The ‘stay at home mum’ a phrase most of us will know but also a phrase a lot of people like to judge.
For just over a year I was a stay at home mum, and I do not regret any of it. Yes, it was hard and draining and unless you are doing it or have been through it, you cannot understand it. This goes for both genders as I know there are stay at home dads as well out there who would understand this topic.
I’ve written this blog so many times, taking away words and changing this and that because honestly, I just don’t know how to say it. I thought when I was going to talk about this subject I wouldn’t be able to stop writing but it’s almost as if my emotions cannot come out but…. here goes!
Also, a disclaimer because I know people will have opinions… I completely understand parents must work to survive and to pay bills etc and not for one minute am I insulting anyone that goes to work when they have children… I am just referring to my view as I have been a stay at home mum.
I am going to be honest and say being a stay at home mum is lonely, exhausting, tough etc…. I had just over a year of maternity leave and don’t get me wrong I was so grateful to be able to have that time with Ava but at the same time it was a huge reality check for me. You are at home with a baby all day, every day, you don’t get to the weekend and switch off from work. I go to bed thinking what I need to get sorted for Ava the next day and the lists I make, it doesn’t ever stop. I get angry with my partner and I know I’m not alone in this but when he says, ‘you are at home all day, you can sit when you like’. Comments like this really irritate me because yes, I appreciate you going out to work and earning the money and driving here there and everywhere for work/working away BUT don’t tell me when it gets to the weekend its your time to do nothing… you have a child!!!!!!!
A little appreciation for what stays at home mums do goes a long way…
You are cooped up with this baby who can’t have conversations with you, who may have been up all night so you are knackered and as much as you want to take a nap, we all know we feel guilty and want to just be getting on with things whilst the baby is asleep. You pick up the toys that you know will be straight back out later, you put the washing on, get dinner ready, clean the house etc. Jobs like this are never ending and sometime around the house always needs doing.
I spoke about this in a previous blog, but you do lose yourself. You become a mum, not you, but a mum. A milk machine (if you breastfed), a nurse, a cleaner, counsellor and the list goes on! We transform into our new lifestyle and become so many different types of people for our children. It is tough and it is a job so don’t feel guilty for having those down days about your new life. Cry all day if you want to, let it out but just remember you are an incredible mummy, and no-one can ever take it away from you!
I think the point when it hit me, and I can remember it very well. It was around last summer and people my age had come back from uni and enjoying going throughout the day in the pub drinking in the sun etc and I admit I was jealous. I had a moment of weakness; I was going through a very stressful time with Ava’s dad and I broke down. I think I was jealous because they could be normal 19-year olds and make plans to go out during the day etc and I couldn’t do that because I had a baby. I felt it was wrong, and also felt guilty about it because this is the life I chose. I remember crying all day and feeling pathetic when I have the most beautiful little girl ever but why should we beat ourselves up about feeling like this? When we have a baby, our whole life changes so of course we are going to have moments of missing life before and we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it. We can make up for it later.
You miss out on adult conversations, you speak in baby gibberish all day, you are listening to mind numbing children programmes, you have your hair up in a messy bun with sick/food/poo down your top and again this is only a snippet of a life of a stay at home mum.
I’m not saying stay at home mums are heroes and they are the best thing as I know people out there do incredible things and go through tough times and come out the other side I’m not saying stay at home mums are the exception BUT they do a bloody good job so we shouldn’t dismiss how they feel and belittle because they don’t ‘work’.
I work 2 days a week and this is enough time away from Ava. She can get on my nerves so much, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I have much preferred being able to see Ava every day, watch her first steps, be there for her first words etc over any luxuries I would be able to afford if I worked. Time with your children is priceless!
My mum is a stay at home mum, and she had done the best job raising 5 children and running a household etc, but I used to think she is at home all day, she can just relax and sleep when she wanted but boy I was wrong!!! How growing up and becoming a mum yourself changes things!! The older I have become the more I appreciate my mum and the more I have realised just how much she did for us. If we were poorly, she would be straight up the school, dropping whatever she was doing, and she would care for us. Whenever she was poorly, she cared for us and did everything for us. Our lunches in the morning will always be made for us, even when we went off to college she always made sure they were in our bags ready. We would come home, and dinner would be ready, the house is cleaned, our beds made etc… No-one realises all the little things until you start to do them. And what I’ve mentioned is a snippet of what else she does. My mum is incredible and hats off to her for doing such an amazing job.
Just because they are stay at home mums doesn’t mean you should expect.
There is a lot of judgment around the stay at home mum and not just from men. Having spoken to other mums it is often the case that women can be very judgemental on other women…… A lot of career driven women like to make judgements. If you chose to go back to work and it works for you as a family then well done you. You should be very proud of yourself because working and raising children etc must be hard as well but don’t have an opinion on me because it isn’t what you would do.
We all, individually, must make a decision that works for us at any given time and consideration must be given to finances, child care, emotions etc. for now, my luxury is my child.
Your stereotypical teen mum x