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I am SAHM: A mom’s reflection

in Life Lessons, Parenting

cry baby

Photo by criswatk on

With my youngest starting Kindergarten (happy dance!!), I’ve found myself reflecting a lot on the stay-at-home mom gig that I’ve had for the last 10 years. As a college-educated woman who left a career for full-time mothering, there are a few things I wish someone had told me so I could’ve truly weighed this decision.

  1. My first slap in the face was realizing how mind-numbing it is to entertain a non-responsive newborn all day without starting to drool on yourself. Transitioning from the crying, fussing, and cooing infant right into adult conversation when my husband came home from work proved to be a real challenge. “Does daddy-waddy want some steaky-waky” doesn’t quite cut it.
  2. Another eye opener was that this truly is a 24/7 job. That may sound like a cliché, but really, I was the one who was usually up for the baby’s 3 o’clock feeding, I am their afternoon chauffer, and it’s dear ‘ol mom who hits the supermarket, the dry cleaner, the bank, and the post office and still has dinner on the table by the time Dad gets home. When you hear the cry, the scream, the cheer, and the complaints… they’re all directed towards Mom. Sure, moms that work outside the home come home to the same problems that need resolution, but from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, all their problems had adult vocabularies and a paycheck. My problems were the same no matter the time of day or night. There was no escape. No down time. No quiet drive home. The monotony was a killer.
  3. Another eye opener– every single annual checkup with the pediatrician seemed to be a test of my parenting skills. These check ups were the equivalent of my annual review. Can your 4-month-old roll over? Does your 4-year-old know how to spell her name? Can your 2-year old use a “big boy cup?” How’s the potty training coming? How many vegetables is he eating? I knew that daycare workers had training to teach kids this kind of thing. Here I was with no training and three kids with varying degrees of desire to accomplish these milestones on the timeframe that the pros thought was so important. I just didn’t think I, and therefore my kids, could match-up to the skill levels of the professionals that cared for the kids of working-outside-the-home moms. I honestly feared my kids being behind. And when one of my kids ended up having a Learning Disability, my job got a lot more complicated.
  4. Finally, while I’m not a money-hungry person, a paycheck seems to almost validate the existence of others in our culture. In lieu of that, SAHMs have to find another way to stay motivated. There is no immediate gratification. This is the one job that you cannot quit, take a vacation from, or call in sick to. People think the moms “over share” on social media… they simply don’t understand that the “Likes” on Facebook are often the only pat on the back that many moms get. There are no raises, no praises, and the thank yous are minimal. Sometimes a “Like” can be seen as a pay-raise or a promotion. It’s the equivalent to saying that she is really good at her job. It doesn’t pay the water bill, but it does help some moms feel more accomplished.

Looking back I understand that these were all just bumps in the road of motherhood, but when you’re on the road, alone, day in and day out, even small bumps seem like giant mountains. When you’re in the trenches, it’s hard to vocalize exactly how hard being a SAHM of little ones is.

If you’re there now, please know this: you’re not just a mom. You’re not just a baby burper or diaper changer. You’re not just a chauffer, nurse, telephone receptionist, counselor, or personal chef. I can now see how amazingly overwhelming this journey has been, but I also realize that I would have missed out on a lot of laughter and fun if I hadn’t chosen to stay home with my kids. It’s an opportunity that a lot of women would love to have. Each challenge, after all, is only temporary.

Hang in there, stay-at-home moms, there is a light at the end of the very exhausting tunnel.

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