Being a SAHM isn’t always easy, but I do love it, for many reasons. One of the things I don’t love about being a SAHM though is the judgement that sometimes surrounds it. There has been a few things recently (including someone insinuating that I am a sponger because I don’t work) that has made me want to write this post about why being a SAHM works for me and my family.
Before I go any further, a little disclaimer, this is purely personal and all about me and my family. I do not believe all mums should be SAHMs and I am not judging anyone for the choices they have made or the way they think best to raise and support their families. Different strokes for different folks is what I believe but it can be difficult to talk about the positives of being a SAHM without being seen as judgemental or critical of working mums. That is not how this post is intended, it is purely about me and my family.
There were various things that affected my decision to be a SAHM. I wrote about it at the time here, when I first started this blog, but put simply, this is why I am a SAHM.
The financial side
I know I am very fortunate that we can afford to live on my husband’s salary alone. He has worked really hard to get where he is and works darn hard every day for a business he has built and believes in. Sometimes his head is so full of work it is hard to get him to step back and enjoy family time with us, but I know his work is a huge part of who he is and allows us to live the life that we do. We are by no means ‘well-off,’ we are fairly comfortable but we life on fairly strict budgets and are very careful with our money.
After Monkey was born we were undecided about whether or not I would go back to work part time as of course more money would make things more comfortable. Unfortunately when looking at childcare costs, they would pretty much have negated any earnings I brought in. I never earned a huge salary and particularly if I was part time I would not have earned enough to make it really worthwhile.
I know for many families there are grandparents willing to help but that isn’t the case with us. Monkey’s grandparents are all wonderful and supportive and he has a fantastic relationship with them. But none of them wished to be a permanent carer for him, week in, week out, and we didn’t really want that either. They have lives of their own and have done their years of child-raising, now they want to be the fun grandparents. I am not criticising anyone who does have grandparents who help out with childcare as again different things work for different people. It just wasn’t an option for us or our parents.
This comes back to how lucky we are that we can live on hubby’s salary and I don’t need to work. If we were not able to manage financially without my added income then of course we would have figured something out. I would have found a job working evenings, weekends or early mornings if necessary to fit around hubby’s work and cover costs. I have worked as a waitress and a cleaner before and would not be too proud to do so again if financially we needed it. If I had been the higher earner we would again have figured it out. But we don’t have to, thankfully, as I would hate to be passing my husband like ships in the night!
I know for some Mums, not working or earning money from an outside source leads them to feeling they aren’t contributing. I guess all I can say is that for me, while I know I am not contributing financially, I am contributing. By raising Monkey and looking after him myself full time, it means we don’t have to pay someone else to do it for us. So it comes full circle. I could be earning money but then it would be going out straight away to cover childcare costs, and what would be the point?
Well, I am sure some women would say that the point is that they love what they do, That they need the intellectual stimulation. That they would rather be at work than at home looking after children all day. I can understand that and again don’t judge any woman for making that decision. And I won’t lie, there are times that being a SAHM can feel monotonous, and it can be exhausting, and lonely. But, I do find the rewards of being a SAHM more than make up for it, for me. Plus there are ways to get that stimulation, to break the monotony, without having to go to work. Blogging for one! Or doing any hobby that interests and challenges you.
So what are the rewards of which I speak, well this is where I get really happy. This is where I get to the positives that make me smile and puff up my chest with pride.
Why I love being a SAHM
I know my child better than anyone else. I know how to get him to try something new (even when he is adamantly shouting no). I know his current favourites. Be it phrases, activities, colours. I am the one with him nearly all day everyday and I know how all of his little individual quirks and eccentricities. I was the one who was with him when he said his first word, when he walked for the first time, the first time he counted to ten. No-one else has told me about these developments, I have seen them for myself.
I get to teach him. And take pride when he learns things as a result of the activities we do. I taught him (gradually in a fun, playing is learning way) how to count to ten. We are now working on letters. I am also teaching him about the world, more and more every day. I am teaching him manners, how to treat other people, and how not to.
I’m not saying you don’t get to do these things when you are a working parent but it has to be a bit different when someone else is caring for your child for a significant amount of time. There has to be a level of trust there that they are teaching the same beliefs as you would. That your child doesn’t get away with things with their carer that they wouldn’t with you. For a control freak like me that would be a concern and I like knowing that Monkey is learning what we think is right (we may not get it right all of the time but we are finding our way and it is our way, noone elses).
We have fun and try new things together. One of the ways to break the monotony is by experimenting with new things. doing new things together. This blog is a great motivator for that too as I like to be able to experiment with crafts and activities and talk about them here. Plus there are so many other fab blogs with tonnes of ideas for things to do together! We bake, paint and draw. We build, read and talk. We go on walks and explore the world. I see the world through his eyes.
Even at the moment, at 8 months pregnant and pretty exhausted, I love being with him. I need more help with him at the moment but I miss him when he’s not here, and I love when he comes back. He tests my patience and exasperates me. Some days he drives me potty because he is 2 and can be really irrational and over complicate things. But he is wonderful and funny too. He is kind and loving, methodical and imaginative. He gives the best cuddles and has the most infectious laugh.
I love that I am lucky enough to be the one who sees him at his best, and at his worst. In a couple of years time he will be going off to school and as he gets older he will move slowly but surely further away from his Mummy. He will grow up. I love that I am lucky enough to be able to spend this time with him now. I cherish it.
Just as wanting to go to out to work doesn’t make you any less of a mother, wanting to stay home and raise my children doesn’t make me any less of a person. Any less intelligent or interesting. In a world where so much emphasis is placed on what you ‘do’ and how hard you work, it can be difficult to feel proud of being a SAHM. I sometimes feel that I have to justify to some people why I feel being a SAHM is the best thing for my family and I at the moment. I know I don’t have to, and I very rarely bother. If someone wants to pass judgement then go ahead… but deep down it does bother me. I can’t help it, it just does.
I don’t know whether I will be a SAHM forever, I imagine I will want to work maybe part time when the children are at school, but for now, I love being a SAHM.