Have you ever looked at a certain lady who stays at home all day every day and you silently envied her? She is just tending to her home, taking care of her child or children and just loving on herself, how good is that life? That was me a couple of months back. I thought stay-at-home-mothers (SAHMs) were the luckiest beings on earth. They have all the time in the world to do whatever they want while at the same time taking care of their sweet babies.
For a long time, I wanted to be a SAHM though I could hardly admit it. The few times I mentioned it to people, they (especially the ladies) were quick to remind me of all the years I spent in school just to waste all that knowledge sitting at home. For some reason, being a SAHM is something that is frowned upon where I come from. It is seen as a preserve of the uneducated. Educated girls are supposed to go out and ‘kick ass’ in the office. After all, isn’t that what feminism was supposed to achieve? Equal opportunities for us to get employed? What happens when what your heart really wants is not to be in an office but to be available for every moment your family needs you, to be successful from your home not in the office?
Our society has become so focused on professional progression as a marker of success that we have devalued the role of motherhood and homemaking. Staying home to take care of your family is not celebrated yet this is a career in itself and an important one in impacting the society. In this respect I must say, feminism failed the very people it was supposed to uplift. It is no wonder many women are having a hard time juggling their work and children because we have been conditioned that the only place we can make an impact is in the corporate circles.
When the opportunity came for me to be a SAHM, albeit temporarily, it was not an easy decision to make. Some of my friends could not believe that I was leaving a well-paying job to move across the ocean, just to support my husband and have our family stay together. It sounded like a big leap of faith.
After thinking long and hard, going back and forth a couple of times, I finally decided I was going to make the move. If for nothing else, I would finally get to experience the life I had always dreamed of as a SAHM. As soon as I really set my mind to it, I started getting excited. I was going to enjoy this life as much as I could. I dreamt of the many days I was just going to lay back and catch up on all the movies and series that I missed as a working mother. Oh, the many recipes I was going to try out because I will finally have the time. I had no idea what was coming.
I left my job, moved countries, settled into a house and then what? It was nothing like I imagined, I really didn’t know how to cope with my new life. It was just me and my son at home, all day every day. No adult conversations, no break from the baby -you suddenly realize that you actually need a break from the very child you wanted to spend all your days with. It did not help that hubby had very tight timelines at work and hence working late nights and weekends.
For the first month, my life was a mess. I just didn’t know how to be just a mother and a wife. I always woke up to ready breakfast for everyone, my laundry done, all I had to do was just take a shower, dress up and show up to work, every weekday. On weekends, I would sleep until mid-morning and then wake up to a well-fed child who is happy to play with mummy for the rest of the day.
Then came the tough transition
In this new phase, my son has woke up to tears some days because his breakfast was not ready. Everything was happening so fast and no time for all my fantasies. By the time I’d be done cleaning up from breakfast it was already lunchtime. Cook again, feed the baby- which takes forever, by the way, clean the dishes again, entertain him, put him in for a nap which he will resist and then spend the next hour fighting about it yet he is evidently sleepy. What are we having for dinner by the way? This life is exhausting, my goodness!
Being a SAHM is the hardest job I’ve ever had to do in my life, I won’t even try to lie about it. I used to think working an 8-5 was hard, now I think otherwise. I have deep respect for my nanny who helped me raise my son for almost 2 years and made it look like it was a walk in the park. I am eternally grateful.
She did the very same things that I have been struggling with every single day and it never seemed like much work until I had to do it. I always came home to a happy baby, who was well-fed and entertained. Here I was, struggling to keep up with all his energy and constant need for entertainment and be able to maintain a clean and peaceful home. Being a SAHM is not anything like I had imagined. Thankfully, I’m slowly growing into it and enjoying the process.
And then the joy of staying at home
It has been harder than I thought, but it has also come with some perks that I hadn’t expected. I have found peace and extreme happiness. Waking up to a little person who completely loves and trusts you even after you have failed him before is beyond description. We cuddle, we hug, we dance, we kiss and we say ‘I love you too’, over and over again throughout the day. That means the world to me.
I have found healing in this season. By the time I was leaving my job I was mentally exhausted. I was carrying so much weight on my back, trying to be everything to everyone and it was not working. I had very little time for my family and even the little we had wasn’t spent very well because of all the stress we carried around. I am more fulfilled than ever and I have absolutely no regrets about making this decision.
This was meant to be a temporary season in our lives but it feels like we could do this forever. It is not easy, and I admit that there are many times I need help but it has been a wonderful experience for our family. We are growing together in a conducive environment and we are thankful for that.
Will I ever go back to work? I don’t know. For now, the focus is on taking care of my family the best way I can and where possible find opportunities to work at home. So far, so good.
If it is good for you and your family, just do it.
If you are a working mother thinking of taking the leap of faith, just give it a shot. So long as your hubby is on board and supportive, don’t let other people’s opinions discourage you. For the transition though, brace yourself it is not easy. You can read this article here that has really helped me through the transition. If you try it and feel like it is not working for you, you can always go back to work.
We keep telling girls that they can be anything they want to be and mostly we are referring to professional advancements. For me ‘anything you want to be’ includes being a SAHM/ Homemaker and I think we should encourage women to be free to make that choice without feeling inferior. If being a SAHM is what you and your family need, go for it. You don’t have to be in an office somewhere to make a difference, you can make a difference right inside your home.
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