So it's that big debate all us mothers have in our heads. Are we doing the right thing by our kids, our partners and ourselves. Truth is I don't think we'll ever be 100% happy with our decisions. Maybe it's just me but I don't think it's possible to have 'it all', not all of the time anyway. What is 'it all'? I guess that's subjective but I interpret it to mean being there for our children all the time, earning an income, keeping a home in order, having time to ourselves and keeping a partner happy too. I think think we can have it all in different proportions but which aspect gets the biggest proportion of our precious time?
For most of us the actual decision is taken out of our hands. Circumstances often dictate the outcome.
I've been a SAHM for 6 months now. It was something that I wanted but also needed to do. We didn't have any childcare options available for before and after school. Had we had this option - would I have gone back to work, I'm not sure? I'm lucky that financially not going back to work was a viable option. It's a strange position for me to be in as I've worked since I left home at 17 and have been largely independent.
Life as a SAHM can be brilliant but it can also be monotonous and quite lonely. Playgroups are sometimes my saviour and often I want to go for me more than him, but some weeks I just want it to be him and me and then I feel guilty that I'm not entertaining him with other children.
Last week my daughter made a remark that made me wonder if I was doing the right thing. Her daddy made a comment about being tired, my daughter said to him "Daddy you can have an early night to bed because you've been busy, mummy doesn't need to because she hasn't been to work"
Why does she think this? Do I make looking after a home so easy she doesn't think it's hard work? (Ha, I doubt it). Am I not teaching her a strong work ethic for women? Does she value the role of a mother? Will she think that a woman's role is in home? I really hope that I can help her see that she holds her own destiny. That she can be whoever she wants to be so long as she works hard to get there. I always talk about the value of things, be it a monetary value or an emotional value. When they are both older I do intend to be working again. In fact I'm already looking at ways to carve out a new career from home.
I don't want to appear ungrateful or boastful about being SAHM but I just wanted to sum up how I've felt over the past 6 months.
So the benefits of being a SAHM:
I get to escape the guilt that accompanies the return to work and not being around my little ones (but working mums - you shouldn't feel guilty at all, I just know I did when I returned to work after my first).
I don't have to suffer the guilt of relying on childcare (although there should be no guilt)
I don't have to rely on anybody for childcare or pay the extortionate cost of it.
I don't have to worry about being on my employer's blacklist for time off sick (when there are two kids in the house there always seems to be a time of the year where we are suffering bug after bug!).
I can take part in all the school activities and do the school runs without having to juggle holidays and cover.
I get to (try to) meal plan and cook family meals (most of the time - I actually get a sense of achievement when I do this, sad I know).
I don't bring in the bacon and therefore have to rely on money from my OH - which is a pretty hard thing to accept after being independent from the age of 17.
I don't get much time in the company of adults without the demands of little people.
Going to the toilet alone is a rare opportunity.
I sometimes doubt myself and struggle to find my sense of worth.
I feel like I should be able to keep an immaculate house and when it's not (which is most of the time) I feel like a failure - after all what do I do with all my time!
For all you mums out there, whatever you do SAHM, working mother, WAHM etc you are doing your best and you are doing a marvellous job. So long as kids know how much they are loved, that they are fed and watered and that they know you are there for them, then you are winning at being a mum.
This post first appeared on TalkingMums