Let’s be clear. Being a Stay at Home Mum IS a job. Then why do I feel so ashamed?

I am a stay at home Mum. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this.

It was never in the cards for me. Working Mum. That is what I thought I would be. But when the fates aligned that I would try for months and months to search for paid part time work and not find it, I reached the point where I had to be comfortable with my role or I would go slowly insane. 

When I first told my closest friends that I was going to be a stay at home Mum, I felt embarrassed. This group of women were hugely successful in their careers. Balancing work and motherhood. I felt inferior. Like I was taking the easy route. I felt that I no longer belonged to their tribe and was unworthy of ever complaining about being tired or lonely. By staying home and my partner supporting us financially, I felt like I had to shut up about my feelings and just be grateful for the time I get to spend with my child without having to balance work.

One of my friends pointed out “But why would you feel embarrassed? Most of our Mums did not work until we were in primary school and we never thought anything different.”

She had an incredibly good point. It made me ask the questions, “Was our parents generation, the last generation that having one parent stay at home even be possible for most families? Either because of the cost of living, the competitive housing market or the lack of flexible part time working arrangements?”

I have tried endlessly to search for employment. Time and time again I have been looked over. I go into depth about this in my article Discrimination against Mums in the Workplace I feel like I have no other choice at this time than to be a stay at home Mum. I have found some steady freelancing writing work which is amazing. But it is not enough to call myself a ‘Working Mum’. 

The thing is, I love working. I enjoyed what I did in financial services. I found it rewarding. But I also love being a stay at home Mum. I lead a busy life. My son is incredibly high energy and active. We go out twice a day. To playgrounds, music class, sensory class, playgroup and on adventures. I read countless books to him. I am trying to teach him to cook. I am not sitting around in my pyjamas watching television and eating blocks of chocolate.

I am a busy stay at home Mum. It is a full time job. I know if I was to go to work, that someone else would be taking care of my son anyway. It is not like he would be sitting in a room staring at a wall.  

But there is a very real stereotype that stay at home parents have it easy. That they should do all of the housework and have a perfect meal on the table every night. What do they have to complain about after all. How lucky that we get to spend so many precious moments at home with our children making memories!

But this could not be further from reality. Yes there are wonderful moments of course. But it is damn hard work. Physically and emotionally exhausting. My back aches constantly from lugging my chubby toddler everywhere. The tantrums I deal with are insane. I get bored of reading the same book over and over and constantly trying to reason with a tiny human with a stronger will than iron. I feel tired, all the time. It is incredibly rewarding yes. But then for some, so is going to work!

Because of the stereotype that stay at home Mums have it easy, I feel like I do not have the right to be honest about the hardships. That I made this choice to stay home and now I have to deal with it. But just like going to work, we need to not be so quick to judge that staying at home was even a choice for a family. 

I want to stress that in no way has any of my friends or my husband made me feel inferior for being a stay at home mum. Everyone has been incredibly supportive. I admire other stay at home Mums, and always have. My fears and feelings have all been internally pushed onto me by myself.

I am hoping that the longer time passes, the more comfortable I will be in my role. I just have to find the balance between being a stay at home Mum and also being a successful woman in my own right. After all, success is not just driven by work achievements.

I am a success because my son is confident and energetic and loving.

I am a success because I have found that I am a good writer.

I am a success because I am active, healthy and strive to be part of a community.

I am a success because my home is clean, welcoming and full of love.

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Love Sally

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read My Surprising Post Baby Body

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