I became a stay at home mum (SAHM) when our daughter turned one last year. For many reasons it didn’t make sense to return to a full-time job and pay a large amount of my salary to a nursery. The company I was supposed to go back to didn’t offer flexible working hours, otherwise I might have even considered it but I wasn’t a big fan of the company culture in the first place so it wasn’t very difficult to make that big decision.
Just recently though, I was lucky enough to be able to work on a temporary project and put my marketing skills back into practice again. It was a three-day week for three months contract, managing my own days and hours, and I had to travel to the office outside of London every other week. I worked when she napped during the day (luckily she’s a good napper and some days I’d get a good solid two hours done) and when she had gone to bed in the evenings. I’d do the odd conference call from a playground or a cafe playing loud Bossa nova in the background 😀 – it was a perfect set up for me. The days in the office felt like a holiday. It felt liberating not being needed constantly.
I really enjoyed this flexible working opportunity and wish I could do something similar again soon but these jobs aren’t widely advertised. I was more tired, for sure, because I really didn’t have any time off/breaks at all – I worked when she slept. Hats off to working mums running their business from home, I can now relate! I became even more organised with my time, every hour counted and I felt more productive than ever.
The days I travelled to the office were long – I’d wake up before her (normally she’s our alarm clock) and get ready, then get her up, prepare any ‘handover notes’ for the nanny, and then dash to the train station once she arrived. Sometimes I’d be back so late that my husband had to do the bedtime (which he loves so it’s not an issue at all). Hats off to working mums who do what I just described every working day, I can somewhat relate!
It’s extremely exhausting when day in and day out your attention is always wanted. We also don’t have much help available as our families live far and we don’t use nannies often. She can play independently for a while but most of the time she’d like me to join in so my days are filled with playing on the floor, running after her, reading, drawing, dancing, singing and so on… Playgrounds, play dates are fun and library rhyme times too. I gave up work to do all this and more. Some days are hard if the weather isn’t great and I need to keep her entertained indoors or when I feel poorly and count hours till nap time or bedtime. Hats off to SAHMs! Sometimes I wish I could go to work because I’d treat it like a break…
There’s the age-old SAHM versus working mum. Who’s more stressed, who works harder? The truth is, it’s not a competition and it’s damn hard for everyone. Mum guilt, anyone?
SAHMs might be misunderstood because most return to work quite soon unless maternity leave lasts for up to three years like in Estonia… And I’ve heard quite a few of these comments too so naturally I’m quite defensive.
So, yeah, I’m just a mum 🙂 because:
I consider myself lucky that I have this opportunity to stay at home with her. I know I will work again one day when she starts kindergarten (probably next year) but until then I will enjoy watching her grow up right before my eyes. I can never get tired of watching her discovering something new every day, the concentration in her face when she learns to use a pencil, a fork or a spoon, all the laughs and giggles. I never miss anything, the first time she rolled over, started crawling, took her first steps, said her first words. I’m always there and my heart is content. The professional working woman will one day emerge again but until then let me be silly with my little girl and enjoy the wonder of a child growing up.
Being a SAHM is a unique privilege and even on messy days (naps gone wrong, teething nightmares, tantrums galore, illnesses) there are glimpses of pure joy and magic to be found.