Last night, my head finally hit the pillow at 1:30 AM, whereupon I smelled feces. The source? A clump had stuck to my dog's behind, and to try to get it off, he had scooted along the quilt and bed sheet. I had to get up and change the quilt and sheet, and get into the shower with Einstein to remove the smeared feces from his backside before I finally, at 2 AM could get back into bed.
That's about as unpleasant as "parenting" gets and yet it was less stressful than many worklife tasks. And I got immediate gratification for my work: In a half hour, all was clean and dry.
Again and again, I see stay-at-home moms having much more pleasant lives than people in the workplace. Sure, they have to change diapers and clean toilets, but also, they're on the phone with their friends while their kid is in the crib. They're strolling in the mall or supermarket, relaxedly picking out things. They're seeing the concrete rewards of unstressful tasks like cleaning up the house or making a yummy dinner. If their kids are in school, they have time to get their nails done, take an art class, etc.
Yet women and women's advocacy groups endlessly complain of the stress and difficulty of being a stay-at-home mom, even claiming that mommyhood is the most difficult job. In fact, as a commenter on a previous post wrote, very few women would trade their job as stay-at-home mom for their husband's job out in the work world. Today, even white-collar careers tend to be stress-packed: landing a job, keeping a job, succeeding in a job, fighting the commute, etc. And blue-collar work is typically even more exhausting if not downright dangerous.
Men and women who work outside the home, you deserve a lot of credit for what you do, moreso than do stay-at-home moms or dads.