The decision to be a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) is an extremely personal one. When our son was born, I knew instantly that I wanted to stay home with him. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! Now we have two boys, and as of this year they are both in school. Looking back over the past nine years, I wouldn’t trade my time as a SAHM for the world! But it hasn’t always been easy…
It got me thinking about all the challenges I’ve faced as a SAHM, sacrifices we’ve made, and judgments I’ve endured. So I asked some other stay-at-home-moms what their biggest challenges have been. These are some of their responses. How many of these can you relate to?
1. Adjusting to NOT Having a Schedule
Babies are extremely unpredictable! Just when you think you have yours figured out, guess what? You’re wrong! This can be a big adjustment when you are used to the structure of a job.
2. Losing Your Identity
It’s easy to get wrapped up in being “mommy”, and forget that you were once your own person.
Being a SAHM means long days with no breaks (they WILL find you even if you try to hide in the bathroom). It can be especially hard when you have a newborn. The feeling of isolation when it’s just you and the baby alone all day can be overwhelming. This is often what leads to post-partum depression. I highly recommend seeking out a local moms group to join, such as MOMS Club. I would not have survived my early days of mommyhood without the friends I made through MOMS Club! Check out these other Skinny Mom Approved Mommy & Me Play Groups.
4. Finding Balance
It can be a daily struggle to balance everything that needs to get done between taking care of the house, spending hands on time with your kids, and still managing to find time to do the things you want to do…like take a shower!
5. Mommy Guilt
This goes along with finding balance. I constantly question my abilities as a mom. Did I spend enough quality time with them today? I’m not creative enough, I’m not athletic enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not _____ enough to be everything they need in a mom!
It can be truly overwhelming to realize that you are now responsible for an entire human being! What makes me qualified to do this? Can I teach them what they need to know? Can I keep them safe?
7. Financial Sacrifices
“I wish I could afford to stay home with my kids…must be nice.” I can’t tell you how much this sentence bothers me! In most cases it takes a LOT of penny pinching, budget balancing, and sacrifice to be a SAHM. I know that if we can make it to the end of the month and still have even $0.76 in the checkbook after all the bills have been paid, it’s been a good month. I fully realize that it’s not possible for everyone, but there’s a difference between “I wish I could” and not wanting to give up a certain lifestyle.
8. Judgment from Society
Our society is not nearly as accepting of stay-at-home-moms as others. Almost as bad as “…must be nice” is “What do you DO all day?” Did you really just ask me that? I know I have a constant need to defend my choice to be a SAHM when someone asks me what I do. We live in a society where women are expected to do it all – family, career, etc. And, somehow along the way, the role of “mom” got a demotion.
9. Judgment from Other Moms
Moms are even harder on each other than society is. Moms are very quick to judge each other – what we’re feeding our kids, if we nursed or not, how long we nursed if we did, attachment parenting, vaccinations, if we let them watch television, if we let them play video games, where we’re sending them to preschool…the list goes on. Aren’t we all just trying to raise our kids to the best of our abilities?
10. Now What?
This is the phase I’m in now…the “now what?” phase. My job description has been SAHM for so long, that I don’t really know how to do anything else. Venturing back out into the working world is scary stuff! And as stated above, society in general still counts the nine year gap on my resume as “unemployed” rather than acknowledging the hard work, sacrifice, and commitment it takes to be a SAHM.
These are just a few of the challenges faced by myself and the other stay-at-home-moms. If I had tried to include them all, this would have turned into a book rather than a blog post. Hmmmm…maybe my next job description will be “author”!