Perks of Being a Stay at Home Mom
You read the title right. I did write ‘perks’. Doesn’t seem right, does it?
There are many–too many, in my opinion– assumptions about being a SAHM, including:
- SAHMs do nothing all day
- SAHMs are only good for doing housework
- SAHMs lose touch with the outside world
- SAHMs do not have an education
- SAHMs are lazy
- SAHMs are on Pinterest or Facebook all day
- Yada, yada, yada
Yeah, doesn’t seem very exciting, does it? Would you apply for a job that listed those qualifications? (Ok, maybe you would depending on what your current job is like..)
Let’s try another question: would you continue working at a job if your boss listed all of the above as your best qualities without seeing any of your actual work?
Stay at home moms (or parents) get a bad rap. We’re called lazy and all other sorts of things, just because we stay home with our kids and don’t go to an outside job.
I have had it both ways. When my first boy was born, I only took a maternity leave from teaching and went back to work. I was a working mom for two years, dropping him off at my parent’s house in the morning and picking him up at the end of the day. My husband and I then cooked, cleaned, did our lesson plans and grades, and took care of my son before going to bed and starting all over again. During that time, I went back to school for my master’s degree and then discovered baby #2 was on her way.
After my oldest daughter was born, I made the very tough decision to leave the job I loved and to become a SAHM. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life, knowing that it would be very hard for people to understand why I chose to leave my profession to ‘just stay home’.
To add to the confusion, I had a third baby two years after my daughter and a fourth two years after that, prolonging the time I would not be a working parent.
What is a Stay at Home Mom?
The problem is, being a stay at home parent is not ‘just staying home’. It may seem that way to the outside world, but it’s just as time consuming as an outside job!
Instead of two people dividing the housework and childcare, most if not all of the housework and childcare is for the stay at home parent. The hours are long, and the nights are longer. They seem to just blur into each other.
But I said ‘perks’, remember?
After I dropped my oldest two off at school today, I went grocery shopping with my two little ones, and then came home to put the groceries away, feed the baby breakfast, wash the dishes, take the dog out, take apart the vacuum and clean it out, vacuum the floors, clean up the dog’s indoor area, do a load of laundry, make lunch, gather the garbage for collection tomorrow, give the baby a bottle, and get the kids to take a nap (for the first time in weeks!). I did all of this while my son ‘helped’ and and my toddler tagged along, and at that time, it was only 2 pm.
So, where are the perks?
I did all of this, my ‘job’, with my kids. Each and every second, even though for many of those seconds I may have gotten frustrated, was a teaching opportunity. My kids are learning how to take care of a house and family while they also absorb everything we do and say.
Even though I am no longer a teacher in a classroom, I am still teaching. To me, that’s a perk.
Other perks? I get to play with my kids! In between all of the housework, I played with my daughter and took both kids out for a stroll. I enjoyed both kids as they were in the moment.
While the playing and walking only lasted at max for an hour, it was still relaxing and made me remember why I made that difficult decision to stay home.
It’s for them. They are my perks, my future. My kids are my world and I am working very hard to make sure they have a happy life and learn many of life’s lessons from me.
No I don’t get time off (face it: what parent gets ANY time off?), I don’t get regularly scheduled breaks, and I am not paid. Yes, I am exhausted at the end of the day, just as any other parent would be.
But would I trade in this job for another? Not in a million years.
I started writing this a while ago, but I never got around to publishing it. It was inspired by the video below, called 3 Queens, a video from the perspective of a child as he/she watches moms in their daily lives.
I’m not looking for praise or sympathy. I’m writing this first and foremost for me to remind myself why I made this decision. I’m writing this to encourage other stay-at-home parents when they feel as if they are not doing enough. I’m writing this to all parents in general who work hard to raise a family and keep it afloat, those working at their jobs or even working from home included.
Tell me: Are you a stay-at-home parent? What do you wish you knew about being a stay-at-home parent before you became one? Do you find it rewarding?