All stay-at-home mums…
1. …sit on the couch and watch TV all day.
Well for starters the TV is always on, but nobody is ever watching it because we simply just don’t have the time! In between nappy changes (15-20 a day when they’re newborns!), clingy babies, bath-time, toddler tantrums, laundry, dishes, cooking, feeding and what seems like endless sleep settling…it would be a bloody miracle to be able to sit on the couch and watch tele all day. I would kill for a trashy episode of KUWTK right now, sigh.
2. …choose to let themselves “go”.
This is exactly what my naive pre-baby self thought, but it couldn’t be far from the truth! Do people really think we like leaving the house looking like we just crawled out of death’s door? Corse we don’t! But when a 2 minute shower literally becomes your daily goal (and I’m not kidding, having a shower is a real struggle) sometimes you just have to pick your battles and self-maintenance usually isn’t one of them. Our children come first, ALWAYS, and if that means we have to rush to shops to get MORE baby stuff with vomit in our hair and breastmilk soaked through our top like we’re competing in a wet t-shirt contest, then so be it.
3. …do nothing all day. They have it so easy.
I don’t know why but some people seem to think that all we do is stay at home and “mum” – pleeeease, we do so much more than that! Aside from tending to our children’s needs, we’re also keeping house, running daily errands, going to doctors appointments, meeting up with mothers groups, picking up groceries, interacting with other children at gymbaroo or rhyme time, going on daily outings…and best of all we guide our children through what is their most difficult, yet most exciting years of development. We’re basically shaping humankinds future, so I wouldn’t call that nothing! A stay-at-home mum’s role holds just as much significance as those in the working environment and even though we stay at home and care for our children, we’re also problem solving, setting goals and overcoming challenges each and everyday. When we wake up in the morning right up to when our heads hit the pillow, our whole day is revolved around our children – from sleep times, feed times, preparing meals and giving them our undivided attention – everything we do is meticulously thought out and planned to help us get through the day without having to endure a baby meltdown. Being a stay-at-home mum never stops, it’s a 24/7 gig and it is one of the toughest jobs that I’ve ever had to do in my life. It requires patience, and LOTS of it and I can tell you one thing – it’s not fucking easy.
4. …must be bored.
Speaking in goo’s and gaa’s all day isn’t exactly the most entertaining thing to do and I must admit that sometimes our days can become quite monotonous. Yes, sometimes we do end up twiddling our thumbs, but very rarely because when you’re this busy and when you have the cutest baby in the world to stare at all day, you don’t have the time to be bored! I can’t remember a time where I said or thought to myself “I’m bored” and if I did it was obviously a rarity. Being a stay-at-home mum isn’t for everyone and I get that, but not all of us are bored out of our brains. I love this role more than anything in the world. Yes its repetitive, yes its hard, but we can’t forget how exciting and joyous our days can be too. I make sure that every single day spent with my son is filled with something fun, so NO we are not all bored. *rolls eyes*
5. …are lucky to stay at home, they must have money.
Not all mums are “lucky” to have the financial freedom to be able to have a choice and some have simply fallen into the role of being a stay-at-home mum. With daycare costs on the rise and far exceeding a potential income, it’s no wonder these mothers don’t even have a say in the matter. Unless we have a sugar daddy (which most don’t), most families have had to make huge sacrifices to allow a parent to stay at home with the kids and obviously the first thing to go is that second income (savings, career, sanity *haha* to name a few more). Supporting a family and paying mortgages, bills, living expenses etc on one income is bloody TOUGH, but no matter our circumstances we all adapt and make it work. So yeah, don’t be so quick to pass judgement because in our own ways we have all had to make incredible sacrifices to be with our children.
7. …have no career aspirations.
Millennials are some of the most educated and ambitious women in the workforce, and starting a family doesn’t necessarily mean that we want to throw our careers away. Most of the women I know with young children are intelligent, degree qualified and have worked hard for most of their working lives to get to where they are in their careers today – so WHY do some employers simply assume that we wouldn’t return or that we are a liability when we do? People assume that because we stay at home and speak baby language all day, that our minds have become stagnant and unchallenged. Little do they know that in reality we are constantly learning and developing new skills, but in a different way. Having children is just a natural progression in the cycle of life and once you experience it, you realise what is and isn’t of value to you and your family. Our children are our world and all we want is to be able to provide them with a happy and fulfilling life and one thing that I can guarantee is that we will work our asses off to maintain and continue our careers that we once had before having our kids. On the other end of the spectrum, a lot of stay-at-home mums have found their true calling whilst on maternity leave and have started up their own successful and thriving businesses and it’s definitely not an easy feat to do when you have a baby on your hip! Whether we have a job, our own business or whether our career is to be a permanent stay-at-home mum, we’re always aspiring to be BETTER and I reckon that’s got to count for something.
8. …spend their days at cafes drinking coffee with other mums.
It’s something that some of us do (if we can afford it), but we don’t do this every single damn day – note: see the million other things mentioned above that we have to do. Meeting up with other mums allows us to share all of our struggles and joys about our journey through Motherhood with people that 100% understand what we’re going through, plus it is the one thing that keeps us SANE! Once we add a few more to the tribe and our kids become walking shrieking hyenas, then they definitely become few and far in between.
9. …must have clean houses.
Oh lordy, if you stepped into my house on any given day of the week you would think that a tornado had just hit it. Yes, stay-at-home mums stay at home but it doesn’t mean we have the time to keep our houses in tip-top shape. We tend to our children every few minutes, which only allows us time to start something new but we NEVER EVER get to finish it! We’re forever trying to get to the bottom of the laundry basket or do something other than a surface clean, so that’s why we only do what we can and the rest is left to gather dust till we can find the time. Personally with a dog/cat/crawling baby I vacuum and mop 1-3 times a day and it really pushes me to my limits, some days I even get the mum guilts because I feel like I’m spending more time cleaning than I am interacting with my son. If you step into a mum’s messy house, don’t judge because that shits hard to keep clean.