It’s been a year since I became a temporary stay at home mom and about 6 months to go before I go back to work. I have been on unpaid childcare leave since May last year. Even though I had always considered taking unpaid childcare leave, I had been very afraid to do it. Mainly because I really don’t know if I could do it. When I hear my friends saying, “Oh I wish, I could quit my job and stay at home.” I’ve always thought to myself , “I don’t think I’d survive.” My domestic capabilities is basically non-existent and I may potentially be a fire hazard in the kitchen. It’s been 13 months and I am please to report that there is no reported case of food poisoning. And although I am not particularly passionate about laundry, no one in my house has exited my house, stark naked. Good job, Raudah.
I love my job. Farhan knows this about me. I can complain for hours about the things that happen in school but at the end of the day, it is something I really am passionate about. But , I really needed this time at home with my kids. Really really needed it. I made this decision when I was really down in my parenting journey. I’m sure I am not alone in this. Not just working moms but stay at home moms as well. There are times in your parenting journey where you lose confidence in yourself as a mother and feel that you are inadequate. I felt that everything I was doing was wrong. Everybody heal in different ways. For me, I thought long and hard and decided the way to solve it was to stay at home for a while.
I am thankful that Farhan fully supported the decision. When I was a working mother he supported me and always encouraged me to do my best. And when I said I wanted to stay at home he understood too.
I have always heard from stay at home moms just how difficult it is to be one. Now I am going to be one voicing out that sentiment.
YES! It is difficult!
I clean and it gets messy again. I cook with a crying baby and a clingy toddler. I hardly have any privacy. I calm tiny emotional humans. When I lie down, little hands and feet claw at me. I wipe vomit and poo all day. My only adult interaction is my husband.
But I have no regrets at all. I gained confidence in myself. I did things I thought I couldn’t do. I watched my daughter’s milestones firsthand. I had 24 hour access to hugs and kisses. I see my toddler picking up the things I have been repeating non-stop, and feel so rewarded.
While being a stay at home mom is difficult, remembering back my time as a working mom, I want to say that being a working mom is difficult too. Both have their challenges and sacrifices.
There is no comparison who has it worse. Both working moms and stay at home moms are working equally hard.
It’s a curious thing really , the judgement of society. It is curious because as woman, society keeps pestering us to get married and have kids as soon as possible. But as soon as you procreate , they make you feel like a lousy mother. Is it difficult to understand that moms are trying so hard to give their best to their children? Women go to work and people make judgements on how the kid is being deprived of motherly love.
I’m sure a lot of women want a job that promotes work-life balance , but the reality is that not every job is. And doesn’t mean you don’t see her bonding with her kid all the time, she is not doing it. The milestones, the sick days, the mornings and every crucial moment in that child’s life is not something a working mother want to miss but HAVE to miss. She is not missing it because she is lazing around on the beach somewhere, she is actually working. Sometimes I wonder, how is it after working hard for O’levels , NIE, Poly, Practicum, Contract teaching, I can feel bad about loving my job. When in actual fact, I would like to raise my daughter to work hard towards her dreams, whatever it may be.
Stay at home moms are not spared from societal pressure either.
The curious thing is that when I am a stay at home mother , I have received comments about how poor thing my husband is for being the only working one. From more than 5 people! Truthfully, I too at times, feel bad that my husband has to put in extra hours. On one of those days when I said that to him, he replied , “you’ve made your sacrifices. I make mine.”
Truly, that is one of the most romantic thing to hear. It feels nice for someone to acknowledge the sacrifices that I did. Because the comments i get was usually , “WOW! So good.” “Must be nice to take a break.” And although it doesn’t hurt me if you say that, I do feel like people think I’m in Venice when I am actually in the kitchen smelling strongly of onions most of the time. I sacrificed a job that I had worked my ENTIRE life for. A job that I loved. Just so I could stay at home and celebrate when my daughter first poop after a days of constipation. I work hard at home every day, it’s not a holiday.
The comments made to me as a stay at home mom didn’t really affect me as much as the working mom comments. Maybe because most of the time as a SAHM I am at home alone, minding my own business and my kids’ business (literally) . I don’t really hear what other people say. And I’m a newbie. I’ve heard other SAHM’s telling me negative things people say to them. I can’t imagine why because they are doing the most noble and important job there is!
I am currently loving being a stay at home mom, but when I do go back to work, I hope to be kinder to myself.
I am learning everyday and thankful that my husband, my parents and my in-laws for being with me every step of my parenting journey.
Which leads me to my final point:
Moms out there, be it working and stay at home moms hustling everyday. Your happiness is important. Your confidence is important. Acknowledge yourself for all that you have done. You deserve it.