I had bidden a temporary farewell to the corporate job few years back to spend time with my kids. At that time I had not anticipated that the years would fly by so swiftly. So far, I was on a roll, and completely consumed by kids and family.
Now that my kids have started schools and I have some time to fuel my own identity, I am taking steps forward to work part time, breaking the inertia, and the self doubt that got penetrated from being away from work so long.
In all the years of being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), I found that the media is overwhelmed with the articles on guilt that the working parent’s go through for not able to spend enough time with their kids. Having acknowledged this, being a SAHM is not a bed of roses either. So here is my journey of not so bright side of being a SAHM, which is not often talked about.
I was sometimes over powered by self imposed guilt to not earn my own money, which I used to in my life before kids. This also meant that I did not spend money rightfully as I used to. I felt awkward to buy birthday presents for my husband, as I was technically using his money, but gradually I came to terms with this perplexity-after all it is the thought that counts!
There were times when I wanted to share my hubby’s burden of being the sole bread winner for the family, but then I justified in my mind that I contribute to finances by taking care of the kids. As you can decipher, it was not easy for me to switch to this non earning role, even though it was my own choice and something I was so excited about.
Also, there was the guilt of the days when I had an empty calendar which did not translate to no work, but it meant those mundane days when nothing exciting happens. And in emptiness of those days, I missed getting dressed for work each morning, and the need to socialize. Because of this guilt, even on those purposeless days, I was hesitant to being indulgent and spending time in manicures or facials.
I am fully responsible for creation of my guilt feelings, but somewhere society has also played a role, where it easily accepts a parent to stay at home for new borns and toddlers, however as the kids start the school, people begin to wonder about the parent’s choice of not contributing to the bacon directly. As SAHM I worked 24/7 without any break or sick leave and I know that my contribution is invaluable in shaping the lives of little ones, and no dollar value can come close to it, but deep down I felt uncomfortable so I ended up giving explanations for my stay-at-home status.
As the above thoughts were still fresh, my son asked me, “Why is it that Dad goes to office and you do not? I explained to him, but his question exposed an important perspective, and I began to wonder if my stay-at-home all day status is skewing my kids’ outlook towards feminism, as they only see me in a traditional role of a woman. May be yes, but then I am not being a very good role model.
With all these thoughts parading in my mind, I can clearly state that my SAHM journey was a little bumpy but an extremely rewarding experience- I had my own learning curve and adjusting phase, amidst the joys of parenting. But do I ever regret my decision to stay at home? No, never, rather I feel blessed that I could put my desire of spending time with kids into an action without the concern of financials, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my children during this time, and would continue to do so.
With some spare time now, I am happy to be writing, and contributing to my hubby’ s business while still able to spend quality time with my family. At the end of the day, work choice is a decision that a couple makes considering the best for the family and their circumstances. Parenting itself is hard, and judging the parent(s) for the work choice does not make it easier for them.