“I hated being a Stay-at-Home Mum”
There, I said it. But before you come after me with pitchforks, let me explain myself....
I wanted to stay at home. I really did. From the moment my eyes fell on my baby boy, I dreamt of blissfully nursing and cuddling up with him all day.
I imagined all the precious moments we would spend together - me singing to him at every diaper change, reading to him when he was awake, and smelling his powdery face, feet, fingers when he was asleep.
I read studies and countless articles expounding upon the benefits for kids who have a parent with them at home.
So many women tell their beautiful stories on how staying at home is the most rewarding job in the universe. While I found myself nodding at these women, agreeing that it may be the most special thing for your family, I wasn't cut out for it. Some women aren't, but you're not allowed to say that, are you?
I fear I’m missing a SAHM chip, because I did not feel the same way. I was a regular mum who was truthful to myself that I would never properly settle into quitting my job and being home 24/7. No matter how much I love my sons.
As a new mother, it's easy to feel isolated or imprisoned at home. But this wasn’t the only reason why I chose to get out and work - my decision was a culmination of things.
Here are my issues with being a SAHM:
There’s no getting around the fact that Singapore isn’t a cheap place to raise kids.
There are some women (and men) who just can’t afford to stay at home. I was lucky to be able to get by on one income. But living on just my husband’s income would definitely put a dent in our cash flow. Pregnancy and childbirth are expensive. Raising children… enough said.
Yes, I thought hard about the moolah. I didn't feel comfortable spending my husband's hard-earned money on getting my nails done, or shopping for swanky new heels. I knew I had to chip in substantially so that my child would get whatever he wanted.
I spent so much time worrying, crying and nursing (not necessarily in that order), that it made me think I was not cut out for parenting at all. Forget about it being full time! I wanted days off. I wanted to call in sick. I wanted to quit. When you’re alone with a colicky baby (who cries and screams all day), things can get really hard. He got better a few months later, but those early memories have never left me.
When you’re alone with your child all day, you have the ‘liberty’ of worrying about things that you otherwise would not. My worry list was endless…. fever, choking, diaper rash, unusual poop, developmental milestones, immunizations
As I stood by the hallway, watching my husband get ready for work in the morning, I felt resentful. He had an escape, an avenue to get out and interact with other adults, while I did not. He got to sleep every night without someone chewing on his already-painful nipples. He got to have silent moments - away from all the cries and screams.
Everything my husband did reminded me of the contrast between his freedom and my ‘servitude’. I was driving myself up the wall, and I knew this wasn’t healthy. And I had to go back to work.
I’m not one who can understand the mummy wars. To me, whichever side you land on, you'll endure wounds and battle scars.
What's best for each woman and her family is an individual matter, one no one but she can answer.
When you’re battling solitude and exhaustion, going back to work seems like the smartest and most sane thing to do. It was the hardest decision of my life, but it had to be made. I can now happily say that I did the right thing. For myself, for my baby (now babies) and for my family.
What are your thoughts on being a stay-at-home mum? Any mums feel the same way I did? I would love to hear from you!