feeling unappreciated... I think Jules should take or find that time for herself... I know when I was able to SAH all the time I made sure to get out and either go to the park or have a lunch with a friend so I could get adult time while my kids played.

I KNOW that helped me get out of those slumps when I felt I wasn't contributing to the world.

But to be honest... my job isn't contributing much either... Just because I work doesn't mean that you feel any more productive or self fulfilled... but of course that depends on your job right?

Like I said, I feel this way because I am looking forward to the day when I have ONE full time job and not TWO or even sometimes THREE! :)

Chief said...


It is something that we have deal with inside of us as well, you are so wise. Our spouse can do everything to make us feel appreciated, but if we aren't fulfilled then nothing will make us feel that way.

Devri said...

I kind of look at it differently, my husband was here illegaly when we first married, I worked untill he got his green card. (I was pregnant with our 5th child)

I would be the dad, and he would be the mom. I was jelous of him, he took care of the kids, ran them, cleaned, and bathed them. I know what a man should feel about this. They should feel jelous. but on the other hand, I wouldn't give up my sah job for anything, yes, i get tired, yes, I complain sometimes, but it is well worth it.

I can't wait to read tomorrows post!

Anjeny said...

This is a really great post. When I first started reading this post, I was wracking my brain out trying to figure out what kind of a job that is and then I was like, "no way, that job doesn't exist..LOL" and just as I thought that, I figured out what the job was...DUH, can I be more dumb? It should've have hit clicked the moment I read about the every two hrs because I had to do that so many time I've lost count.

I really love how to word everything. It really is the hardest job every but I can honestly say it is the most rewarding. To see my 3 year old wanting only me and telling me she loves me more than anyone else in the family or to listen to my 17 yr old in her most rebellious telling me I'm the reason she comes home or my 12 yr old telling me that I am the most beautiful woman on this planet and so forth. That just makes it all worthwhile, all that sleep debrivation, and the massaging of their growing pains til my hands hurt, totally worth it.

And yes, I do complain sometimes when it seems like no matter how many times I did the laundry or dishes, there are still more waiting, or when I go out to put creativity into our meals and no one notices it or want to eat it but I find that I actually like this SAH deal. Even with the mounds of things to do, at least I get to make my own hour...and that everything I do is for me and my family and not for someone else.

I wouldn't trade this deal for anything else, I would've missed out so much more on my kids if I had chosen the other route. And from Shelle and Chief's comments, I would definitely not be able to juggle between a career and kids.

Again, thanks Jules. Great post.

Anjeny said...

Shoot...sorry Jules, didn't mean to make that a post-like comment. Got carried away.

Just Jules said...

Anjeny- comment away girl! comment away! none too long and none too short! we love them all.

Chief - I gottcha! I know what you meant ... hey we are BF's remember ;) he he. seriously though - yes I understand where you are coming from.

clan of the cave hair said...

We have been having the "underappreciated" discussion at our home for the past month. I finally just spelled it out and said look, I'm being a bitch, I know it, I'm sorry that I'm not being more grown up about my problem, here it is: The kids are making me insane!
My husband also works an intensely stressful job, at night. His life outside of our family is an insane one that I'm simultaneously proud of and resentful of. He feels run down, beat-up, and used/abused at all times, and since I only feel run-down and used, I can't complain. Its a weird balance.
I have heard that a pre-arranged mom's weekend away where dad gets to cover it all for an entire weekend is a pretty good cure for ingratitude, but I've yet to give that one a try, I kind of want him to suggest it, as an acknowledgment of my hard work. I won't hold my breath ;)

Southern Sage said...

Perfectly said Julie. I think the bride feels the same way. Though I know how she sees it and what she des it still sometimes comes up where I think (never say) "WTFandango? whats she been doin all day?"

Chief said...

What a brave man you are Mr. Southern Sage. I wish you luck!

Just Jules said...

Julie? Julie? Who is this Julie you speak of? I am Jules (*wink wink) geeeeeez J..... I mean Sage.

Anyway - thanks for your two sense. I KNOW my husband feels the same way A LOT. "Of course the house looks a disaster "dear" (I think when I see that look in his eyes)but I have cleaned it 27 times already, in fact it was spotless 25 minutes ago"

It is amazing the havoc kids and yes, my husband came reap on a house in no time flat.

I remember being responsible for only the mess and laundry, dishes etc I made in college - wow! amazing how things stayed the way *I* left them!

That brings up another hard part - our job is never done as housekeepers- male and female. Once the laundry is done it doesn't stay that way, same with dishes and cleaning toys etc. It would be like a receptionist filing- only to find the exact same papers (that she just filed) all over the floor before she even finishes her stack of filing, plus extras thrown around for good measure. We all have experienced it.
That and being responsible for 100 finger and toe nails - gosh think about that Sage ;)

Chief said...


I love that part where you say our jobs as housekeepers are never done. Since starting work, I have attempted to get Duke to help with some chores (remember the squeegee?) He told me the other day "Chief! I hate doing it because it gets messy 10 minutes later! What can I do to help that will stay clean for a while?" Ha! Got him backed into a corner on that one!

I have given up on most household chores, we live in squaller

Just Jules said...

HA! @ Squaller! Love it. Yeah my standards have been drastically reduced in the last year, but some of my sanity has returned with it.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Talk about squallor! I carry a bucket around when I'm with my kids and people start throwing in money!!!

I kid I kid

But honestly I bet I have a Guinness book of world record dust on the shelf...at first it disgusted me, now I walk by it and pause in awe that it actually is growing! I thought my son could use it as a science project!

Its true though the worst jobs are those that are NEVER finished!

J. P. said...

I just decided that I can't go crazy over jobs that are never done. My perpetual jobs are laundry, toilet cleaning, (why! seriously, its like the cleaner being flushed down the toilet evokes some kind of body-shuddering anxiety that says "whoa, better leave a streak in there, it looks way too clean" in several members of this household. Dishes, and cooking. They are never "done" just kept to a dull-roar with small daily steps. If I try to "finish" them, I go insane.---Lisa (CotCH...dang stupid auto-sign in for google, I never notice JP is signed in until I've already typed up my whole comment....not that this one couldnt' use some editing ;) )

Alex @ I'm the Mom said...

The unappreciated feeling is something I deal with on a daily basis. Not just from my husband by from my children.

Want to know my solution? I say "screw this crap" and leave the laundry until it's well over due. Leave the mess around the house until it gets the the point that when I clean it, my husband actually gives a crap.

Oh but what really drives me insane? I have a dishwasher. I'm good about emptying it when it's clean. I HATE when the husband or my son puts the dirty dishes ont he counter NEXT to the dishwasher but cant open the darn thing to put them in it.

Ok, I know, stupid, but still. Grrr.


I have a lot of issues ;)

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