Stereotyping Stay-At-Home Moms

At some point in time, do you fellow stay-at-home moms feel like there’s a stigma attached to solely taking care of your kids? From what I’ve experienced, there is. There are times that I find myself defending my decision to be a stay at home mother to people whose opinions shouldn’t even matter. I often have to reassure people that I’m not a sad woman in a sad situation and that I’m doing what’s best for my family. I internally cringe when I meet another adult and one of the first questions they ask is…are you working? I mean it happens so often especially at school. And the look of pity or disappointment on their faces at my response makes me want to run far, far away.

Most of our mothers and grandmothers were homemakers, so why does being a SAHM mother in this era such a condemned thing? Why is it equated with being uneducated and lacking in skills or productivity?

It was never my intention to be a SAHM when I was younger but when you start a family, things change, priority changes and the factors affecting your situation will mold how you handle your lifestyle. People’s behavior also changes toward you and around you. You’re treated as if you have nothing important to say, as if you’re limited in your knowledge and thinking.

From my observations, these are the most common misconceptions about stay-at-home mothers:-

  1. No education. People often associate being a SAHM with a lack of education, because clearly all we can do are domestic chores. Despite having gone to college prior to having children, people treat me as though I’ve never seen the inside of a college nor do I understand what’s happening there.
  2. Lowly status. Yes, I do feel looked down upon and talk down at because I’m not sitting in an office from nine to five. Somehow I’m less of a person and not really doing anything in life that matters.
  3. Welfare dependent. Automatically you’re considered to be milking tax payers money dry to live on welfare with your multiple kids.
  4. No knowledge of the workforce. Because you’ve been a SAHM for years, people think you haven’t worked a day in your life and you’ll never venture out to work again. There’s absolutely nothing you can do other than taking care of children and doing domestic chores.
  5. No skills. Well I’m a SAHM but writing is a skill, is it not? I’ve seen many SAHMs doing successfully with their online stores, blogs, whatever creative skills they have and many use it to make some extra income.
  6. Submissive or boring. It’s a common misconception when you see a mother wrapped up with only her family life to believe she doesn’t have more to her or want more for her life. We do have our own personalities and dreams and we don’t just submit to our lifestyle but being a SAHM is a full time job and it’s what comes first. When we can squeeze in the extra time, we’ll get other things done.

As a SAHM I’ve definitely had my share of disrespect, even at my kid’s preschool. People degrade you in their way of speaking, thinking you don’t know much and can’t convey much. At the end of the day we’re doing the most rewarding job although it may be overwhelming at regular intervals but it doesn’t take away from who we are as people. I myself used to believe all SAHMs know how to do is cook and clean until I became one…and let me tell you…I’m no chef in the kitchen. I’m screaming my head off, sighing and tired most of the time just like you.

XO

Pros and Cons of Being A Stay-at-Home Mom

Motherhood is one of the most rewarding jobs you’ll ever have, however, like with any job, it can be overwhelming and downright frustrating. As I was writing how to be a productive SAHM, I made a mental list of the pros and cons of being a SAHM and felt like it deserved its own post. Some points play the role of both a pro and a con.

PROS

  1. The best thing about being a SAHM is getting to be with your kids all day, getting to witness everything that they do and learn on a daily basis.
  2. You’ll be present for all of their growing moments, first words, first steps,  and there is nothing greater than witnessing your child hit milestones for the first time.
  3. If your child falls sick, you’ll be there and not at work which may be hard to get out of.
  4. You can focus on a routine for your children and house, and get things done in an orderly manner compared to the stresses of working and coming home to tired and cranky children.
  5. You’re the sole caregiver for your child.
  6. It’s cheaper for most women to become stay-at-home moms as it is very costly for childcare and work hours are very demanding.
  7. You’re in control of how your activities and days are planned. You won’t have to worry about being called into work and having to organize a last minute babysitter.
  8. You get to teach your children and guide them in a way that you see fit and it’ll be consistent as kids can get confused with different rules.
  9. There’s no one looking over your shoulder telling you what to do or how to do it. You’re your own boss.

CONS

  1. You’re never alone. You can’t use the bathroom without an audience and sometimes you have to skip a shower and swallow your meals.
  2. You almost never get “me time” to do anything for yourself and if you’re like me, you don’t have girls night out either.
  3. Your job never ends. You’re working 24/7 and you’re exhausted most of the time.
  4. You tend to get bored and frustrated living the same routine day after day.
  5. When your social life ceases to exist after motherhood, it’s really awkward and difficult to make friends. You WILL miss engaging in social activities and having adult conversations that don’t involve kids.
  6. When they start fighting, misbehaving and talking back to you, you’ll want to rip your hair out. You’ll be stressed beyond belief.
  7. Living on one income is not an easy thing to manage and you may often feel like a failure, like your life is not reaching anywhere.
  8. It’s been almost five years since I’ve worked outside of my home and it literally feels like forever. I feel like the unemployment gap only worsens your chances of getting back out there, however I hope I’m wrong.

One suggestion that I always make in my SAHM posts is to get a hobby, whether it be joining a gym, writing, painting etc. When you have something to call your own, apart from your family life, it’s a way to cope when the going gets tough. I love to wind down by day by reading just before I sleep. It’s a relaxing way to calm your thoughts before bedtime. That’s just what works for me. If you have girlfriends, organize outings or activities that are not kid related. Even though both things are closely related, in order to be a happy mom, there needs to be a balance between caring for your family and caring for yourself.

xo Coffee Doll

How to be a Productive Stay-At-Home Mom

One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make in my life was to become a Stay-At-Home-Mother. I think my two weeks postpartum depression had a lot to do with me just staying at home, depending on my husband emotionally and financially. It was a hard thing for me to do. It’s not that I wasn’t elated to spend time with my brand new baby and explore motherhood but I was always working and getting a college education, and I became a very career oriented person. I was conditioned by the atmosphere that I grew up in to equate success with having a career and making those dollars. I can’t tell you how often I’ve felt like a failure, I’ve felt miserable without any adult interaction, or I’ve locked myself in the bathroom crying because I am just overwhelmed.

These are not signs of incompetence. All mothers go through this, whether they’re working moms or stay at home moms. Parenting is as overwhelming as it is rewarding and some days it’s just hard to get out of bed and do what you have to do in your most motivated attitude.

Here are some tips that I use almost daily…

Sleep. Moms usually run on little to no sleep but as your babies get older they can sleep for longer periods and you should take advantage of that. I can’t do it every night as I have things to tend to even after they’re asleep but I do try to set an earlier bedtime for myself.

Create a schedule. Now I don’t mean account for every minute of the day but it’s a good thing to get yourself on a routine as well as your kids. Just an example, if your kid naps at noon…do something you can’t do when he or she is awake. Managing your time is essential if you want to get things done by a particular deadline.

Write down tasks. I don’t know how people survive without writing anything down, I literally need to write my life on paper and read it as it happens.

Do Less. Break your bigger tasks into smaller ones. Do NOT attempt to do everything in one day. Don’t clean the entire house on Saturday and overwhelm yourself. That gives me anxiety. Every day, do a little, do one room even.

Map out your week. Browse through your list, plan your meals and activities beforehand so when the day comes, you’re not second guessing anything. Meal prep if you have to.

Get up before your kids. I cherish those few minutes with my hot cup of coffee before they wake up. I can’t even begin to describe how it keeps my sanity at bay when I start my day without the shouting and chaos. By the time they’re awake, supermom is ready for action.

Set goals for yourself. Even though you’re not working at an office or doing a paid job, you can still set goals for yourself. For instance you may want to focus on your health, so get into it. Join a gym or gather some friends and work out at home. Maybe you’re a painter or musician. Set a goal of what you would like to accomplish and just do it! For me, I write, I blog 🙂

Communicate with your partner. Communication in a relationship is key. Being a stay at home mom, you may sometimes resent your partner or feel like they’re not paying attention to you. You may get into arguments about petty things and just generally annoy each other, especially when you feel like your partner should do more to help around the house and with the kids. It’s good to establish a communication channel between you and your partner.

Have your own hobby. As a wife who has no similar interests to her husband, I enjoy having my hobbies to myself. It’s my “me time.” Yes we do need alone time with our partners but as a mom, we do need alone with without another human being in our space.

Get out. Everyone needs that adult interaction. Being stuck with kids 24/7 can make you lose sense of yourself so take some time, whether it’s a date with hubby or gal pals and just let your hair down. Because I don’t have much adult interaction, I swap out for dates with my kids 🙂 It’s still fun to get out and do something.

Play with your kids. We get caught up enforcing rules, yelling to keep everyone in line and we often forget how fun it is to spend that much time with our kids. Get off your cellphones, get down and dirty with your children. You’ll be surprised to know how much they just want to spend time with you.

Last but not least, drink lots and lots of coffee 🙂

xo Coffee Doll