Thursday, March 6, 2014

More about being a Stay-At-Home Mom (continued from 2.5 years ago)

Over two years ago, I wrote this post about being a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM).  I remember this post in particular because of the chord that it seemed to strike in quite a few people; people who commented on the post and others who emailed or talked with me about it afterwards.

Over two years later, I'd say that I am a far more comfortable SAHM...a little more at ease in my own skin.  Much like I wrote in this post a while back, I've changed.  I've travelled an inner journey all on my own and I've actually moved.  Changed.  I don't care as much what people think of me and am willing to hold up before others the non-glamourous life that I lead in my four-year-old jeans.  I'm ok saying that this is what I'm called to do in this season of my life.  Here are a few differences I've noticed:
  • I've forgiven myself for the few asinine comments I've made about/to SAHMs in the past and forgiven myself for not understanding in earlier years what it means to stay at home or what it means to take responsibility for educating one's kids at home.  I've also consciously forgiven other well-intentioned parents of the past couple of years who've said unkind or insensitive things about my being a SAHM or h/u/schooler.
  • I'm ok if my hair hasn't been washed in a couple of days...though I use dry shampoo on some occasions to ensure there are no grease pits hanging out in my hair.  :)
  • I'm ok if my kids' hair hasn't been combed in a few days (ok, so I'm really talking about Matthew's sticking-straight-out-the-back hair here b/c Seth's is too short to need combing and I need to work with Lizzie's hair every day or two when it's left free to avoid a horrible detangling session). 
  • I'm ok if what I bring to a potluck is made by someone/something else instead of by me if the day's been a little too crazy.
  • I'm far more comfortable telling people these days that we're unschoolers because, quite frankly, it's been so good for our family that it's hard not to talk about it.
  • I'm ok leaving folded (or unfolded) laundry sitting in baskets for days while we dig through it looking for that shirt we haven't seen in two weeks; I wish I were better at this, but I've concluded that I'm just not going to be good at everything, and organization isn't my forte.
  • I'm ok taking lots of time making and eating breakfast with the kids because we have the time to do this and because it's one of the best times of the day for conversation or out-loud reading.
  • I'm more than ok running errands and playing chauffeur because I'm delighted that the kids are interested in engaging in all aspects of our family life; 
  • I'm ok spending an hour working with my kid to clean his/her bedroom because we have the time to do it and because while I'm modelling how-to skills I can talk with that child about everything else in life that's important to him/her. 
  • Two or more years ago, I wrote that "all I do is child care, homeschooling, and household maintenance...other than on Thursday nights, when I try to get out for a couple of hours and, other than when the kids and I are running errands or going on a field trip, I'm always home. All. of. the. time....".   I wrote that out of a lack of confidence and out of a place of depression and adjustment.  Today I can say those exact same words but the tone of my heart is vastly different.  Today I am proud to say that I am doing my best at taking care of my children and their life-based education and, though I still mostly do a crappy job of household maintenance, I'm ok with that, too!
  • I'm not longer anxious, as I was two years ago, about the thought of having to engage professional people in conversation.  Two years ago, having recently been a professional person myself, I feared being looked down upon as I used to (unconsciously and sometimes consciously) look down on SAHMs...likely because I didn't understand them.  These days, I'm happy to engage anyone in conversation with anyone, knowing and really understanding that we all put our pants on one leg at a time and that we're all just people muddling through life the best we can.  And if conversation runs out, as it did once a month or two back, well, I'm ok now resting in silence from conversation, too.
  • Back then, I wrote that I felt "less than" and "not good enough," that I needed to be "some sort of superwoman who can juggle home, kids and career, and all of them successfully."  Today, I don't even entertain notions of wanting to be superwoman, and I just feel like any other person making the best decisions I can about my family...just as others are for their families.  It's a very freeing feeling.
  • I really don't care any more if my kids wear sweatpants all of the time (though this is not an issue with Seth because he abhors sweatpants and cries when I ask him to put them on in anticipation of winter gym classes...though I've succumbed on that front, too, because now he just wears jeans overtop of his shorts until he gets to gym class!) and am proud to see that the play pants in the clean laundry pile outnumber regular pants because it means we had a good and fun week.  I guess I've finally become that h/schooler I used to dread becoming (in the early days) I'm there and darn proud of it!
  • Back then, I struggled with a deeper insecurity:  My need to be competent and contributing and valuable; and to be perceived as those things.  Today, I know more than ever that, while not always competent, I am definitely making a valuable contribution to the lives of our children and to our family; I'm proud of myself for working through what I needed to work through to get to this point.  I'm not a terribly interesting person to talk to these days, outside of our nuclear family (maybe even inside our nuclear family!) but that's ok, too...the time will come all too soon when my children will be all grown up and off doing their own things, and I'll have all the time in the world to find interesting things to talk about.  For now, I'm ok being a little on the boring side.
  • Two years ago, I didn't have time to read newspapers or keep myself very informed on current events in our world.  That's slowly changing.  As life becomes a little more settled around here, I'm finding a little more time to engage in learning about what's going on in our world and community, and I am glad to feel a wee bit more informed now.
I still think being a SAHM, h/schooling mom is the toughest job out there.  It was a hard adjustment for me, as for many SAHMs.  But I also now think that it's the most rewarding, satisfying, fulfilling job in the world for me, and I wouldn't change a thing at this point!

Now, lest you think that this all sounds so rosy and idyllic, I've got a few more thoughts coming about division of household responsibility, etc.  I've written the draft post already but it might be a while before I publish it because I want to re word a few things and I'm struggling to know how to do this!

But what I am intending to convey in this post has to do with my emotional/psychological joureny towards becoming a fully engaged SAHM.


  1. That's cool. While my life is a mish mash of parenting and working, I remember a lot of struggles adjusting to life as a mom. The feeling of "relaxation" has come for me too... just feeling less uptight about perceptions and perfection. I need less and less to explain to people that I'm a parent, not a housekeeper, and certainly no relation to Martha Stewart. Maybe it's time, maybe it's middle age... who knows... but isn't it nice to have some of that weight off? Yay for us!

    1. No relation to Martha Stewart...ha ha...made me laugh. Well, then, maybe you and I are related, 'cause I'm certainly not relation to Stewart either! Although you, my dear, ARE something of a supermom, in my books - I think you're quite brilliant to be juggling so ably all that you do and somehow staying so relaxed about it all.

      Yeah, there's something about being a bit older that does actually lend some perspective...and, in my case, it's about time!

      Thanks T! And yes, yay for us.


  2. I'm in the early phases of what may end up being a similar journey but without the homeschooling. It's been a long internal and external dialogue/debate, but circumstances are now such that I may be embarking on a different path out of what's best for all of us, though not exclusively me alone (if I am being the pragmatist that I usually am). I appreciate your transparency and willingness to expose your vulnerability and evolution.

    1. Thanks so much for the comment, Black Married Momma (love the moniker!). I wish you and I could chat over a cup of coffee or tea and talk about circumstances and life and what's moving you in this direction. It's SUCH an interesting journey and, for many (definitely including me) a really hard transition. I wish you ever so well in your decision-making and in the journey you're on...however it ends up. And thanks for your supportive comments of my post - I really appreciate it!