When I was pregnant with my first child, it did not cross my mind that I would be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). Simply because I grew up as a latchkey kid. I had no SAHM role model.
The best decision my husband and I made was to undergo life-coaching by our mentor who was also a parent counselor. That completely changed my worldview of SAHMs and the incredible impact they have on their children. It made me remember how I envied my friends who had mothers who stayed home during my teenage years.
Living in one of the world’s most expensive city, Singapore, many mothers return to the workforce after their 4 months maternity leave, and so, you might guess the misconceptions SAHMs are bombarded with.
#1. Isn’t it boring to stay home? Nothing much to do, correct?
The only free time we have is when the baby/toddler sleeps. For an 18 month old, it can be about 2 hours if he is taking 1 nap a day. This is when we prepare their meals, wash the dishes in the sink, do the laundry etc. Maybe on a good day, we can get a 30 minutes rest. When the little fellow wakes up, it is action-packed all the way till he sleeps for the night. Bathroom breaks are hilariously noisy because he will be banging on the bathroom door non-stop until I step out. AND he never leaves me alone for long…like my little shadow.
#2. Your husband must be earning a high salary for you to stay home.
Not always true, at least for my family. We had to make major changes to our lifestyle. We sold our car, cut down on insurance, eat out less, cook in more just so we can still save when we have our second child. It was challenging at the beginning, but it was a good growth process for us to learn to live with less, be more adaptable, and think out of the box on how to spend less money but still have FUN.
#3. Your career will be affected. You will lose out if you quit and return to the workforce later.
This might be true to a certain extent, but I also have heard testimonies of mothers in church who stayed home for their children’s sake, only to return to work with better career prospects and higher pay. God’s blessings do pour forth when we choose to take care and disciple His children. I am not implying that mothers who work are not blessed, but that mothers who left the workforce are also equally blessed. For one, SAHMs’ time management, multi-tasking abilities and patience level would have increased exponentially in a year – bonus qualities for an employer to consider. I was offered a part-time job working with children at an international school based upon the fact that I am a mother and I have zero qualifications in early childhood education. There are many opportunities around and workplaces who support mothers.
Google became my best friend when I had to fix things at home when the husband is at work, researching on children’s illnesses when my kid falls sick, look for new recipes, read up on child’s development etc. Sometimes I don’t even have time to google! I have no medical leave when I am under the weather, no annual leave, time-offs are in pockets of 3-4 hours weekly which is not sufficient. I guess the only thing SAHMs complain about is not having enough rest.
But our presence to our children are reaping benefits in the long run. A parent counselor once told me that youth problems are attributed to the lack of bonding between parents and child. If we understand human development over the lifespan, the bonding has already started when the child is in the womb and bonding is built up with constructive time spent together. When there is bonding, there is mutual understanding between parents and children. It is the foundation of good-enough-parenting, which goes a long way in contributing to the greater good of society.
[The little boy is awake and banging his room’s blinds]