I’m probably going to regret admitting this, but I really hate being a SAHM.
Before I had kids, and even after I had my first child, I longed to stay home with them all day. I dreamed of cuddling and playing and endless craft. I imagined lazy days of parks and playdates. I knew it would be hard but I’d read about the benefits of having a full-time parent at home and I really thought I was cut out for it.
As it turns out, five years of full-time stay-at-home mumming is killing me. I read the stories of other mums who cherish their role as full time carer of little humans. They talk about the satisfaction and the struggles. Of how it’s the hardest and most rewarding job of their lives. I almost envy them. I really do agree with everything they say, it is amazing, it is rewarding, it certainly is bloody exhausting. But for me, it just isn’t working.
Why I Hate Being a SAHM
Let me be clear. I LOVE my kids and I love being at home with them. Watching them grow and change, seeing them learn and laugh. I cherish the time I get to spend with them. I just can’t do it full time.
Initially it was great. I loved the “freedom” from full-time work. Creating my own day and going with the flow was liberating. But after five years, the cracks are showing.
I’m Losing My Mind
Maybe it’s just the reality of having multiple young kids, but I honestly feel like I’ve become so much dumber since having kids. Pre-kids I was in a professional career and had studied multiple university degrees. I was good at my job, I was actually highly sought after for my brain. My knowledge and skills were in demand. I felt like I made a real and tangible difference in people’s lives every day. I felt like I mattered.
I know that as a mum I matter too. I know I’m making a difference to my kids’ lives. I know what I do is important. But honestly, most days I just feel like I’m losing my mind. I want to speak to grown-ups each day. I want to talk about more than poo and nappies and school and social skills. I want to use my brain in a different way.
I Feel Trapped
Another big part of it is that I feel trapped. My kids are so dependent on me and so accustomed to me being available 24/7. Even going to a cafe to write this article resulted in tears and tantrums from my kids. They are simply not used to being without mummy. I feel like I’ve failed them by creating a dependency and attachment that is more harmful than helpful.
I also feel trapped by the way our family runs. My husband is so used to me doing everything for the kids. He is a wonderful help and home and a hands on dad, but the reality is that all the mental load and practical organisation falls on me. I feel like there is no way for me to transition back to being more than a mum. Who will do school drop-offs, pick-ups, doctors’ appointments, school holidays? We’ve created a family dynamic where it all falls on me and I don’t know how to change it.
I Miss Having Money
Finances have never been a cause of arguments in our home. It’s not that we’ve ever had lots of money, but my husband and I have always had a similar outlook on money and everything has always been shared. Financially we can afford for me to stay at home and I truly do realise how lucky that makes me. After our first child we couldn’t afford for me to stay home and I was forced to go back to work before I was ready. So I really do understand how fortunate I now am to even have a choice.
The thing is, while we can afford for me to stay at home, it certainly doesn’t leave any wriggle room. We can’t afford more than an annual camping holiday, extra curricular activities are very restricted and any kind of paid help around the house is totally out of the question.
I really miss having a bit of spare cash. I miss being able to splurge on the occasional special treat or send my kids to a sports camp. I miss travel, and oh, how I’d love a cleaner!!
I Don’t Feel Appreciated
A big part of my resentment at being at home full-time is that I just don’t feel appreciated. I don’t feel my husband understands the sacrifices I am making for our family to be a full-time mum. I know he doesn’t think it’s the “easy” job, but I also don’t think he understands how much I have given up to make his life run smoothly and give our kids the life they have.
Saying thank you or speaking words of encouragement is just not a part of his personality. It’s not that he isn’t thankful, it’s just that he doesn’t say it.
Honestly, being a full-time stay-at-home-mum is killing my marriage.
Are you a stay at home mum? Have you transitioned back to part time or full time work? How did you do it? Has it helped?