We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a look of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.
Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.
“Well it’s not like you do anything all day..”
I am not a Stepford wife. But some days, I find myself trying to live up to irrational standards that I put on myself. Maybe I constantly smell of pledge and downy because of the stellar example set by my mother. Or maybe even because I’ve seen a lot of examples of how I don’t want my home to be run. I’ve been known to be folding laundry and unloading the dishwater seconds before my head hits the pillow. But many days I take a step back, exhale, and tell myself that the crumbs in the rug and the frozen pizza in the oven will not kill anybody. I take a look at my beautiful crazy family and I thank God for every minute I get with them.
You’ve read all the cute little stories titled “this husband can’t afford his wife.” Laundry? $50 a load. Cooking? $100 a day. My DH is active duty military. I won’t go into detail, but his job is up and down, coming and going, and so much unpredictability I could scream (sometimes I do). He doesn’t expect me to do all the things that I do, but I do them anyway. I live by the motto that a home should be a place we want to go. I want to come home to peace, a decent level of cleanliness and less stress on the inside than out. I clean my home and prepare 3 meals a day and try to keep my toddler alive from 6 am til 7 pm (even those sleeping hours still stress me some nights). I’m starting grad school (again) and writing for this incredible blog. I am no super mom or wife. But I do work. All day long.
We’ve talked before in this blog about PPD. I myself went through a mild dose of the baby blues that took me a while to overcome. I was lucky. My symptoms were very typical, mainly fatigue, lack of energy, lack of motivation and little interest in things that I usually enjoyed. With prayer, incredible friends and a supportive family, I overcame my symptoms.
But during this time specifically, I felt others attempt to use my SAHM status for their own benefit. People asked me to babysit for two weeks straight or drive 45 minutes with a newborn to meet for coffee, or got offended when I didn’t answer their calls every. single. day to talk about their latest coworker drama. And maybe I’m being insensitive, but I honestly did not care. Most days I was praying nap time came faster and maybe for a shower that day. I did not want to watch their children or load up my car to survive an afternoon out with a nursing infant. I didn’t even want to listen to their coworker’s latest fashion crime. And that is ok. Because that time finally passed and I was able to enjoy the little things again and get some frickin sleep! But that still didn’t make me a doormat.
For these, and ten thousand other reasons, I can literally physically feel my blood pressure rising and my hair getting a little more red when someone dares to say to me “Well, it’s not like you’re doing anything so….(insert annoying favor)” Excuse me. Do you see a living human hanging off my leg? Well apparently I’m at least feeding and cleaning that little person. It’s funny how remarks like that come from individuals who have never cared for a child or spent longer than a child-induced chaotic weekend at home. It doesn’t matter. There is no excuse for diminishing the role of a mother. Any mother. But especially one that is home all day kissing boo boos, singing ABCs, wiping mashed peas off the ceiling and somehow manages to keep the home together enough to live in.
Do not ever let someone make you feel as though you are lazy or wasting your days away by spending them with your child. These developmental years, (and childhood and teenage years) matter. Being a constant positive presence for you child fulfills so many needs their little hearts and brains don’t even know they need. And those days when that toddler is a little hellion and you just want to scream and put them to bed at 2 in the afternoon, still know, you simply being there is everything that child needs.
Let your house be knee deep in toys, a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven and still be wearing yesterday’s sweats from time to time. You are there for your child. You are working so hard every minute of the day to learn patience, teach, provide for, and deepen a bond that your child will not soon forget. Don’t let someone make you feel inferior because you do the most important job on earth (it’s corny I know, but oh so true). We’ve got this. We work HARD every day. We are no one’s doormat and it is ok to say no to those “favors” other people think we have all the time for. You’re doing an amazing job, stay at home mom.
Read more of our SAHM Stigmas series here:
SAHM Stigmas: Finances “We can’t afford this”
SAHM Stigmas: Careers