Today I’m going to write about my experience with being a stay-at-home mum. Up until about 2016 I was a working mum. Is that what they are called? I took care of my children and I went to work. It felt good. I felt like I was handling things. The paychecks were good, and I’d miss the kids but I felt good about myself. When I fell pregnant with Abigal (my third baby), I took on working for my dad in Real Estate, which meant I could work from home. Most people would be over the moon but I’ve had a lot of ups and downs with it. It took a while to get used to not going out to work and my life is totally different now.
For the longest time I struggled with how I looked to people on the outside. I thought that people would make the assumption that I’m lazy, or that I refuse to work. In the beginning, I even felt lazy myself. What am I doing with my life? What life? I have no life, I just stay at home with the kids. I think the hardest thing for me was the feeling that I’d completely lost myself. I’m just Laura, the mum. There’s nothing else to me. I sit at home and watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse all day (Which is mind numbing), wishing I could just go soak in the bath or communicate with a friend face to face, but then the thought of actually putting on some nice clothes and doing my makeup sounds too much like hard work.
Being a stay-at-home mum, you can’t just disappear off to work and get that freedom. Yeah, I know it’s work, but how many of you look forward to getting out of the house without the kids for a bit? To go from working full-time to going to pottering around the house after kids all day, it’s a massive shock to the system and I think it’s totally normal to feel trapped or like you’re in prison. It’s definitely lonely. All you have is kids to talk to. You lose your social life. Social media becomes your “me time”. People stop visiting you. Friends make less of an effort to come see you and all of a sudden you’ve gone from working and having friends to it just being you and your kids. It’s hard. When your kid has slapped food into your hair and having their 50th meltdown of the day, you just want to run away and be a free adult for a day. I’d a damn mess.
I also started to wonder what my purpose in life is. What am I meant to be doing? There has to be something other than this. I’m just wasting my life.
I have these voices in my head that are always nagging at me. Telling me how crap I am. They’ve caused so much anxiety and low self esteem over the years. I haven’t seen myself as someone who deserves good things. I feel guilty if I do get good things. I’m not super mum who takes care of the kids and bakes, makes fabulous dinners and cleans the house all at the same time. I’m not a Pinterest mum, I don’t take my kids out every single day, I don’t give my kids my entire attention ALL day. Sometimes when one of them comes in with a cut on their leg from playing outside, I just slap a plaster (band-aid) on it and send them on their way. Sometimes I don’t cut the crusts off their sandwiches. Sometimes I sneak off into another room for five minutes and lay on the bed, scrolling through social media. If the house isn’t perfect, I start getting annoyed at myself because I feel useless even though the reality of it is, I spend most of my day cleaning up, getting absolutely nowhere with it. In my head, no matter what I do, it’s not good enough. I’m sure I’m not the only mum who feels that way but you feel alone with it.
On top of everything, I have a constant worry every day on how I’m going to give my kids the best life. Especially the baby. If you’ve read my other blogs, you’ll know I’m raising her alone. I don’t get child support, it’s just me doing absolutely everything, and it’s a lot of pressure. So I put that on myself too. Usually when you’re a stay-at-home mum, you have a husband or at least an ex husband / ex partner helping support your child. This isn’t the case for me, so then I think to myself should I just go and get 3 jobs so my kids can have a better life? I also wanted to get back to work so I could feel like a human-being again. Ditch the sweat pants and bun for some nice clothes and feel proud of myself. In theory it seems like a better idea, but in the end I know it isn’t. Because my kids need me to be present and I know that now I’ve been on both sides of the fence, this is the side I prefer.
I started to think about how happy my kids are, which makes me happy. Yeah they fight with each other, trash the house and drive me to the point of insanity, but I love them for it. I think of how they never have to miss me, because I’m right here all the time. I’m not having someone else take care of them, I’m taking care of them myself. I’m the one raising them. I’m always there for them and I don’t have to miss out on anything. I don’t miss school functions, I don’t miss school runs, I don’t miss holidays, doctors visits, anything. I start to realise that had I been working away full-time, I probably wouldn’t have noticed JJ’s speech and ear problems so quickly, or been able to get the issues fixed in such a timely manner. I started to appreciate the fact that I’m able to spend as much time with them as possible, and the bond with them is better than ever. I stopped seeing it as being stuck at home all the time and started appreciating it, because one day they’ll be all grown up and I’ll miss these days. I’ll miss them coming up to me for random cuddles. I’ll miss their silly little quirks. I’ll miss everything. So yeah, I’m grateful for the fact that I’m with my children all the time and but I’m also at peace with the need to switch off for a few minutes. I’m an adult. Nothing to feel bad about.
I DO HAVE A PURPOSE!
Whatever long term goals I have outside parenting, it will never be as important as the job I’m doing now. I care more about my kids than I do myself. I don’t need freedom, I need them! Sacrificing a social life and a work life was difficult at first but it’s totally worth it. I want to be around my babies all the time. They are my best friends. When I’m feeling lonely, I look at them and realise I’m not alone. I have 3 best friends with me allllll the time and they are hilarious and make me feel loved.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent and you’ve had any doubts about yourself, then please know that you’re amazing and your kids will appreciate you being around. You’re raising humans and doing a damn good job of it, and even if you’re not a stay-at-home parent, you’re amazing too! We are all doing our best, no matter what our parenting style is.