If you’d have told me 10 years ago that I would be a SAHM with three kids, I would have laughed in your face. I was very career driven and always believed that I’d return straight to my corporate job after having my kids. Oh, and I only planned on having two children as well! Life has a way of throwing us curve balls, and so it was that when I quickly fell pregnant with #2 after having #1, returning to work — even in a part time capacity — just wasn’t going to work for our family.
While many people assume I must be unhappy with this decision, the thing is, I actually really enjoy being a full-time, stay at home mum. I don’t regret giving up my corporate career to stay at home with the kids at all.
That’s not to say it’s always sunshine and rainbows, of course. There are often times (like this morning) where I question why the little people in my life are so intent on trying to make me lose my mind. I often feel mildly jealous of my husband who gets to ‘escape’ the house each day to go to work. But the thing is, despite the tears, tantrums and fighting that can sometimes consume my days, there really is nowhere else I’d rather be.
This seems to be something that baffles many people.
I can remember a conversation I had with a friend when our babies were just a few months old. She was telling me how she desperately craved to go back to work after having her first child. She felt as though she had lost her identity since becoming a mum. While I understood (I know I’m definitely not the same person that I was prior to having kids), I didn’t (and still don’t) have the same craving to ‘change the world’ outside of our home. I know my identity has changed, but I’ve found a new purpose: to raise happy, confident and responsible kids. When I shared this with my friend, she was quite taken aback, but had the tact to acknowledge my feelings while admitting it wasn’t the life for her.
I quickly discovered that not all people have the same level of tact when I tell them that I enjoy being a stay at home mum. To be honest I often get blown away by some of the downright rude questions and reactions I get. Some people think that I must be “stuck up” or “entitled” because I’m not in paid work (and trust me, that is soooo far from the truth). Others think I just sit around at home all day drinking coffee (I wish!). I’ve actually had someone ask me where the best place for a ‘mum coffee’ is, as apparently I “would know” (and let’s not get started on what exactly a “mum” coffee is, either).
I’ve also been questioned as to how we can afford to live off one income, inferring that my husband must have a really great wage. Actually, we make a lot of sacrifices to live on one wage, but that’s really none of their business! I also get asked if I feel guilty for spending his money and not contributing to the household – umm, I’m raising his three kids here!
It doesn’t end there, others have commented that by not working outside the home I’m not setting a good example for my kids. Or that I’m putting them at a disadvantage for spending so much time with me. The thing is, if I was the one making these type of comments to a full-time working mum (which many of my good friends are), I would be immediately criticised for tearing down hardworking women. What is the difference with people doing it to me?
The fact is, having me stay at home with the kids works for our family. I feel that I’m making the biggest and most positive contribution to our household by staying at home to raise our children. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. So, if the rude people of the world could just keep scrolling, that would be most appreciated.