Monday, July 1, 2013
Considering Staying Home (Being a SAHM)?
Often, people ask me if I "like" being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), and/or if they should do the same when they have a baby.
Many moms who left their jobs to stay at home (including me) tense up a bit when we are asked about staying home full-time, preparing for the standard, often annoying yet well-meaning, comments. My personal non-favorite being: You stay at home? FUN!.
As one mom blogger put it, (Glennon, from Momastery.com), there aren't any other challenging jobs, like motherhood, where you are expected to love every single second of every single day. Social predicate has taught me that I'm basically not allowed to complain about a tough day to a mom who works full-time outside the home; she might resent me if I let it slip that I was lonely, or exhausted, or sick of having poop on my hands all day.
That said, yes, it is usually a choice to stay home. I made this choice. And I'm really, really fortunate and glad (most days) that I was able to have this choice. But there I go again, having to reiterate just how much I appreciate it! Because, God forbid, a SAHM should ever be ungrateful.
But remember, it's not like when one spouse stays home there aren't other sacrifices (besides, of course, the financial loss). If your identity was tied to your career, well, poof, you better re-create yourself and figure out how to at least occasionally rise above the daily ins-and-outs of diapers, baby food, and naps so that your brain doesn't turn to mush. And get ready for weird playdates, long days, obnoxious mom competition, making every meal and snack every day, and forming a close relationship with Dora the Explora. The routine, the tantrums, the sibling competition...there are days when I have to force myself to get out of bed.
Here's the good part about staying home with your kids: You don't have to wonder what they are doing (because you always know), you are unlikely to miss first milestones, you don't have to get them dressed for daycare everyday promptly at 7, and you can take them out for ice cream at 3 p.m. [if you can muster the energy]. There is comfort in all of that, and even, yes, I'll admit it: fun!
I'm not sure if this post will help anyone who is on the fence about what to do post-baby; it's such a personal, complicated situation. Try to remember this: you are never going to please everyone, and there are always going to be critics on either side of the mommy issue. Personally, I don't think there is a right or wrong, one-size-fits-all answer. In fact, he happiest moms I know are those who work part-time, akin to Switzerland.
Whatever choice is right for you, try not to judge moms who take other paths. Let's not assume the grass is always greener on either side of the fence. We're all in this together.
Please keep my readers and me posted: share your experiences as a SAHM, working mom, or anything in-between (click on "Comments" to add your thoughts).
~Julia @ Frantic Mama
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