So what do you do? The five words that make me squirm in my chair. This typical conversation happens all the time at social events and in everyday encounters, and yet I still feel a little ashamed to say “I’m a stay at home mum”. But why do I feel so ashamed? Shouldn’t I feel proud of devoting all my time to my three children? Deep down, I am very proud. However, societal ideas of the modern day women have clouded my gratification.
There is so much pressure for mums to juggle both careers and their babies. As soon as the poor woman has popped one out, on goes her superwoman cape and she is back at her work desk. But where does this leave us, stay-at-home mums? And why do we get such a hard time?
I guess the perception of the stay-at-home mum is to blame. Whilst the outside world assumes we are slouched on our sofas, watching episodes of Jeremy Kyle and drinking copious amounts of tea…We are actually getting our children ready, be it school, nursery or just a typical day. And when faced with ‘reluctant-to-be-dressed children’ this job is particularly tough. Picture putting socks on a ticklish octopus, and you’re almost there! Then there is the lost shoe/sock/lunchbox/schoolbag/coat…the list goes on. Getting out of the house on a morning can be an achievement itself, let alone making it through an entire day. A hot cup of tea in front of an episode of Jeremy Kyle would be a fine thing…I’m used to tea of the lukewarm to freezing cold variety.
The nursery/school runs are not often enjoyable, especially when faced with the harsh and very unpredictable British weather. Many a time I have been soaked to the skin and resembling a drowned rat. During some of the worse weather’s I have had to deal with one little boy that didn’t want to walk. At 4 and half years old, my son is perfectly capable of walking. However, every now and then, it’s like he senses when I’m having a particularly bad day, he will stop abruptly. “Stuck, I’m stuck” he yells, as though his feet are fixed to the ground. It is at these times when a job at the office sounds just heavenly.
I swear my husband thinks that being a stay-at-home mum is all picnics in the park and lunch dates with the ladies…how wrong he is. I try to avoid taking my children to the shops at all costs. If they aren’t throwing a tantrum because I didn’t take them to the toyshop, they are sure to be causing havoc in other ways. Something is either going to break, or you will be squirming with embarrassment as they squeal, scream, screech down the aisles of Sainsbury’s.
Taking the kids out in public is not for the faint hearted and should come with a warning. Lunch with the ladies would be somewhat of a luxury, getting to eat a warm meal is as good as it gets for me. So after the school run and a trip around the supermarket, its back home to face the copious amounts of housework. Not easy when you have a little one strapped to your hip, yearning for attention…or a toddler, riding on the back of your henry hoover! The highlight of the day is when the little one goes down for their nap and you can finally take an hour to do something for yourself…like a visit to the toilet…IN PEACE!!!
When you’re a stay-at-home mum there aren’t enough hours in the day. You don’t get a break nor praise. However, what you do get is the greatest gift of all and that is love. Although, there are times when I feel like throwing the towel in and calling it quits, there are times when I am pulling my hair out in stress, there are times when I feel overwhelmed with the huge responsibility that is parenthood…when I look at my children and see how happy they are, I soon realise that being a stay-at-home mum is the greatest job in the world.