What I Know Today

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom


Believe it or not, I never really anticipated being a mom. As I was growing up as my mom's only child, I wasn't around children much and therefore never really seemed to enjoy the times when I was. I never enjoyed babysitting... In fact, I never even enjoyed visiting friends houses when they had younger siblings. I spent the majority of my time in the company of adults (mom and her friends) or senior citizens (grandparents, great-grandparents, and their friends).

When my husband and I decided to start a family, I was intent on returning to work after a short maternity leave. In fact, I accepted a promotion four months before Henry was born. Even after giving birth I was sure I'd be returning to work when my maternity leave was over. I wasn't stay at home mom material, and I didn't pretend to be. Then one day I woke up and it was as if everything had changed. Henry was six weeks old, and as I sat rocking him in his nursery it occurred to me that come hell or high water I could not leave that child and return to work. For the next month, hubby and I debated the merits of me staying home. He was against it, though I suspect it was more from the shock from my sudden change of heart than anything. Finally we decided I would stay home. After all, how hard could it be?

Heh.

Back when I was working, one of my girlfriends (you know who you are!) was a stay at home mom and I teased her about her responsibilities. She was forever emailing me about how tired she was and how worn out she was and how much work she had to do around the house that never seemed to get done. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why any of this was happening. Surely if she was home all day she had plenty of time to do all of that and then some! I teased her when she joined a local MOPS group, making some comment about how she can't even keep her own house clean (mops...mopping... get it? Lame, I know), and she took it all in stride. I think secretly she knew my day would come and then she could giggle at me quietly while I floundered.

So now here I am, a stay at home mom, and I will tell you this.... it is HARD. It is hard for many of the obvious reasons (lack of sleep, running ragged chasing two mobile toddlers, fighting daily over the benefits of vegetables over cheetos, etc.) and for the not so obvious reasons (lack of adult interaction, feeling removed from popular culture and society as I knew it, rarely ever traveling anywhere alone again, etc.) but despite it all, I love it. I love watching my boys grow and learn, and I love knowing that I have seen it all happen in real time. I love every temper tantrum and every wet kiss and every, "what happens now, Mum?" (which comes at about 2 minute intervals all. day. long.) Staying home has been the hardest, yet most rewarding, thing I've ever done and I treasure every high and every low.

The other day I was doing some web-surfing to unwind during naptime and I stumbled across this list of Confessions of a Stay At Home Mom, and wanted to share it with you. I can relate to so much of this, and I'm guessing some of you can, too:



The life of the stay at home mom (SAHM) is one that is often criticized and largely misunderstood. Ever wonder what we do all day? Delve deep into the confessions of a stay at home mom.

1.We clean sometimes, but not nearly as much as we lead you to believe.
Cleaning is a task that is seemingly never ending. There is always laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, beds to be made, floors to be vacuumed, and so many more chores. The stay at home mom does indeed handle all of these cleaning responsibilities. The secret is that we do not do all of these chores as often as we may lead you to believe. For the most part, chores can be done quickly even though we may hint that they took much longer. Cleaning is a task that stay at home moms must tackle, but it is not as bad as we let on.

2. We take naps.
Yes, it’s true. We take naps if we are so inclined. Those of us with younger children may sleep when they sleep. Those with older children who are in school have the freedom to nap whenever they please. The stay at home mom is on call at every moment of the day and so we are entitled to getting a nice relaxing nap in during the day.

3. We enjoy doing errands most of the time.
The life of a stay at home mom can be very stressful with a list of things to get accomplished while managing to care for the children. We enjoy running those mundane errands to the grocery store and post office because it gets us out of the house. We can listen to music in the car and chill out for the short ride. Sometimes it is taxing if the children are acting up, but for the most part it is a nice break to the day.

4. We would rather be working.
This is not true for every stay at home mom, but the thought passes through our heads more often than many people think. Being a stay at home mom is a very rewarding job but being in the workforce also gives a sense of identity and accomplishment that staying home doesn’t.

5. Contradictory to number 4, we want nothing more than to raise our children.
Raising a child is one of the most important jobs any person can do. These children deserve the love and attention of their parents and there is no better way to give them that then being with them all day. As a stay at home mom, we are responsible for the development of our children and we love doing what we do.

6. We have plenty of time for entertainment.
Yes, the average stay at home mom has time to watch television, surf the Internet, and enjoy all sorts of entertainment throughout the day. Many can recall an image of a woman laying on the couch eating bon bons and watching the soaps on television. While it is not so luxurious, we certainly do take time in the day to relax with our tivo.

7. We get frustrated.
The main job of the stay at home mom is to raise her children. This task can be very difficult. Staying home with a child who is rambunctious, tired, or sick can be very draining on our mental health. While we love our children dearly, it is easy to get frustrated with them. For this reason, we often need a break at the end of the day. We are often met with the attitude of “Why would you need a break, what did you do all day?” This is infuriating so do not assume that we have done nothing if we are feeling frustrated and need a break.

8. We feel entitled to a paycheck.
The stay at home mom does the work of caregiver, maid, nurse, chef, chauffer, and accountant. A recent study stated that if a stay at home mom were to release these duties and have to pay for all of these services, it would cost an estimated $70,000 a year. That is a lot of money. It is no surprise then that we would be deserving of a paycheck. While we know that this is not going to happen any time in the near future, we can cling to our belief that what we are doing is worthy of a paycheck.

9. We are envious of our counterparts.
The stay at home mom generally has a partner who is out working and bringing home that enviable paycheck. There are days when we would gladly trade positions and go work while our partner stayed home. We want the freedom to leave the home, knowing that our children are in capable hands. Again, I digress; this is not all of the time, just on those rough days.

10. We love our children more than anything in this world.
We make sacrifices as a stay at home mom. We make this life our identity. We do this because we are madly in love with our children and want the best of everything for them. This love makes being a stay at home mom the best job in the world.

Disclaimer: While this article is told from personal experience, there are stay at home moms who differ in opinion. Not everyone is the same. Yes, there are some who strive for perfection and the immaculately clean home at all times. There are also stay at home moms who stay at home simply because they can or because they don’t want to work as opposed to having their children’s best interest in mind. There is a broad spectrum of stay at home moms, but these confessions apply to many.


So, there you have it. What do you think? Can you relate?
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4 comments:

Lorie said...

Amen, Sarah, Amen!

Mindee said...

Very well said Sarah!

Deb Portman said...

Thanks, Sarah Bess! But, I don't think I ever secretly giggled at you during this stage of your life. You are an amazing Mom!

marion said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

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