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I have officially marked my first year as a stay-at-home mum. Oslo is one and I feel now with my experience and all I have...

THOUGHTS FROM A STAY-AT-HOME MUM

October 17, 2016


I have officially marked my first year as a stay-at-home mum. Oslo is one and I feel now with my experience and all I have been through, I wanted to get this written and out there. I want to share my thoughts and feelings about being a full-time mum to a baby in these times.
My mum stayed at home to raise my two sisters and me. That was her job and what she feels is her greatest achievement. Back when I was a kid, most of my friend's mums were at home. Some of them might have had a part-time job, but having your mum at home full-time was the norm.
Flash forward thirty or so years to now and a stay-at-home mum is a rare thing. Suddenly it feels as if a woman's worth is best achieved in a job outside the home at work; less so in the time she spends at home raising her children. When my mum was raising us it was more normal for the father to go off and bring home the bacon, while the mother took care of the children and home. This is how it had been for so many years before women strove for “equality” with men and had the choice of what career path to take. So now that women in the West can be – mostly --  whoever they want, I feel people think it's strange to want to go back to the days where women stayed at home. My role as a stay at home mum in the 21st century is being questioned now more than ever.
Now I want to preface this post by saying I support every single mother out there. Whether she works, stays at home, has her child in daycare or has a nanny, family, or friend caring for her child, mothers are incredible. We all are. No matter if you are doing it with someone or alone, together we are raising the future, and that is huge. So my opinion is not meant to take anything away from working mothers or fathers at all. I just want to express myself on how I feel I am viewed as a mother who is exclusively raising her child from home.
I can't begin to tell you how many times I am asked in a month: what’s your plan next? What's my next step? What will I do after Oslo goes to school? Where do I see myself? At times I feel like I am in a job interview with the amount of questions I get regarding my future and ambitions. I usually answer politely and say, I'm not the type who looks too far in the future because I prefer to live in the present, and am happy with where I am right now. Then I usually get a follow up question like, yeah but you can't be a stay-at-home mum forever, what will you do? These questions always make me feel smaller than I am and that my role as a mum is being degraded. It's frustrating to say the least, and I always have a hard time not getting defensive.
Now that I can reflect on it, I do feel I should defend my view. I take pride in my role as a mother who chooses to stay at home to raise my son, to ensure he is getting the best care possible. I should also defend the other women who are lucky enough to do this and sacrifice so much for it. I should defend that I think a stay-at-home parent should get a small salary for choosing not to build a career for raising their children.
Why is it that our partners – the breadwinners – get all the glory in today's society? Yes, it's an incredible thing to have a partner who can solely support us, and I am grateful to James everyday for the hard work he puts in at his job. But seriously, us stay-at-home parents are proving our worth through our child's daily development and ensuring they have a bright future.
To me that deserves a whole lot of glory.
Almost every person that has asked me these questions is a man, which I find interesting. In a way it does make sense because as women we know even if we take on different responsibilities, whether we work outside the home or choose to stay at home, we all can agree we are playing an important role. I have been told by many of my friends who have to work to provide for their families, that if they could they would choose to stay at home and raise their children, in a heartbeat. So I do feel extremely lucky to be in my role, but I feel some men don't see it that way. It seems they automatically take the side of the man. In many ways they make me out to be a bit of a freeloader and don't see how important and challenging both our roles are. After James hears all of the questions I am being asked, he always expresses how much he loves that I am raising our Oslo at home and he supports our decision fully. However it does seem we always leave the conversation feeling a bit judged and misunderstood. Ultimately I know we don't have to explain our way of life to questioning parties, but I feel a responsibility to express myself to these people so they can understand a little more the importance of my role and the validity of it.
I feel like the biggest misconception of a parent that stays home is that it's not a job. Maybe people think I wake up, then play a little with the baby, watch television, eat some snacks, and talk on the phone to my girlfriends. I wish! But for anyone who has spent even one day at home with a baby and exclusively looked after a home, cooked, and took care of the daily chores, then you will know that it is in fact a job with many different responsibilities. It's constant work, it can be exhausting and lonely at times, and it can feel like I am taking on too much. There are moments even after the sun goes down and Oslo is asleep, that I still have countless things to finish and that my job is never over. This job is chaotic. Even though I spend most days in lounge wear with a messy bun on my head, it doesn't make my role any less valuable.
I chose and choose everyday to stay at home. Or I should say James and I chose. I wasn't in a 1950s scenario where James worked and I was a housewife because that's what women are meant to do. No, I can honestly say for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a stay-at-home mum. It was a conversation that came up many times even before we had Oslo, and we both felt strongly that if we were lucky enough to have a baby, then we would work hard to make it happen. So that's what we decided and have been doing for this past whirlwind year. This year has had countless up and downs, yet through all of the emotional battles with myself, Oslo, and many times with James, I truly love this new role I have thrown myself into. Being a mother and one who stays at home gives me so much joy. Yes, there are moments of frustration and complete exhaustion, but this is the first time in my life where I love my job through it all. For me that's the most important thing and makes me feel I don't need to defend myself to anyone, because I made this decision with my partner and it's the best thing for our family.
I love that I get to wake up Oslo every morning and plan a fun, educational day for him, so he can grow, learn and experience all the amazing things in this world. I'm there for every milestone and moment. I'm there anytime he wants or needs me. I'm there through it all, and for me that's why I became a mother and why I chose to stay at home and raise him. He is my greatest achievement and I'm only one year in.
So if you ever have questions as to why a mum would sacrifice building her career, take a massive pay cut, choose to spent 24/7 with her baby, and rarely get time to herself because the job is unrelenting, just remember it's a choice and an incredibly noble one that needs much more respect and credit than it is given.
To me and to many others it is the best job in the world and even though I can't technically ever quit, I know I would never want to.

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7 Comments

  1. YES. It is an incredibly difficult and noble choice. You are amazing.

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    1. Thank you so much, such a sweet message!
      Jules
      xxx

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  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I made the exact same choice, and of course my husband and I made sacrifices when deciding to lose my salary (not that I would be left with much after childcare) and I always feel terribly guilty at spending any money on myself, but I would not change my decision for anything and feel so so so lucky that I get to be the one who teaches my daughter and sees her through so much. It is just amazingly humbling and wonderful....and I flipping love it!
    Jessica
    (@homeisacottage)

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment lovely Jessica! Yay another stay-at-home mum! I feel the exact same way with feeling guilty about spending money on myself. It's really hard with that! I love it so much too, and it is so worth the sacrifice of more money, time alone, and builing a career. So nice to see so many stay-at-home mums coming together. Lovely to know I am not alone!
      Jules
      xxx

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  3. Ah Jules. You are doing an incredible job. Anyone who judges your family set up is so wrong to do so. How I wish I could do what you are doing. If we were in a situation that allowed it, I'd as you say, join you in a heartbeat. As someone who years for that but doesn't have it, it surprises me to hear the reactions that your are dealing with from people - men in particular. Being a mum is the best and hardest job in the world. I have Mondays off work and work Tuesday to Friday and by far Monday is both my best and most exhausting day of the week. Keep your head up high Jules and be proud of what you are doing. Oslo is a little wonder xxxx

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    1. Thank you so much Jules, that really means a lot to me! That is nice for a working mum that you get to spend the weekends and Monday with Oscar. It gives you a good balance, but I'm sure it still isn't as much as you would like. I totally agree it is the best and hardest job! It's nice to know we are all in this crazy Motherhood journey together. xxx

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  4. Thanks for sharing your feelings about this topic, that I also feel strongly about. Your honesty is also inspiring for me as a fellow blogger.
    I was proud to spend the first year with my baby, and was heartbroken to have to go back to work albeit part-time. Then, since we moved to France I have been a stay-at-home-mum / sometimes work-from-home mum, and I really value the time I have with my son and being able to educate and entertain him myself when he's not at preschool. This means more to me than my career choices. Though I do feel the pinch of not earning my own salary.
    I can especially relate to your words here:

    "So if you ever have questions as to why a mum would sacrifice building her career, take a massive pay cut, choose to spent 24/7 with her baby, and rarely get time to herself because the job is unrelenting, just remember it's a choice and an incredibly noble one that needs much more respect and credit than it is given."

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