I recently came across a question posed by a Mum on a parenting forum:
Is it really that much hard work being a Stay-At-Home-Mum?
There were already lots of replies, some saying something like “Yes, its bloody hard work and don’t you forget it!” and others saying “No, they have it easy!” or words to that effect.
My own answer may surprise some people:
Being a Stay-At-Home-Mum is as easy or hard as you make it. If you let yourself get harassed and feel rushed, then you’re going to find it hard. If you prioritise and take things at an even pace without worrying about it all, you’ll find it a lot easier.
For me, the hard part is feeling like I have to justify being a Stay-At-Home-Mum because so many people assume you sit at home all day doing nothing and watching daytime television. I find myself very busy and actually have to use a diary to keep track of what we’re doing every day so I don’t schedule an outing at the same time as a doctors’ appointment or when someone is coming to visit. Xan is now of an age where he finds it fun to join in with some of the housework, so I let him run round the livingroom waving a feather duster or sweeping the kitchen floor while I do a little cleaning, and he loves to help with the laundry – so much so that he actually shouts “Washing time!” when he thinks we should do it!
I’m lucky in that my hubby does still pitch in with the housework, but that’s just the kind of person he is. Yes, he works a full-time job, but he appreciates that so do I – I just don’t get paid for mine. His thing is to do the laundry with Xan because they have fun while they do it. Hubby gets playtime with Xan while I make the dinner and do the dishes – it’s a fair deal. 🙂
Yes, there are days where it feels like I get nothing done because Xan is demanding all of my attention that day for whatever reason (sometimes because he’s feeling under the weather, sometimes because he’s going through a developmental milestone and just wants me to be with him), and there are days when I just get done only to find that the place is a mess again already – those are the frustrating days – but there are days where everything goes smoothly too. And every day feels like a major accomplishment because we’ve always done something constructive together, whether or not the housework got done that day!
Anyway, after that rambling post, all I wanted to say is that it’s other people’s perceptions of being a Stay-At-Home-Mum that makes things most difficult because we are often made to feel what we do is worthless or pointless and are made to feel guilty that we’re not out earning money. Not so very many years ago, it was the reverse – mothers who went out to work were frowned upon and the Stay-At-Home-Mums were thought of as the norm and it was the expected thing to do!
Oh, and by the way, I do have an evening job a few nights per week, but my daytimes are all about Xan!