I understand that there are mothers who have to work because they have no other choice. I also understand that there are mothers who struggle between their desire for a career and a desire to raise their babies. But what I used to find difficult to understand are the mothers who would rather work than stay at home.
Once upon a time, I thought that I would rather work than be stuck at home. However, the arrival of Gavin changed all of that. How could I possibly run off to work and pull the kind of hours I used to back when I had a career and still feel okay about it? The fear of becoming estranged from my son is far too great for me to accept it – especially not when I have a child.
However, as my son grows older and becomes a more challenging person to interact with, I begin to understand some of the feelings that those mothers have. Being a stay-at-home-Mum (SAHM) is often a thankless job. You don’t get paid for it, you don’t get a pat on the back for a job well done, you spend a lot of time on OT, people rarely appreciate you for what you are and no one ever remembers that you need a break, too.
To top it off, you get screamed at – by your child and sometimes by other people – and are often criticised when your child plays up, throws a tantrum, hurts himself or refuses to eat. At times like these you almost have to wonder whether it is worth it.
People look down on you because of that dreadful stigma associated with being a housewife. It doesn’t matter what you used to do because nobody remembers any of it. Even hubby challenged me the other day on the number of primary teeth a child should have. I said it was twenty and he argued that it was twenty-four. Hello? I used to be a dentist? I studied this subject for 5 years and you wonder if I can remember how many deciduous teeth a child should have? Please! I know my brain shrank a little when I got pregnant but I haven’t completely lost all function of my brain cells!
What probably makes it all worse is that because you’re so busy being a SAHM, most of your daily activities involve your child. The subjects you talk about usually revolved around your child and child rearing. Yet these subjects are often considered boring and tedious. Most other people talk about work or the lives they have outside of work, but since raising your child is your work and your life, you really don’t have much else to talk about.
Nobody really wants to hear about your child’s development (save the relatives and perhaps the friends with children). Let’s be honest. I used to be like that – before I had a child. If a mother came and told me about the little milestones her son had been achieving, I would think, “Good grief! Get over it already.” And now, I can think of nothing more fascinating.
If you talk about parenting practices and philosophies, you’re the preachy, know-it-all mother trying to convert the world to her way of thinking. Yes, the subject of parenting can be as sensitive as religion. A few times when I’ve gotten over-excited talking to friends about interesting ideas, facts, styles of parenting, hubby tells me I’ve been preaching.
Don’t get me wrong. It is an enormous joy to be a mother and to be able to witness your child’s developments on a daily basis and know that you were a part of it. However, when you are a SAHM, the chance to have an outlet for yourself as a person is rather limited.
Hence the reason why I blog – it offers me the opportunity to validate myself as someone with something worth listening to (or rather reading).
Are you a SAHM? Do you sometimes feel this way too? Perhaps you might like to share something in the comments below.