That Stay-At-Home-Mom Life

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I never really thought that much about what life would be like after I had kids.  Having a baby was such a theoretical / abstract / hypothetical scenario until I actually became pregnant that I prepared very little before-hand. Is this normal? I don’t know. I think I assumed I would figure things out along the way and that having a baby was such a natural thing that things would, well, come naturally.

That’s definitely true when it’s come to keeping Freddy healthy, happy, and safe, ignoring the 500+ google searches I’ve done on everything from ‘Photos of normal baby poo’ to ‘Is my baby squinting too much.’ Or asking the Health Visitor if Freddy hiccuped too much.  I think I’ve done ok on the general survival front.

What I should have thought more about, though, was me.  What would I be like after I had a baby? I wrote about that a bit here – the myriad of changes a parent goes through once they’ve given someone half of their DNA. I wrote about the vacillation between work and staying home, and if I’m honest, the vacillating continues.

With a view to possibly start working again, I visited my first nursery last week.  It was sweet, but shocking.  I’d never seen a nursery, but always kind of imagined babies sitting in a circle on fluffy pillows singing ‘I Love You, You Love Me, We’re a Happy Family,’ while rays of sunlight streamed through the window to warm the babies’ pudgy toes. What I actually saw was something akin to the aftermath of a tornado, if everyone living in the town was two years old and younger.

Anyway, it was just FINE and a lovely place and I’m sure Freddy would have a blast going there everyday doing messy play and tumbling on seriously impressive indoor climbing structures.

However I left hugging Freddy tightly and felt conflicted.  I don’t actually have to go back to work if my husband and I continue to be smart about our finances.  And I actually still enjoy being at home with Freddy full-time, good days and bad. So why am I putting so much pressure on myself to join the workforce again and place Freddy into a nursery?

I think it simply comes down to the fact that society doesn’t really put a lot of value on mothers who decide to make looking after their children their full-time job, the “Stay At Home Mom’.  Women who maintain a professional life and manage motherhood are lauded and applauded.  And men who make parenting their full-time occupation are treated like deities. But women who spend 45 minutes trying to get their baby to nap after lunch, and then spend their afternoon at a petting zoo or reading ‘We’re Going on A Bear Hunt’ for the tenth time everyday are seen as…kind of losers.  I know that’s what a lot of people think of Stay At Home Moms, because I used to think that, and I’m really sorry about that now.

It might just be that I end up becoming a Stay At Home Mom until Freddy, and any possible not-planned-yet-don’t-get-excited-mom siblings, are a bit older by default.  It’s not as if I have employers coming to me and begging me to work. Finding a job as a non-entity in a foreign country is hard work and requires dedication and commitment, and if I’m honest I don’t really feel either right now.

So if that’s the case, I need to become OK with being a Stay At Home Mom and confident with that decision.  I need to not cringe every time I fill out a form asking for my employment or think I’m less-than when I socialise with working-mum friends or meet new people and get the dreaded ‘so what do you do‘ question. Or feel guilty when I look at my CV, diplomas, and professional awards. There is a time and place for all of that, I think. Right now, I think it’s just time for me to just be a mom.

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5 thoughts on “That Stay-At-Home-Mom Life

  1. Loved your latest post- I can imagine your struggle- have felt it.. if I could have such a Great career after you guys were in school with only 3 1/2 years of college under my belt you will be able to do anything when you are ready-

    It takes much more courage and strength to raise a human than anything you will ever do… trust me.

    I love you so much and am so happy God entrusted you to raise my grandson-0 You are a wonderful mother.

    ❤ M

    Dana Giardina Designs 904.295.4424 danagiardinadesigns.com

    >

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  2. Liz

    Have you thought about working from home part time? Benjamin is six weeks old this week and I will begin to transition back into work remotely. Me working helps with bills but also reminds me that I have valuable skills that I get to use.

    It may end up overwhelming but I’m going to try for a while. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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    1. That’s so awesome you can do a slow transition! Because I moved here without a job I think I’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to take me on part-time and from home, but you never know! The jobs I’ve been applying to are all part time anyway, so we’ll see! Totally agree on the skills thing. I feel a pang of guilt every time I think about my degrees and all the hard work I put into my career. But right now my priorities are different and I know I will use those degrees and skills again some day again! 🙂 xx

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  3. Candice

    A beautiful article. I think you are brilliant. This blog is also an excellent continued use of skills and you know who you are regardless of whether someone is giving you a paycheck for it. It is completely forgivable and no big deal that you once had preconceptions about SHMs, and after being home a little bit now (I go back in 2 weeks) I totally empathize with all of your emotions and applaud your listening to yourself. (And hey, worst comes to worst, you can always try something like a transcription job but I think you just don’t need to worry about it).

    Leave you with a little poem that hung on our wall when I was little – I don’t remember who wrote it:

    Sweeping and mopping can wait ’til tomorrow;
    For children grow up, much to our sorrow;
    So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep;
    I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.

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  4. Kate

    Love your honesty. The struggle is real. My mom went back to become a Physician’s Assistant after I graduated high school. I always remind myself that there will be time on the back end of raising kids that will allow for a career if I want it to.

    Like

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