Being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM) these days is no longer as ‘easy’ as it used to be. In the past, as long as your children are dressed and fed (never mind if it’s not a balanced diet), you are a good mother. Throw in a spick and span house, you are possibly the best wife and mom in the world.
Now, being a stay-home mom encompasses much more than that. Besides making sure that all physical needs are met and everyone in the family has a decently tidy place to live in, you have to ensure that you stimulate the kids’ intellectual growth and hone their creative spirits.
Having been a sahm for more than four years, I have learnt to take people’s misconceptions of SAHM-hood in stride. Most people I have spoken to think that sahms are the free-est people in the world.
Sure, we have time for Korean show marathons and we play mahjong in the lazy afternoons while food for the family appears miraculously at mealtimes, the house picks itself up with a wiggle of the nose and the kids are the brightest sparks and most well-behaved lot because they were born that way. Perhaps this is true in the alternate universe.
Just recently, I had the misfortune of reading a very sad misconception of sahms. The person who is a full-time working mom (with tons of help) wrote that it is so difficult to balance work and family, “no wonder more and more people are taking the easy way out to stay at home.”
It is undoubtedly true that to strike a balance between work and family is difficult. That is the main problem we face with the increasing need to have dual-income families. I have never doubted that working moms face a different set of issues and that it’s tough being one too. But to speak of home-makers in that manner is rude and ignorant.
Anyone who has come close to being a stay-home mom/dad would find some of these parenting hazards familiar:
1) a sahm hardly gets a moment of peace when the children are up and about. There is no such thing as a quiet toilet break by the way. Privacy – what’s that?
2) Mealtimes may be interrupted at any point and possibly punctuated with soiled diapers which require your immediate attention. ‘Eating halfway’ is not an excuse not to clean that cute bum.
3) Dolling yourself up is futile because you will most probably find a sticker or two stuck behind your blouse or your calf (and you’ll only realise this when you get funny looks from people). Don’t start on lip gloss because you know it’d end up smeared over your face (plus you need to kiss that cutie pie, don’t you?) And you can dump those chic loopy earrings unless you are ready to have them tugged off by the most innocent little hands.
4) Me-time spent on yourself is hard to come by. My me-time is usually spent devising ways for the kids to learn through play, planning and preparing for ‘lessons’ and making sure that my older kid has opportunities to dabble with different types of art and craft and i teach her piano too. Lucky for me, lesson prep coincides with my interest.
5) Your repertoire of songs now consists of nursery rhymes. You get to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star all day long till you’ll even find yourself humming the tune subconsciously. You might even pick up some Mandarin nursery rhymes you didn’t even know as a child! *gasp*
6) You get stuck in a routine, which could become very monotonous. A friend of mine often bemoans how she is exhausted, stuck in sahm boredom and suffers from brain-death (side track: I’m glad blogging keeps me sane!) Of course, you could have some surprises in your life – I’m sure strawberry milk under the heavy bookshelf definitely counts as one!
Oh and the list goes on.
All i want to say is, it ain’t easy being a stay-home mom, having to put aside all that once mattered to me but despite that, I chose to be one because I want to spend these precious growing years with my kids and I’m glad I have the opportunity to do so.
Certainly, SAHMs deserve a lot more respect. I believe it’s a matter of what works best for our families that determines our choices, and just in case you haven’t realised by the end of this post, being a SAHM is definitely not ‘the easy way out.’
And here’s what makes everything so worthwhile:
Angie blogs at Simply Mommie and is mom to two wonderful children who love to test her patience on a daily basis. She loves cooking and doing home learning activities with her children and is always wishing that she has more time on her hands.