Mum’s The Word

Is being a stay-at-home mum a privilege...or punishment?

To be a stay-at-home mum — it’s the stuff of dreams for some women, and yet for others, it’s a reality sent to drive some of the sanest women, well, insane. If someone told me 15 years ago that at age 30, I’d be a stay-at-home mum, with two little ones — one aged three, the other 11 months — I would say they are pulling my leg. As the younger child in my family, and one of the youngest among my cousins, I never really had the chance to look after another little human being. I thought babies were cute, but place them in my arms and I’d be scared out of my wits. What do I do with these “things”? Fast-forward 15 years later and I’m still not very sure of what I’m doing.

As someone whose mother worked, I was mainly looked after by my grandparents. So I’ve never had a proper idea of what being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM) is. Many seem to think it is a very easy job. I use the term “job” lightly, as it’s not really a “job” looking after my kids, but rather my duty as their mother. When I think of a SAHM, I think of a woman capable of handling herself and her kids well in situations that vary from day to day. Or the Pinterest mother who makes her kids meals from scratch, bakes and teaches them to read and write.

Then there’s the work-at-home mum (WAHM). The woman able to work and look after her kids at home while juggling all other responsibilities. Whether you’re a SAHM or WAHM, there’s still a daily to-do list: Cooking, cleaning, running errands, grocery shopping, and driving kids to and from school.

Not forgetting the stay-at-home kids. We forget that kids are simply little versions of adults. On high-speed. Looking after the household and kids on your own isn’t always an easy task. There is so much more involved than just simply “looking after them”. There is the continuous picking-up of toys strewn all over the house; telling them what and what not to do; spills of food or drink on the floor, on the table, on the sofa; messes on the bed or in the toilet if they’re potty-training, changing a diaper immediately after just changing a soiled diaper because they couldn’t go all at once. And these are just some of the things I do every day.

It’s no surprise then that household chores tend to take a back seat, simply because they have been forgotten. The end result: More washing in the laundry, clothes that haven’t been hung out to dry, dirty dishes in the sink… you get my drift.

So being a SAHM isn’t as easy as some people may think. Today, we’re living in a world of career-driven women, but I personally see a lot of benefits in staying home. It sounds like a kaleidoscope of mundane, insignificant, everyday things. However, we are not only able to watch our children grow; we are able to take part in the nurturing of that growth. And when the time comes for them to “leave the nest”, we will be confident they will be able to face the “real world”.

Some may feel that becoming a SAHM is equivalent to settling, but I see it as an accomplishment I can look back on when I’m old. You may say I’m doing things in reverse, because one day when the children are a little older, I’d like to do some part-time work. For now, I am happy where I am. So here’s to the SAHM and WAHM — thank you, ma’am!

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