From an accidental stay at home mom

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From an accidental stay at home mom

I’ve been cruising around the Internet today and lots of heated debates around SAHM and ‘working” Moms, the fur is flying.  I think it is a really personal choice based on about 1,582 things that each person needs to consider (or maybe the choice gets made for you….). I was not supposed to be here, really I wasn’t.  My plan, our plan, THE plan was that I would go back to work after my son was born.  I took three months maternity leave and after two weeks of being back on the job, I got laid off…..lots of us did…..all Project Managers were “let go”.  Wow that was a lot to wrap my head around, now what???

Honestly, I was scared.  Financially we could swing it (thank you husband) but mentally the idea of not working was……well completely foreign to me. I hadn’t considered it before and it wasn’t a choice, more like an unexpected circumstance.  I worked my entire life at that point…from the time I was 16 until I got laid off at 35 and sometimes I worked multiple jobs.  And before I was legally able to work, I worked.  I raked leaves, shoveled snow, cleaned, babysat…I hustled because there was no money tree in our shabby little apartment.  I was raised by a single mom and we were broke.  I worked because I wanted clothes, junk food, roller skates and in order to get those things I needed to make money.  I mentally took in many lessons from my single mom.  She always said “don’t become a secretary” and the not always verbal but always present and paramount life lesson – don’t depend on a man.  Well shit now I have a 3 month old baby and no J-O-B and a husband OK with me staying home.

To complicate things further I had a very difficult delivery with life threatening complications which were discovered at 39 weeks pregnant.  So a part of me was just happy to be alive.  I had to talk myself through the not working thing, I really did.  Told myself that if this was my last day on earth….how would I want to spend it….working some job or taking care of my baby.  Truth be told I did send out some resumes but it was a half-hearted attempt.  Part of me could not justify making a choice to work and leaving child care up to someone else a big chunk of the time……simply because I HAD a choice.  It’s a different game all together if it isn’t a choice, I get that.

So why the hostility between SAHMs and working moms….my theory is guilt.  Only my theory based on my own experience not a universal truth peeps so calm down….your theory may kick my theory’s ass at recess….I don’t really care.  You see I had guilt as a SAHM because I was used to being financially independent and I had to constantly tell myself it’s OK, it’s best for the family (and it was best for us the hubs traveled internationally, no family help, we moved and starting a new job would have really messed things up if I could find a job).  I felt guilt for the lessons my mom taught me growing up. I was falling short by depending on a man.  I think working moms feel guilt because they don’t see their kids as much.  It’s just a hard frickan’ job if you do it right whether or not you work outside the home.

I had to step away from my practical always working self and do something completely different from what I carefully planned.  Sorry atheists….but for me being a SAHM was an act of faith.  You see at that time between the health issues, unexpected unemployment, moving and other changes I really felt like the universe was telling me to stay home, so I did.  Honestly it is not something I did gracefully.  It was out of necessity and circumstances that were bigger than me.

So fast forward 11+ years and how has being a SAHM served me.  If I am honest I got the perks and the liabilities in good measure. The perks are obvious, I haven’t missed a thing with my kids.  First steps, first tooth, first haircut, first day of anything – I was there for all of it (still am).  I walk into my kids school and I know half the faculty, the school board and 70% of the kids by name.  I have created a network of go to moms that can get me through the next 7 years of school in this district. I have volunteered for everything (exception: I refused to get on the school board that is just bat shit crazy).

The liabilities are pretty stacked too thankfully some of them have passed.  My first born was a colicky baby who had night terrors and did not sleep through the night for FOUR mofo years and that is the truth.  My kids are about 20 months apart and I got up with each of them every.single.time. During those years I fantasized about a fist full of Tylenol PM and a dark quiet hotel room ALONE. That was hard and I wasn’t “loving” the SAHM thing then….thought it would be good to get away from the little lovies a few hours a day but I couldn’t. I looked forward to medical appointments some days it was easier to have the blood drawn from a nurse.  What saved my ass was a small group of women in a Moms Club.  Their reasons for being home were more planned but the friendships made the hard times bearable.

Bottom line is every one is on their own particular journey and I really don’t think it’s my place to judge yours.  If you want to judge mine have at it….I learned a long time ago that what other people think of me is none of my business.

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2 responses »

  1. Nice! That last line really resonated. I’ve heard folks say that and that’s always been hard for me. I’m trying to make it my mantra. For me, working was a choice AND a necessity and I just don’t get why people get defensive over others’ decisions. Another person’s life is their life; it’s not a judgment about anyone else’s.

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    • Hey thanks for stopping by and reading my post and bonus points for commenting on it! I am still new at bogging so I get stupid excited when people comment or “like” anything. Thanks again.

      Like

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