Being a mom is enough. Say it with me. Being a Stay at Home Mom. IS. Enough.
Many women work while raising families, which is, in no unequal terms – AMAZING. Raising a family is hard, time-consuming, grueling, ever-changing, labor-intensive (rewarding) work.
At the same time, women who stay home are bombarded with the ideas that we are losing ourselves, forcing our forgotten dreams onto our children, orbiting their needs, and putting the expectation of our life’s happiness on their wee shoulders.
Give me a break.
I know a first-time mama. Back in December 2019, her post made me realize what kind of pressure we put on ourselves as women.
My response to her is much the same as what I would like to share with you today. #nofixingneeded
There’s more, but then I wouldn’t have much to talk about. At the end of the day, in my opinion, this is what matters:
Be Proud, Mama.
When I became a full-time stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I did my research first. I collected the advice of a handful of friends and acquaintances that decided to stay home. None of these women had to choose between supporting their family financially or raising their children full-time. When I began staying home, I made sure to do one thing.
Work a side-hustle.
The one thing these women all had in common was that they were busy outside of 24/7 childcare.
Let me pause to say I admire these women for their dual-jobs. I admire all working moms because I do not enjoy working and being home full-time. I do not experience pleasure or a sense of accomplishment from it. Instead, I experience overwhelm, mama-guilt, and spousal-guilt. So if I’m doing this, that, and the next thing while neglecting a sink full of dishes—am I really doing the job I signed up for?
I did the side-hustle.
Something I enjoyed and could be passionate about: I worked it. HARD.
All of my free time poured into my side-gig. I’m Type-A, so anything worth doing better be worth doing at 115%. My side-hustle also required much of my time outside of the home after my husband returned from work. He was incredibly supportive and could see how it was tearing me apart to decide between being what our culture sees as goal-oriented, productive, and accomplished and being “just” a SAHM.
When I decided to stay home, I was so much happier.
Mamas, there’s no shame in working. There’s no shame in staying home. There’s no shame in doing both.
I know mothers who had worked to be comfortable telling people that they stay home when asked, “What do you do for a living?” It’s such a common question in our society. Women are both socialized to live your dreams AND look after a household. We aren’t socialized to live our dreams and depend on someone else to look after a household.
I’m not bagging on men. I have an incredibly helpful husband who breaks the mold comparatively to working men decades ago. That being said, I doubt many men experience the mental and emotional load women do as we are brought up to raise the kids, clean the house, look impeccable, remember birthdays, send cards for anniversaries, plan parties, bake school treats, make (or remember to buy) Halloween costumes. As much as my husband does for our family, I am 99.5% sure if left to his own devices, there would be no Halloween costume, and five out of seven nights per week, dinner would consist of pizza, bread, sandwiches, or bread rounds.
Here’s the rest of my response to sweet Mayra, who so kindly agreed to share her story with you today. A young mom feeling the pressures of our society.
“I think our culture tells us women have to be more, more all of the time. Work like you don’t have kids and raise kids like you don’t work. It’s really unfair, especially to women who truly feel their calling is in the home. It can make you feel incomplete, insufficient like you’re wasting your time and talents.”
You know what?! I’m not. I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Human Services with ample study in Child Development. I use my education Every. Single. Day.
In my opinion, if you “stopped” having goals, it’s because you found a new level of enlightenment by becoming a wife and mother. That’s OK. Don’t let society put you in a box that makes you feel like you aren’t enough. I once felt like this and expressed it to my friend. She said, “Sara, you didn’t stop having goals. You love what you’re doing. How can you not feel great about that? You concern yourself with your kids and your family and how you treat and impact others. Those are goals.”
You know what—she’s totally right.
I think life is intended for you to do what you love if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so.
I dream of having amazing, well-rounded children who treat others with kindness, charity, dignity, and respect. I’m DONE with the pressure we put on our kids to become doctors, astronauts, and the next president. Those ideals are great, but our kids shouldn’t have to feel like they failed in life because they didn’t become the next big thing.
That’s my soapbox, friends.
Goals change, dreams change, perspectives change. I have interests outside of my kids, and I’ll bet you do, too, even if you don’t have ample time to pursue them right now. Some day you will.
For now, it is just fine—great even—to be “just” a stay-at-home-mom.
You do you.