The life before the baby seemed like another lifetime ago. I never imagined, maybe it is more appropriate to say that I never planned, to be a stay-at-home mom.
How could I plan to be a SAHM while I was busy finishing grad school, traveling internationally, and pursuing the next ‘juicy title’ for my business card?
But when I first held my child in my arms, everything else in life suddenly seemed secondary. When I heard the first screaming cry demanding to be fed, everything else seemed unimportant.
All I could focus on is giving my child the best that I could offer at those early years at home. Motherhood is a constant call to be on my feet, to deal with the challenges, and to learn everything I possibly could to do it right.
SAHM – that’s the new “title” that women in our generation have begun pursuing as the best life path. It is a choice not just for one’s self, but a choice made for the whole family. A lot of women these days are ready to take a redirection of priorities.
They realize a deep desire to be there for every moment of their babies’ lives — to witness every first, to discover how their babies grow day-to-day, to deal with the incredibly forgivable mess of juggling the responsibilities.
THE CHALLENGES: Was I Ready for These?
Believe me, I understand the desire to complain about being a stay-at-home mom. I would say that it is, if not more, demanding as a 9 to 5 career. Aside from the trade-off of not needing to “dress-up for work” every day, there is the need to once in a while connect with another person about topics other than diapers and feeding. It could get very lonely.
There is the never-ending challenge to figure out what was going on or what was wrong with the baby whenever he cried. It was really difficult, especially in the first 12 months. There were days when I woke up and didn’t know where to start. There were days when I wish it was as simple as calling in sick and just sleeping the whole day.
On top of the personal challenges is the constant need to somehow defend our lifestyle choice to others who do not think we are contributing something valuable to our families. The SAHM lifestyle has become a question of:
“Is it worth it to give up what I could possibly earn from a career in my field of education/training?”
“How could your family survive with only one income?”
It becomes a comparison of apples and oranges when it shouldn’t be.
Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom to our kids is not a “job”, not a “career to build”. Raising a person in the best way that one can is not one of the responsibilities on a job description. It is a privilege.
THE OPPORTUNITIES: How Can I Make the Most of It?
The question is: Does it really have to be a choice between “work” and being a stay-at-home mom?
A number of women have successfully found that middle ground of enjoying the benefits of making oneself productive with their professional skills and allowing more available time for the family.
Here comes the WAHM – the work-at-home moms!
They enjoy more flexibility with their time, more satisfying work-and-life balance, and a more fulfilled sense of self. They know they can be there for their kids most of the time, yet not lose that opportunity for personal and professional growth.
There are so many opportunities for those who are willing to pursue this. There are things you need to consider before embarking on this new path. Click here for our post on Work-at-Home Moms.