First things first: Watching kids and maintaining a household is a legitimate full-time job (with plenty of overtime). A stay-at-home mom is akin to a project manager or an entrepreneur, though she may not always remember this. The bottom line: You’re working from home and you’re entitled to benefits just like the rest of the workforce. Here, seven things all SAHMs (and dads!) are entitled to.
1. Vacation and personal days
Don’t be like the roughly half of U.S. employees who neglect to use their eligible vacation time. Whether you can take five days off or an afternoon — a break will keep you from flipping out when your toddler spills a box of Cheerios right after you vacuumed up yesterday’s O’s. So build allotted days off into your yearly work schedule, figure out a childcare plan for when you take them (maybe your hubby stays home; maybe you call in Nana) and then book yourself a girls’ trip or solo movie date, STAT.
Finishing off half-eaten chicken nuggets always seems like a good idea — but why? Oh yeah, because you spent the last 15 minutes coaxing your kid to come out of the slide at the Chick-fil-A playground. Adding an extra 20-minute episode of “Paw Patrol” to your day is a small price to pay for sitting down to eat a proper lunch. Chicken (pho) soup for the soul.
3. Sick days
If you’re feeling under the weather, the “Wonder Woman” mentality doesn’t benefit anyone. Ask your partner to come home earlier or pay that extra hour for after-school care. It’s probably cheaper than a doctor’s co-pay, FWIW.
4. A bonus
Once a year, treat yourself to something truly special, like an afternoon with a hairstylist (mask, color, cut!) or those kitten heels you’ve been ogling. Anticipating a special experiencewill brighten even the longest, most spaghetti-encrusted days… and make you feel less like a slave and more like a boss lady.
5. Health benefits
Even if you’re on your partner’s insurance, make sure you’re taking full advantage — fitness reimbursements, annual eye exams, flu shots…you know, the stuff you’re always saying you’re too busy to take care of. Oh, and find a gym with childcare (YMCA, JCC, Gold’s Gym, to name a few) — you’ll be thanking us as you Zumba through four o’clock crazy hour.
6. A clothing allowance
Hear us out. Yes, there’s a chance of (flying) meatballs in your future, but that doesn’t mean you’re tied to a wardrobe of yoga pants and hoodies. No one is telling you to wear crepe silk, or anything that requires dry cleaning, for that matter. But a cohesive outfit will give you a morale boost, even if you’re a bit of a hot mess.
7. Clocking out
There will always be blinds to dust and laundry to fold — so once the kids are off to bed, make a hard stop. Otherwise, you’re always on duty and that’s just plain exhausting. Think of your chore list as a weekly meal plan. Outline what needs to be done for the week and break it into a mini daily check list.