Ever hear the question, ” What could you possibly do all day?” I didn’t want to be a stay at home mom.
Want to Be a Stay at Home Mom? Not Me
When people ask kids what they want to be when they grow up, they hear the typical responses: fireman, policeman, princess, teacher, baseball/basketball/football player, cook, etc. Does any child ever say ” I want to be a stay at home mom!” ?
No, and there’s a reason for that.
I Didn’t Want to Be a Stay at Home Mom
I wanted to be a teacher. Sure, there were fleeting moments when I thought “How cool is it that Mom gets to stay home and not go to work!”, but I set my goal to be a teacher, and a teacher I became.
I first taught Middle School Spanish for two years and then I taught 8th grade Language Arts for four years. It was a dream come true for me: I taught at a nice school, with nice colleagues, and for the most part, nice kids.
Soon after my first year of teaching, I married my high school sweetheart. In my third year of teaching, we had our first baby, a bouncing baby boy.
I took my maternity leave, and went back to school the next year. My mom was a SAHM still, and she watched the baby during the day so I could work and be a working mom.
This plan worked very well for two years. I then became pregnant with our second baby. Right up until the month of my due date, I had planned on going back to work after maternity leave.
I never saw my due date. My daughter arrived three weeks early, throwing me into maternity leave earlier than I had planned.
All my plans, especially the financial ones, shifted greatly, and I began to do a lot of thinking.
Choosing to Be a Stay at Home Mom
Because my maternity leave began earlier than planned, it changed how many vacation days I was able to use and how much of my salary I was going to receive while on leave.
My husband and I had to do some quick thinking as to how we were going to keep up with the bills. We figured it all out, but in the process we had to make a lot of changes about how we spent our money.
We began living as if we only had one income, which was basically what it boiled down to. Easy enough: we weren’t spending money on childcare (we did pay my mom) and I wasn’t buying enough gas for a 80 mi trip to and from work.
But I had thoughts about the future. In a few months, I would be returning to work, which meant that both kids would need child care. We would either be paying my mom double to watch both kids or we would find a day care and pay for both kids to go. We weighed our options.
And then it came up.
I wasn’t ready for it. I mean, back when my husband and I went through pre-marital counselling with our minister, we talked about the potential for me to be a stay-at-home mom, but it wasn’t a promise I made, at least to myself. I was a teacher, and a teacher I’d stay.
But on the other hand, I really wanted to be home with my kids, to be the one to raise them and care for them…
A battle within had begun.
I fought hard. I cried. I begged and pleaded with myself to find some way to make it all work. For five long months, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I spoke with my husband about it, and he was going to support whatever decision I was going to make.
The week before I had to tell my boss whether or not I was going to return, I drafted an email to him and a letter I would send via snail mail to be professional. It was short, maybe five sentences long, but it took me hours to write. Still at that point, I didn’t know what I was going to do.
I sent it. I had decided: I was going to be a stay at home mom.
The moment I sent the email, I sobbed. My husband held me as I sobbed, knowing how hard it was for me to give up a job I loved so much.
Being a Stay at Home Mom
So here I am. I have been a stay at home mom now for 8+ years.
Let’s go back to a question I asked earlier: Do any kids say they want to be stay-at-home parents?
The answer was no. Why not?
Let’s look at that. When you think of a SAHM, what do you picture? A well dressed woman (or man if we’re talking stay-at-home parents)? Someone who loves cooking, cleaning, laundering, chauffeuring, organizing, etc?
Probably not. In fact, society tends to paint SAHMs as women in jammies lounging on the couch eating Bon-Bons (do they even make those any more? Nevermind. Just searched and found interesting info!) or playing with kids all day.
Of course not everyone thinks that, but you get the picture. Ever hear the question, “What could you possibly do all day?”
I have. And while most of the time I say I sit on the couch watching soaps and eating Bon-Bons, that question irks me to no end.
What do you mean what do I do all day?
I’m not climbing onto a soapbox here. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before.
Would a child want a job that receives very little public respect? Nope, because it’s not until you’ve grown up that you realize what the job truly entails and how even though there’s very little public respect, you still can do something so rewarding.
As a stay at home mom, I have realized how much my mother went through to be home with me and my four other siblings. It can be a lonely job most of the time, and definitely an exhausting job. Sure, there may be clutter around at times and chores never quite seem to get finished when there’s little ones running around, but you work around the clock.
While I wouldn’t have chosen this job as a child, I am glad as an adult that it chose me. It’s been 8+ years of the most rewarding work I have ever done, even though I’m still getting the hang of it all.
I’m not a domestic diva by any means, but I can take care of things. I still get to play teacher with the kids and when I write online, but I also get to be Mom to my three fabulous kids 24/7.
And who wouldn’t want that job?
Tell me your SAHM stories!
What made you decide to be a SAHM? What questions do you have about being a SAHM? I love hearing from you!
I was a SAHM for 6 years. It was because with no education and minimum wage jobs I couldnt afford daycare. While staying at home I got my teaching degree (still havent found a teaching job yet) I went back to work last year after I left my husband. Being a sahm wasnt for me yes it was rewarding but I took for granted the time I had with my kids. Both have pros and cons I can say being a SAHM is way harder than people make it out to be.
It isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure! I enjoyed working, especially as a teacher. To each their own! Thanks for sharing your story!
Rachel Alba says
I was a stay at home mom. My girls are all grown up now and I’m a grandmother. I had a job with the PA Gas and Water Company when I got pregnant with my first child. In those days you could only work till your 7th month of pregnancy.
I took a maternity leave but after holding my first little baby girl, so small, so dependent on me, I actually had jealous feelings about any one else holding her and comforting her when she cried or feeding her when she was hungry.
I wanted that job all by myself, I was her “mommy”. So, it was an easy decision for me. That was in 1972. In 1975 I had another little baby girl. I was never sorry for being a SAHM.
I was able to take them to their doctor visits and hold them when they had to get shots, not someone else. I was there to take them to their first day of school.
My first daughter cried when I had to put her on the school bus and I cried all the way home and the whole day till she got off the bus and she was smiling.
I was there when they were teenagers and they came home from school with tears in their eyes about hardships they had in school and they needed me to talk to and help them and pray with them. We prayed every morning before school and I wouldn’t have had time for that if I had to rush off to work. I made them breakfast every morning and packed them a lunch every day. Am I sorry I was a SAHM??? Not one bit!!!
It really is an awesome thing to be there for the kids like that, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything! I had no idea you could only work until 7 months of pregnancy. Things have changed!
Robin Wilson says
First let me say thanks for being a teacher. My neighbors are both teachers and I know just how many hours they put in every day and how hard they work with very little thanks at times. Then let me say that there is nothing about being a mom that isn’t work, even if it’s work done with and because of love. But I know what it means not to be able to go back into the workforce. It made me feel non-productive somehow. I hope that’s not how your feel, even this blog has to be hard “work”. So congrats for being a SAHM! You are a hard worker!
Thank you for everything you said!