Being Stay at Home Mum
I have laboured and had a CS (all in 1 birth) I have been a stay at home mum and a working mum, I have been in routine and out of routine, I have done baby led parenting and parent led parenting. I have in my own way being mummy and daddy (when dad travelled). I can confidently say I have been an all round parent, so today I write about being a stay at home mum.
It was never my thought, well at least not at the beginning, I loved the idea of making money, however little I made, it was me who made it and I honestly loved knowing that if I needed to have my hair done, I would go to my bank account withdraw money and make my hair, my husband would come home, look at me as say, wow nice you made your hair, it made me happy that he noticed. I could top up my phone without permission, I would go window-shopping and buy myself a book, I was able to impulse just because buy my friend coffee, go for a movie, pay my bus fare. The simple things in life.
When baby finally came, I could not imagine leaving him, I could not imagine walking out of the door be gone the whole day and not know every minute what he is doing, where he is, has he eaten, has he slept, has he pooped, did he cry, was he changed on time, will he need a walk and I am not there and so I made the decision to stay at home and raise him, for however long, it did not matter then, what mattered was I was quitting my job and staying at home to raise my baby.
So when I became a stay at home mum, I had to announce my going to the salon, and it was no longer a surprise, the thrill that he noticed I made my hair was gone, just because he knew when I was going. I had to think about every coin that was left in my care, I could not just buy a book because you see I felt like this is not mine, even when it was given to me ‘allowance’ it felt like I needed permission to use it. How can you give me money and I buy a book? How can you go work give me money and I go buy clothes. I lived with the notion ‘if I don’t need it then I will not have it.’
That was not my greatest struggle as a stay at home mum, I wondered about my life and what I was destined for. I loved being mommy, I loved the idea that this lil man needed the whole of me, completely; I loved knowing that he depended on me. But was that all? So what happens when he becomes independent as he has been lately, what happens when he goes to school and I am at home doing what? What was I supposed to be besides being mom? That is the greatest hurdle every stay at home mum needs to jump over.
My husband is in business and so the idea of paternity leave is as non-existent as it gets. If a client called 1 day after getting home from hospital, my husband would go because that is where our bread and butter came from. I resented that his life was moving on as usual while I felt like I was stuck in a new role that at the time seemed to be endless. I did not know in his own way he was caught up in making sure that we were well taken care of, we were provided for. This worried me, I wondered what if business did not do well, how would I justify staying at home when my husband had to work so hard to buy diapers. I worried too much sometimes.
My identity is not in my role and my titles, my identity is in who I am and if I have not truly grasped that, that I was created to be more than a mother, more than a wife then being a stay at home mom will be a challenge for me. Every time someone asked me, what are you doing now? I would live in the past, “I was a teacher but now I am home taking care of my baby.” It took me a long time to confidently say I am a stay at home mom for now. No sooner had I rested in that assurance than I knew it was time to move on.
Find what you love and can do it even though you are a stay at home mum, the making money is not really the problem, if your partner is supportive then that is nothing to worry about, but are you still living as a Janet as Mary as Caroline are you able to recognise yourself besides being mother? If you love writing start a blog, if cooking start teaching simple recipes, knitting, sawing, whatever it is that you love keep doing it even though you are home, read books, watch news, keep yourself updated and when the time comes and you feel its time to transition, then you will not be looking for yourself all over again.
Work out- it rejuvenates your mind and reenergises your body.
Prepare for the day- wake up shower dress up and be ready to live through the day fresh
Remember me time- being at home you might think you don’t deserve time out because you don’t wake up to ‘toil’ in the office, that will be setting yourself up for a serious burn out.
Get help, you you don’t have a house help, have someone who comes over once in a while to thorough clean and take up the heavy chore around the house, you will get refreshed by this decision.
Plan play dates and get your babies to play with other babies as you catch up with other mums, there are play date around Nairobi, just go to any mum’s group on facebook and ask, if there is non in your area start one.
Create a routine for your baby so that you get a few minutes to yourself everyday, don’t negotiate on nap times
A messy house is allowed even though you are a stay at home mum, chores can wait too
Being a stay at home mum is a personal decision, embrace it, love it, enjoy it. Don’t take life too seriously.
Being a stay at home mum was very fulfilling for me, I am glad I was there to watch my son grow, see every milestone, change every diaper, clean every burp, train him how to sleep, watch him sit up, then crawl, the roll over, then stand up, then walk then start talking. I am happy I got to discipline him and teach him not to play with the sockets, not to climb into the oven, how to go down the stairs, how to use a straw, how to climb off the bed.
The joy of being there every step of the way cannot be compared with anything.
Part 2 of this article will be about the joys of being a stay at home mum, it’s one of the best decisions you will ever make. =)
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