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GUEST POST: Ask BN: Do Stay-at-Home Moms Really Work That Hard?

We have a real special treat today - I'm honored to present you with a FIPS exclusive – a charitably donated blogwarming gift: the brand spanking new column by the greatest blogger in the world, Park Slope's own Blognigger!

Astute reader Carls Jr. writes:

Date: Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 12:25 AM
Subject: Stay at home bitching
To: Blognigger

yo bn

wanted to get your take on this - I'm a restaurant manager who works nights and has to sleep during the day. For the most part my wife is really cool about it. She gets up with the baby and lets me sleep and so on. Our older kid is 6 and in school so he's not an issue during the day.

The main problem is though, she bitches non fuckin stop about how hard her life is, and that I don't understand how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. And the crazy thing is she starts the arguments!!! I work 65 hours a week and make 100% of our income and I never mention the fact that she's not making any money, instead I treat her like a queen, but instead, SHE bitches at ME. The woman can not shut up about how hard her life is.

The funny thing is, there are times during the day when she needs to go out and I watch our son for hours at a time. Every time I do it I think to myself.....It's just not that hard!! Sure there's the occasional diaper explosion or screaming tantrum, but I swear on my life I don't see what the big fucking deal is. When he sleeps I can fuckin SLEEP or scratch my nuts or watch the wire dvds --- try doing that at a real job!! I wish that she could try managing a staff of 15 mexicans and at the same time dealing with phone calls from the owner and 5 customers having a meltdown over there missing appetizers...... I think it would put into perspective exactly how tough her work situation is.

How do you deal with these issues from your woman - I know she's home with the kids too, right? Granted I know you've got two kids so it might be rougher on your bird, but what's your take- is it really that fucking hard to be a stay at home mom??


Peace bn,
Carls Jr.

What up, Carls-

Fantastic question! Sorry I let it rot in my inbox for 5 months, but such is the prerogative of a mostly-black male living under the Obama Administration-Elect: I can do WHATEVER I WANT all the time with zero accountability. Hopefully you're not already divorced, and I've still got a shot at helping you out here.

The answer to your question is that it depends on a bunch of factors- For example, as far as net difficulty of daily tasks is concerned, there's a huge difference between:

  • an upper-east-side mink jewess who stays at home with her full-time nanny and takes breaks from her craigslist casual-encounters surfing to teach her kid which president's face appear on which dollar bills.


  • some poor jewish woman with 10 kids in crown heights who is gonna get face-slapped if Moishe gets home and one of the male children hasn't finished his chicken-liver or has accidentally touched a female human.

In your case specifically though, it's easier to assess because your wife is a lazy whore.

Totally kidding! I hardly know anything about you guys! Therefore, let's assume the "stay-at-home mom" in question is a married woman with two kids, no nanny, and a housekeeper that comes once every two weeks.

Now right off the bat: while I too get pissed off at my wife's insistence that she performs brain surgery while my office colleagues and I masturbate to internet porn, I've got to say that I've spotted a crucial flaw in your logic:

> The funny thing is, there are times during the day when she needs to go out and I watch our son for hours at a time.

Stop right there - that's unscientific. You can't just take what they do 24/7, do it for a few hours, and then be like "yo that shit's easy." That's like saying you could handle Ramadan just cause it's almost 3pm and you haven't eaten since breakfast.

So, there's a clue for us: In isolation, the following tasks are NOT as hard as the stressful restaurant-management activities you've described:

  • feeding a kid breakfast
  • changing a diaper
  • cleaning a kid's hands and face with a washcloth
  • dressing a kid (actually, bad example, that's fucking hard)
  • getting a kid downstairs and into a stroller
  • making a kid wear a hat in the snow so he doesn't freeze and die (another terrible example - also impossible)

However, in context, these tasks coagulate to form certain conditions that are far worse than the sum of the parts. These conditions ARE more difficult to bear than the tasks of most western, non-air-traffic-controlling professions, including your job of playing Hell's Kitchen with a bunch of mexicans:

  • Serial deprivation of intellectual stimulus; prolonged exposure to extreme mental boredom.
  • Deep isolation from adult contact and sanity-sustaining social interaction
  • De-prioritization of personal hygiene and excretion processes
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Chinese-Water-Torture-esque exposure to punctuated nails-on-blackboard whining and demands every 3 minutes for (literally) years and years without significant respite.

I've seen the effects of these conditions on my wife, so it's obvious to me that being a stay-at-home mom is worse than my job as a highly-paid software engineer. I believe that also makes it harder, but you can see why the definition of hard itself is called somewhat into question- For example, What's a harder job:

  • Being a slave girl in Pakistan and cleaning camel shit between beatings


  • Being a Front-Office Wall Street Trader.

Tough call on semantics, right? But the Pakistani chick obviously has it worse.

It boggles my mind to think that anyone would willingly be a stay-at-home mother - the inherent deprivation of basic human rights is just too great. I could never do it in 10 billion years, even though I love my kids enough to throw myself in front of a train for them that's different though, because throwing yourself in front of a train is far less boring, is over quickly, and takes far less dedication to execute than committing yourself to the complete and total ego suicide that stay-at-home parenting entails.

However: because of her severe dedication to our kids and unwillingness to have them raised by Caribbeans, my wife has chosen to be a stay-at-home mom.

Keyword: CHOSEN.

This brings us to the real issue in our household:

If my wife has Chosen this role for herself, and can reverse that decision at any time, is she really allowed to bitch about it nonstop and make everyone else's life hell with her nonstop martyring and complaining and whining?

Get the fuck outta here Carls, that's the stupidest question i've ever heard in my life. Who cares if they're allowed - they're going to bitch anyway so deal with it. Want a divorce? Go try telling them they're not allowed to complain.

Don't worry - your kids will be at a state university soon, and your wife will slowly assimilate back into society, though her skills at typewriting and woodworking and all these other twentieth century tasks will be meaningless and outdated, and she'll still be a drain on your income and society.

Even then however, as she'll have taken the ultimate bullet for the team - you'll still be the asshole, and in debt to her forever.

Btw, if your answer in the first paragraph was "too late, we're already divorced," then please ignore all of the above. In fact, if you would forward me your ex-wife's contact information, that would be optimal - totally saves me a sketchy-ass trip to craigslist casual encounters.

Thanks and be well - hope this helps.


FIPS Spy Cam Rocks Union & Seventh Ave

Nov 30, 2008 from Mr. Thirty on Vimeo.

As part of our ongoing video series, I'll be hitting the streets with my Flip Video trying to capture interesting stuff in and around Park Slope.

One of my weekly columns, F.I.P.S. Spy Cam, will be the first of many social experiments. The concept is simple: each week I'll stand on the corner of an intersection in Park Slope and let the camera run for exactly one minute. The footage will speak for itself. Some weeks will be interesting/exciting/explosive, and some won't (don't shoot the messenger, people).

On this rainy Sunday, I shot the corner of 7th Ave. and Union.



*Decide which of the Top 11 Craziest REAL burgers I'd like to eat (i.e. every last one of em) (URLesque).

*Check out the Community Bookstore's shiny, new website and order some books (fuck you, Amazon) (Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn).

*Wrap myself in a gay pride flag and scope out some Skinheads on 7th Avenue (Brooklynian).

*If "Rickrolled at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" doesn't mean anything to you, you are so not cool enough to be reading this blawg right now (Huffington Post).

*Updating my Twitter follows with some rad Brooklyn/NY twitter folks: Notorious B.I.G, Steven Berlin Johnson, John Hodgman, GreenpointNYC, Brooklyn Based, Jason Kottke, NewYorkology, BAM, Gothamist, The Treats Truck (and please, for the love of Gawd and all that is holy: if you Twitter, you must follow THE_REAL_SHAQ. Yes, it is the real Shaq. And yes it is truly devine). (Twitter)

*Buy tix for "There's No Christmas in Darfur" comedy event at The Bell House with John Oliver, Todd Barry, Liam McEneaney and others on 12/15 (The Liam McEneaney Experience).

*Ask the MTA to write me a letter re: why my ass was late to work last Tuesday (NY Post).



230 Fifth Avenue

Greg and I checked out Playa, Barrio's new younger, flirtier Latin American sister space, on Sat night, and it totally rocked. I give it a (mostly) big, fat, thumbs up.

Spencer Rothschild and partner/chef Adrian Leon are the boys slash brains behind Park Slope fave Barrio on Seventh Ave, and Playa (along with the adjoining Cabana Bar) seem to round out their Latin lovin BK empire handily.

Best of all, while the restaurant is in "previews," everyone enjoys a 15% discount that's automatically applied to your bill!

Here's what we ordered:

*Bonfire Bowl cocktail - tropical rum punch/flaming volcano (serves 3-4)
Ok, our adorable hipster waiter told us that this served 2, though the menu says 3-4. I was feeling ballsy, and I liked the idea of my drink arriving on fire, so I thought we would try it. HOWEVER, it *was* srsly strong. Way too strong for an ocassional (read: pussy) drinker like myself. I guess I was hoping for something a bit more fruity/frothy/girly. It arrived in a massive bowl and would def be fun to drink with a group, but I couldn't really handle it and we abandoned ship after a few sips (sending a shout out to the waitress who joked that she wouldn't let us leave until we finished the whole thing--we suck).

*Pan de Bono - basket of homemade, warm Colombian cheese bread
ZOMGS was this good. I could have eaten like 3 or 4 more baskets.

*Pollo Skewer - chili lime chicken skewer
Greg: "It was a-w-e-s-o-m-e!"

*Reina Pepiada - Venezuelan Arepa with chicken and avocado
This was probably my least favorite dish, though I think that's also because I didn't quite realize what it was. It ended up being more of a traditional chicken salad type Arepa with the chix and avocado mixed up in some sort of mayonaise-y type dressing. In my mind I was expecting more of chicken fajita type sitch with grilled pieces of chicken, tomatoes, onions, avocado, etc.

*Hamburgecitas - Angus sliders/guajillo ketchup/sweet potato fries
I'm a total sucker for sliders. I intended to order something more latin-y, but I caved at the last min and ordered the hamburgecitas. I'm glad I did cause they were really delish: two mini burgs served on Portugese rolls with lettuce and tomato. At this time of year, I often get gross, inedible tomatoes, but these were devine. The guajillo ketchup was also really great (and I'm not much of a ketchup girl normally) and the sweet potato fries were crispy and fantastico.

*NOTE: Greg ordered the skewer and the arepa (two smaller dishes) as his main course.

The decor is fresh and beachside chic. There was a small (but totally respectable on Thanksgiving weekend) crowd there, and everyone else's food also looked delish (I stared at all of it). Bonus: the waitstaff all wear these super adorbs "Playa" turquoise tees...I kinda want one.

My only real complaint was that their dessert menu was somewhat limited. Not sure if they are still fine tuning, but our only options were Key Lime Pie and Flan. I'm usually a very strict chocolate-o-tarian when it comes to dessert, so I would have loved some more options there.

Total: $42.31 (not including tip; with 15% discount)


PS Craigslisting: W/E 11.30.08