This last week, I hosted an AMA session. Yip, I had no clue what that was either! It’s basically a website that allows others to “Ask Me Anything”. Honestly, I thought I would get a whole lot of random questions that didn’t relate to being a wife, mom or blogger at all. But, I was pleasantly surprised (and challenged!) by the questions!
One question that really got me thinking was,
“What do you feel are unfair misconceptions people have about SAHM?”
Wow! I realised I clearly have another soapbox that I was unaware of. And because I wrote my answer in the form of an essay, I thought it was worth sharing.
(*Side note- These are my thoughts and don’t necessarily reflect the feelings of all SAHMs.)
5 MISCONCEPTIONS OF A STAY-AT-HOME-MOM
- We just sit at home and do nothing all day – this is probably the biggest and most frustrating one! It really gets my back up. I think as a mom, you never have down time. Yes, some days we sit in the garden and have a cup of tea while our tot plays in the mud. But we can just sit there and watch them for max ten minutes before our child is climbing over us, has a finger stuck in the watering can, yelling because a toe has been stubbed or just dragging us off to push a swing or see a discovery. That’s the down The rest is pretty manic. All the housework needs to happen. A little person cannot function independently for an extended period of time and you are constantly being required to give time, energy, brain power, etc. You don’t stop giving. It was always interesting how parents would come on an outing with us when I was teaching and, afterwards, would say “I don’t know how you do it!”; “I could never do this!”; “It takes a special person to work with kids.” Parenting 24/7 365 days is no different. When parents go to work, they have some time away from their kids. They miss their kids. They come home without having a build-up of frustration and fights all day. I do not want to belittle the responsibilities and stresses of a working parent but I think there is an escape to some degree and it’s less the child being the reason for frustration and more the circumstances. I could not imagine being a parent and working full time but I have found that time away from my daughter does sometimes give me a bit of perspective. It makes me realise how much I love her and miss her when she’s not around. A break also gives my brain time to unwind. As much as being a SAHM is a joy, it is no easy task and it’s full on, all the time, no break.
- We’re sacrificing our careers – I think that although some women may see it as a sacrifice, I do not. Sure, I miss teaching! I miss the stimulation! But, I sure wouldn’t change it! It’s a sacrifice to work! Work at the end of the day means little. Relationships and influencing your child is of eternal value. Time goes so quickly and is so short! My child is and always will be more important than money, than status, etc. So then, in my mind, I should logically invest in what is most important. The years we can influence and shape our children are brief. I, personally, want to be the primary caregiver. I want to be the one who shapes my child. It’s so hard to find someone who would raise and care for my child the way I would and instill the values that I deem important. If you are able to be at home, then I think you are not sacrificing anything by being with your child. You are sacrificing influential and precious years being away from them. Again, I realise that for everyone, this is not always possible.
- There’s no need for it and your child needs socialisation – I saw the effects of children who had limited parental influence at school. And to be honest, it shocked me! I believe that there is nothing more important in a child’s life than to have the stability of a loving home. And, as a parent, I want to be the one to shape my child. I don’t want to hand that huge and enormous responsibility and privilege over to someone else. I am sure there are many parents out there who don’t want to but don’t have the option. It’s easy to combat lack of socialisation. Exposure to other kids in parks, playdates and outings with other moms is a very easy way to socialise. I’ve heard people say they don’t know any moms to meet up with. Maybe this is a generalisation, but if you look for moms and babies, you will find them. My daughter socialises with at least 3 children, often more, at least 3 times a week. I don’t hover over her. I let her play alongside and I am blown away by the social skills she’s developed on her own without me prompting her to do anything.
- We’re lazy – I feel like I’ve answered this in the first point. There may be some moms out there who are. Some have full time nannies, someone to clean their house and they stay at home. I’m not quite sure what those moms do. But the moms I do know have their work cut out for them and there’s no time for a break! I’ve been wanting to tidy my study since mid-year 2017. The door is still closed because it’s something I can only do when my daughter is asleep. She’s over a year. The study is still a mess. I wouldn’t say that laziness has been the reason I’ve haven’t got there…
- We can afford it- This one really frustrates me as well! Yes, there are many moms who can. But there are some who can’t but do it anyway. I think we live in a world that only knows how to cope with two salaries if you have two parents living in the same house. So, our standard of living is higher. People lived with less when it was more common to have one parent at home. Now, things that were once luxuries have become necessities. And people don’t think that they can do without them. We’ve had to sacrifice a lot for me to be at home. House help (a given in South Africa), going out at all, buying treats, buying clothes or having money to even rent a DVD. Even the things we would have bought every month which didn’t feel extravagant are no longer something I buy without thinking twice. We don’t have any security in terms of money for food coming in from month to month – it was something my salary covered as my husband’s covers all the bills. I can only say that it is by God’s grace, mercy and provision that we’ve somehow had enough, even if it’s just because something’s on special or when money is running out, it’s time for a tax rebate. We are living by faith. We cannot afford it. Some would call us irresponsible. But it’s been a huge sacrifice and a massive leap of faith and trust in the Lord!
What about you? Are you a SAHM? I would love to hear your thoughts, your frustrations, the things you believe are misconceptions about SAHMs and your joys of being at home with your kiddies…
If you are working, what do you feel are misconceptions about working parents?
Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts!Tags: bug bears, children, frustrations, mothering, parenting, stay-at-home-mom