But everyone else works…

mazeThe challenges of being a stay-at-home mum and combating them – your choices

One friend of mine returned to part-time work when her baby was two months old and was working full-time by the time Zara was four months. I couldn’t help feeling, “If she can do it, why aren’t I able to? It is hard enough to meet all that is demanded of me and yet I am at home all day. How does she manage a full-time job and to be a mum?” Melba has a dynamic career and I admire her enormously. But there is a high price to pay: Melba does not see as much of her daughter as her husband or her own mother. She has had to deal with lack of understanding from work colleagues and the tension between her demanding job and the desire to be with her daughter. Melba is drained and tired at the end of each week and even her recovery from pregnancy seemed to take longer than most women.

You may feel envious of friends who go back to work and it can be hard to see others working and managing to be mothers. I think the reality is that we all have choices, and you would be able to work and be a mum if that is what you choose to do. However we need to make our own choices based on our own situation and priorities. If you decide not to return to work even if your friends make different choices, stick with what you believe is right for your family.

Going back to my friend Melba, although her lifestyle appears alluring, I have stopped envying her, as the reality is gritty hard work with a high price tag. I didn’t want to be exhausted or leave my tiny baby five days a week. Friends like Melba need my support and I need not to feel undermined but rejoice in my own decision to be at home.

Just because mothers have the right to work and no longer automatically remain at home does not mean that society should frown on those who choose to stay at home. I am not against mothers being in the workplace, but rather it is about having a real choice. The feminist revolution has achieved so much for women, but don’t allow it to remove your right to mother your own children if you wish to. It used to be a traditional role, but now it feels more rebellious to stay at home with your child. If you are pouring time and energy into the next generation, it is just as valuable as working outside the home. Hold your head up high stay-at-home mums!

This is part of a series of considering the positive and negative aspects of being at home. Choose the category ‘Why am I a stay-at-home mum?’ to read more in this series.

Image credit: efffective.com

  1. Thanks for this post! I totally agree. I’m a half-stay-at-home-mum as I work parttime and the choice to stay at home with my kids wasn’t easy. I went back to work when my son was 2 months old, but my hubby was taking care of him and that was a great help for me. Then our situation changed. My girls were born in another country and my hubby did go back to work. First I felt forced to stay at home, but then I realized that I couldn’t and wouldn’t lead a double-stressed ‘work and mum’ life. I wouldn’t be able to perform well enough, neither as mum nor as working-lady. If I feel rebellious to stay at home with my child? I don’t know if rebellious, but privileged, yes. I did work hard a lot before having children and somehow think I ‘deserve’ this time now.

  2. I’m so glad I bumped into your blog. I love this post as I have been dealing with this issue for most of my life. Many of my friends have high flying careers and have nannys taking care of their babies or toddlers. As a result, they sometimes say to me, well you have time because you are home all day. Um, yes, I am at home, but no, I don’t have all the time in the world. I am cook, chauffeur, teacher, guide, special projects coordinator etc. etc. I am many things and I’m happy with the fact that I have chosen to be at home. I do miss going to work, it is 10 yrs since I have and that revelation alone was really difficult for me. I’m now in a good place because I finally realized I don’t have to justify my role as stay at-home mum to everyone. I am blessed to be able to stay at home and take care of them for now.

    • homemum said:

      Thank you for your email. It is a challenge and it is fine to reevaluate what we are doing and if it is still the right season to be a stay-at-home mum – and if it is – feel fine with the decision to remain at home! One day it might be the right time to return to work. Sometimes I see nannys who care for friends’ children and to be frank, the nannys are young and tend to treat looking after a precious little person in a slightly offhand way. I am sure not all nannys are like that… but I’m sure you know what I mean.

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