As the title of this blog implies, I am still figuring out my new role as a SAHM (stay at home mom). Before I go on, I would like to put in a disclaimer that my opinions (especially my old ones) may very well be offensive to some. I feel the need to write them down in an effort to explain and even gain personal insight into why I am where I am now and how radically life changing having kids has been for me.
The image I have always had in my head of who I wanted to be is still reconciling with who I am now. Truth is, the term SAHM always had a negative connotation in my mind until recently. My biggest example of a SAHM was my mom. I love my mom dearly and have always respected her, but I also always knew that her circumstances were rather extreme, i.e. she had five kids and was living in a country where she had no family support. I basically discounted her example because it was too far off the beaten track. Beyond my mom, I believed a SAHM was a woman who couldn't succeed in a career because of a lack of drive, because she was unable to make enough to cover daycare, or likely both. I simply knew that was never going to be me because I had always worked so hard. In college I filled up my credit load as high as the school would let me and often worked close to full time in addition. How on Earth could kids slow me down enough to keep me from working all together? Besides my mom, the major positive role models throughout my life that were women were all career driven.
I served tables for much of my college career. Serving was really good money, flexible hours, and I had lots of fun coworkers that provided excuses to overindulge. For almost 3 years I worked at The Cheesecake Factory, a restaurant in a relatively affluent suburb full of SAHMs. I served many of them in particular during the lunch hours. The restaurant was attached to a popular mall so it was common to see women out and about shopping and then stopping in for lunch. There were of course plenty of normal and respectable moms that I served. There was also the occasional overly-entitled yuppie mom that would come in with a very distinct air of superiority. I remember talking to one such woman, she had two kids, she did not work, yet her kids were at home with the full time nanny. She told me how that day was her "mani/pedi day" which was every Wednesday and the next day she was shopping for their next all-inclusive vacation in some tropical getaway. Talk about off the beaten path, regardless, she didn't exactly do wonders for my view on SAHMs. She was certainly an extreme example but was not the only one.
As you can see, my views on SAHMs were immature, skewed by a minority, and naive at best. It wasn't until I had my own children that I really understood. When I became pregnant the first time I was freshly into my career. Going back to work was not even a question in my mind because of my preconceptions and also because my hubby was still in school so we needed my income. I was lucky to have maternity leave for six months before resuming work. I came back without any issue and transitioned to having him in daycare relatively easily. I didn't even cry the first day. Within a couple months of being back I was pregnant again and I realized that I was not going to be going anywhere within a career if I kept needing maternity leave. I had changed jobs to something that was simply a paycheck to me. I couldn't work in a lab anyway while being pregnant since I would either be around chemicals or potentially dangerous pathogens all day. The most profound change in me during this time was the realization of how quickly babies develop and turn into little kids. Here my son had gone from being a completely dependent little infant to a bundle of personality. Every time I was amazed by the rate of his developments and milestone, he would surprise me with even more. I very slowly started regretting the time away from him I had every weekday. It made me sad and it made me even sadder to think I would be going through it with two kids shortly. This feeling built throughout my pregnancy and by the time I had my daughter I already knew in my mind that I didn't want to go back.
Hubs was surprisingly on board with me but my last hurdle was my guilt. I felt selfish staying home and "not working" while the burden of supporting our family was placed solely on his shoulders. I still struggle with this on occasion but he has never shown anything other than support for me. He told me that as much as he likes being with the kids he needs his time to be away and he really enjoys his work. He appreciates that I am at home raising our kids and believes that it is worth the loss of income from my end. I am so lucky to have him. So here I am today, I love being a SAHM and would never have it any other way. I do miss working sometimes, but not enough for any regret to peak through. I have learned to let go of my pride that came from supporting myself and my family and channel it into pride in how I am raising my children.
Now if I could just slip in a nanny 2 or 3 days per week so I can go shopping that would just be the icing on the cake. Hahahaha.