This is a topic that gets discussed often and, for some reason, has some type of negative stigma attached to both sides of the coin. Well, I am a mother that has officially lived on both sides.
Before ever having children I couldn’t imagine simply “staying home” with them, I mean why must I give up my own dreams just because I’ve had a child? Although my views are much different now I still agree with my past self in the sense that we shouldn’t lose sight of ourselves simply because we have become a mother.
As a child, both of my parents worked full time. My parents would not be the chaperones on our school field trips and they would not be dropping us off and picking us up. Sometimes this really bothered me but I understood that reality was my parents had to work to support our household. However, when my Father passed away I was 12 years old, my brother was 15, if my Mother had been a stay at home Mom what would our future have looked like? I think about this often and admire the strength and intelligence my Mother showed during those tragic moments. After my Father passed I always promised myself I would never fully depend on someone else because you don’t know what the future holds, what if you need to be your own plan B?
When I gave birth to my first child I did not have a choice but to go back to work and place him in daycare at 6 weeks. The judgement and unwanted comments I received for that was obnoxious. Is it really anyone’s business? I was providing for, and raising my child the best I knew how. Still I heard things like “I would NEVER put MY child in daycare, I don’t trust ANYONE” *insert eye roll here*. For the record, I adored the daycare center I chose. In fact, my first son stayed there until he was 4 and my second son went until he was 10 months old. At that time I made the decision to try a babysitter for financial reasons.
Working Mother’s are precisely this, WORKING Mother’s. Man do we WORK, and work, and work, and, you guessed it, work. Working full time, or even part time for that matter then coming home and making dinner, running baths, packing lunches, etc. is insanity. It’s really tough to be a working Mother, it’s tough to be a Mother at all never mind being pulled in 6 different directions on a daily basis. If you have the privilege to be with your children more and you don’t have to hold down a typical 9-5 to make ends meet then that is fantastic. PLEASE stop criticizing women who work, or women who choose to put their child in daycare, I can guarantee they already feel guilty without your help.
After about 6 months of my children being in the care of a babysitter all came to an end. It simply wasn’t working out, trying to accommodate each other’s schedules was crazy and I was never with my children. Giving up my new salon was really heartbreaking at first. Being a hairstylist is a huge passion of mine and I was finally building a career. However, my family will always be my first priority and at this point I was meant to be with my children.
There are so many ups and downs to being a SAHM I don’t even know where to begin. For one I just want to say I absolutely love being a SAHM, I’m not going to lie, making my own schedule and building my own routines is truly what life is about. I still run a business and I freelance as a hairstylist, and this gives me an amazing sense of fulfillment and independence. However there are some cons, of course. When I first started this journey I truly didn’t have much of my own income and that was extremely tough for me. This may not matter to many SAHM’s but for me it REALLY hurt, I get so anxious when I feel dependent on someone, even if that someone is my life partner. Besides that let’s breakdown a day in the life of a SAHM, shall we?
We are the first ones to awake and the last to go to sleep. We prepare the meals, clean the dishes, mop the floors, bathe the children, help with homework, set appointments, make sure we show up to said appointments….are you starting to get the point? You know what is fantastic about a regular 9-5? You basically know what the day is going to look like, you are familiar with your workload, you know what time your breaks are and you know what time you CLOCK OUT and go home. SAHM’s are not allowed to clock out. There is no clock. There is just children, chaos, tears, fighting, screaming, an occasional nap, some snuggles, maybe a trip to the park? Maybe a run to Target? We have no idea until we wake up and dive in. Will my 2 year old hide in the dishwasher today? Will my 5 year old say the “F” word? One never knows.
Most SAHM’s feel this overwhelming pressure to have an immaculately kept house. This would be a piece of cake if the kids weren’t home with you at the same time. Most SAHM’s also feel like we must do endless educational activities with our children all day long and prepare the healthiest of meals for their little growing bodies. However, reality is that somedays are a Pinterest fairytale and others will look like a “nailed it!” photo. Balance ladies, balance. Most SAHM’s will also have a difficult time admitting they struggle with depression and loneliness. Being alone with your children all of the time can be very daunting to the adult mind state. Anyone struggling with this please don’t be ashamed to speak up! You ARE important and so is your physical/mental health!
My point in saying all of this is simple. There is no competition, no matter how you parent, being a parent is hard as a Mother. Please stop comparing yourselves, pointing fingers and making rude comments. We are all Mothers, we are doing our best and we have no idea what others are dealing with. Be kind.