Dancing like nobody’s looking
Recently our family made a fairly big lifestyle choice. For many reasons, but mostly we love change and we also have always believed in those tired cliches of ‘living life in the moment’ and just really being able to fully enjoy our little kidlin. After 10 months of working full time and having H go to daycare, we decided that I would call it quits (hate that word!) and that we would be pulling him from daycare…I am truly excited and happy to say that I am now a Stay at Home Mom.
Let’s discuss this. What does that term even mean? Though it may seem innocuous enough, it seems it is actually quite heavy with meaning.
I’ve come across various ideas of what a SAHM is from different people but they seem to veer on either end of a bizarre spectrum with the two major assumptions (and I say assumptions since these are in no way actual definitions) outlined below:
1 – Depressed and overly-stressed woman who has zero adult interaction and who regrets her decision to stay home to raise her kid/kids. Waits anxiously at the door for her husband to come home and release her from crazy screaming toddlers and baby mayhem. Commonly found with cake batter in her disheveled hair and coffee stains on her sweatshirt.
2 – Perfectly coiffed Super-Mom. This chickita manages to somehow make gourmet meals, look amazing, squeeze in lunches with girlfriends and arrange fun playdates for her well-behaved Super-Offspring. Hubby jokes about her spending habits but comes home to model show-home that is clean every evening and a happy family all the time.
Realistically I fit into neither category, as I’m sure most don’t, and yet these seem to be the prevailing assumptions made when the term ‘stay at home’ is used. For me, it is simple – I’m choosing to spend more time with my family. In no way does this mean I am sacrificing my self-worth, social life, intelligence, or ability to contribute to society. On the flipside, neither will I be churning out beautifully plated meals every night, signing up for pilates or teaching my child five languages. I think I’ll probably end up falling somewhere in between where, just like any job, there will be good days and bad days.
I also think Stay at Home is a bit of a misnomer since most days we are out and about H is signed up for some fun programs and we are lucky enough to have friends to have playdates with, so while we cherish our rest time at home, its more like a home-base for our various adventures in the city.
We got a range of responses when letting friends and family know about the recent choice we made. It was sad that some immediately thought that something negative happened at work and that me staying home was a default. I guess it was such a natural decision that once we figured we could make it work, I didn’t have to think twice about it. What stood out was the ton of positive reinforcement which was awesome. Every family is different and you just do what ya gotta to make it work.
Though I enjoy working (outside the home that is, since what I do now is definitely still work!) I really feel, and this may be naive or overly optimistic, that I have lots of time to do that. So while it was sad to leave, it was definitely bittersweet.
Right now I’m looking forward to spending some fun times with the little guy and just taking life as it comes