Thursday, 10 September 2009

Stressed out...

It's official. We stay-at-homes are the most stressed out of anybody. According to this survey in The Times, being a stay-at-home mum (or dad) is the most stressful job you can have, beating nurses, traders, teachers and taxi-drivers.
Personally, I can see why the complete lack of control is stressful. You're at the mercy of a screaming, puking, crying, pooping monster. There's no control of that agenda! But I've never had as much fun in my life. The past year at home looking after my young son, going to the 'mums and toddlers' groups and spending nearly all day on my hands and knees has been just about the best year of my life. And I used to be a teacher. (The less said about that, the better.)
Parenthood is hard work - really hard work. But is it really stressful in the sense that something like, say, courier driving is? For a start, it depends on the size of family. I'm at home with one eighteen-month-old. His older sister is sometimes more like my hired helper, so I'm under no illusions. Three kids under school age is a hassle. But a different, more rewarding kind of hassle than brain-surgery, surely?
Of course there are times when the edifice comes tumbling down. Exploding nappies and exploding tempers (especially if they occur in public) make me long for the days of a snarling class of fifth-form reprobates. And the pay, of course, is rubbish. But I wouldn't change what I've got now for any of the so-called lower-stress jobs identified in the survey. It's lonely, dirty work but somebody's got to do it. And - ultimately - I'm very happy that it's me. So how about you? Are you over-stressed and underpaid? Of course you are, but would you have it any other way?
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