BaSAHM Survival Kit – Resilience

The second instalment in the Becoming a Stay at Home Mum Survival Kit Series – All the things I think you need if you are going to survive becoming a stay at home mum! Next up, Resilience.

When I say resilience I guess what I mean is confidence in your belief that being a stay at home mum is the right thing for you to do. To not give in to doubts or be swayed by the opinions of others. Sounds simple but it can be very hard at times. The term ‘stay at home mum’ is a relatively new one, that replaces other labels such as ‘housewife’ and ‘home-maker’. In the not too distant past, being the housewife or the home-maker was the norm and it was much more unusual for women to continue working once they had children. We’ve come a long way since then. Working mothers are now much more common and stay at home mums have become the minority.

As I have said before I don’t know that one way is better than another, we each have to do what is right for us and our family. However being in the minority can be difficult as there seems to be a lot of people who struggle to understand why you want to be a stay at home mum. I am talking about mums as I am a mum but I am sure it is just the same, if not worse for some stay at home dads as they are even more of a minority group.

What am I talking about? Well when I speak to old colleagues and tell them I am a stay at home mum there is kind of an ‘oh’ moment and ‘ok, ‘sometimes a ‘what do you do all day?’ and recently ‘what will you do when the kids go to school?’ As if being a stay at home parent somehow tarnishes your record and you’ll never be part of the workforce again. Heaven forbid that you might not want to be part of the workforce, and that you might enjoy being a stay at home parent!

The opinion I struggle the most with is the suggestion that being a stay at home parent somehow means that you have a lower IQ or something. For example, when working mummies say that being a stay at home parent isn’t ‘enough’ for them and they need something more for themselves. That is fair enough and I understand they may feel like that and don’t think any less of them for it. Yet when it is turned around I have found some people are so confused why it is ‘enough’ for me right now. During a play-date conversation a couple of months ago another mum thought I said I was going back to work and immediately jumped in with an “Oh I am glad, you’re like me, you need something more.” It was really awkward having to say, no, um I’m not going back to work. I’m sure I will one day but not right now. I’m fine, and the fact that I want to stay at home to raise my children doesn’t make me any less intelligent.

Most of the time these things don’t bother me and people can think what they like. But sometimes it gets to me and the doubts creep in, so you have to be resilient enough to not let them get to you. To stand firm in your decision. I’ve written before about how hard it is to be proud of being a stay at home mum, to avoid risking offending someone so it’s not about saying that I’m right and other people are wrong. It’s just about having the resilience to listen to their opinions but not let them get to you or make you think you are doing the wrong thing or that you are somehow lesser because you don’t work .

Thankfully not everyone thinks like that. I also have mummy friends who say they enjoy work because it’s easier than being with the kids all day and less exhausting, who tell me they don’t know how I do it!

It’s not just about other people’s opinions either, a series of difficult days can beat you down to the point where  you think that maybe it isn’t the right decision. Going through a rough patch with food or sleep etc. can leave you wondering if maybe it would be better for both you and your child if you were at work and they were at nursery or a childminders, being looked after by people who know what they are doing. So you have to be resilient enough not to let the bad days drag you down. After all there is going to bad days no matter whether you are a working parent or stay at home parent. You have to dust yourself down, think about why you have chosen to be a stay at home parent and have the strength to see it through.

I’m not saying I manage this all the time – after all my blog is about becoming a stay at home mum rather than being one! It’s something I am getting better at though. Maybe if I reach the point where I don’t doubt myself or don’t care about other people’s opinions/comments that I will feel like I am a stay at home mum – rather than just someone who is trying to be one!

What do you think?

If you liked this post, why not have a look at the other posts in the survival kit: Perspective, Confidence and Creativity

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26 thoughts on “BaSAHM Survival Kit – Resilience

  1. I can relate to this one too. Admittedly though, three years down the road, I’m still struggling with my new label of being a SAHM. I miss work! Who knows, things may change once my little girl is in school? In the mean time, I’m just trying to enjoy my time with her as much as I can, especially since she’ll be of school-age soon. #PoCoLo

    • Hmmm I wonder if we will ever feel comfortable with the label? You’re absolutely right though, best to enjoy the time we have as I am sure it will fly by! Thanks for popping by 🙂

  2. I’m at the point where I need to decide if I’me going back to work after this maternity leave. If I decide to be a SAHM I will definitely be learning some resilience! x

    • Good luck with whichever you decide, and if you do decide to be a SAHM I have a few more posts planned about how to survive over the next few weeks 🙂 xx

    • Thank you. It is hard and you do have remind yourself that they aren’t being mean, they just don’t understand. Thanks for hosting! 🙂

  3. Finding your inner peace with being a stay at home mum is a very difficult thing. A lot of women never do. I loved your post, and I think it touches a lot of important issues, and will help a lot of people.
    It took me a few years to find my inner peace with it all and be able to look people in the eye while saying I am a stay at home mum, so I guess there is hope 🙂
    Besides, you can’t really win. After all had you been a working mum there would be those who look at you and say you are neglecting your child… So all you can do is whatever is good for you and forget everyone else.

    • Thank you, if it even helps one other mummy to know they are not the only person feeling like this then I will be happy. Nice to hear you have found your inner peace too – that definitely gives me hope! 🙂

  4. Lovely post, everyone must do what’s right for them and so wonderful so many of us have the choice. Don’t listen to any negativity, do what’s right for you and your family, Here from #allaboutyou

    • Thank you and you’re so right. We all have to do what is best for us and our family and try not to worry about what anyone else thinks xx

  5. This is music to my ears – Thank you! I am happy as a SAHM but the doubts do creep in and I do have my angsty days but there’s so much comfort in knowing others feel the same way. Loved the tips and hearing #AllAboutYou!

  6. I’m so pleased to find this series through #AllAboutYou today. It’s just what I needed to read. It’s a funny old moment when you realise that actually, you might not want to ‘have it all’ you might want to take the (less easy in lots of ways) route of being a full time Mum. Thanks for the wise words!

    • Well then I am definitely pleased you found it if it it helps you in any way! You’re more than welcome and yes being a full time Mum certainly isn’t the easy option – though I’m not sure there is one! 🙂 xx

  7. Interesting post. I am a SAHM and the needing more thing for me is about the fact that I am often pretty bloody bored. I know you are not supposed to say things like that but there is a relentless drudgery about being at home with the kids. The housework just goes on and on and on. I want to read a book.

    • Ha ha bless you, I can understand that, the housework is endless and kids aren’t always the best conversationalists. I’ve definitely had periods of time where I have felt hugely bored and have been doing lots of baking or blogging, or yep, reading a good book (snatching 5 mins here or there where I can). But I still know that I would rather do this and watch him grow than not be a SAHM. That’s just me though I know not everyone feels the way I do, besides I’m still a newbie SAHM, maybe I will change my mind. Something else I’ve thought about recently is that even though as a SAHM we are often physically busy, it’s not always mentally occupying, which I guess is why it’s easy to get bored, and why so many of us like to write blogs or use our brains for creative things like photography or crafty things 🙂

    • Ha ha I just read yours as you were reading mine, great minds and you are so right.. it’s a shame not everyone can understand that though!

  8. Really interesting post – I posted a while ago from an email forward about what being a SAHM means if you turn it on its head and think about what it would mean in “professional terms”; imagine a role which requires you to be “on” 24 hours a day, act as mediator, co-ordinator, research analyst into every new stage your children are at and how they interact, intermediary, manager… the list goes on! Everyone chooses their path for their own reasons, and we should never allow others to judge us, as hard as that may be, and hence your resilience comes into play. Believe in YOU, whether as a SAHM or WM, you’re still the person within. Thank you so much for joining us on #AllAboutYou, hope to see you again next Tuesday!

    • Thank you and that is very true, there is a lot of work involved other than the housework and childminding that immediately comes to mind when you think of an SAHM. It’s a shame we judge each other at all but it seems to be so prevalent in our society that regardless of whether you are a SAHM or WM you have to be resilient to not let it affect you. No problem at all and I will see you next Thursday! xx

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