I was a Stay-at-home-mum. This was a choice my husband and I made together because it is what worked best for our family. I am now a work-from-home-mum which has it’s own set of challenges. There are however a few misconceptions of a stay-at-home mum that I would like to challenge.
We sit on our arse eating biscuits and watching TV all day
I wish! I definitely sat for longer and ate more biscuits when I was at work than I do now. Now there are days when my arse doesn’t touch a sofa until 8:00pm. There are perks to my job, I run my own schedule and I’m the boss. There are great days which involve baking and meeting up with friends for a tea (and maybe a biscuit). But those days mean I have worked twice as hard the day before and done double the amount of chores.
When I took on my new job, I thought it would be easy to keep on top of the housework. It wasn’t hard when there was just the two of us. But we are four now, and kids come with a whole lot of stuff and make a whole lot of mess with it. There are three universal rules that apply to all households with children.
- The washing basket is never empty.
- Someone is always hungry.
- There is always a mess to be cleaned up.
On good days my job is rewarding and fun. On normal days it is challenging and busy, on bad days it is monotonous and thankless. But on no days do I sit on my arse eating biscuits all day.
I am rich
I know I am lucky to be in a position where financially I don’t have to work. But I got into that position by working hard, saving hard and not getting myself into loads of debt. We are not rich. We make sacrifices. We very rarely go out to dinner, we haven’t been abroad for six years. We don’t go to concerts and the children don’t have season tickets to theme parks. We live to a really tight budget but we make it work for us. I am not by any means rich.
I am on benefits
The flip side to people assuming I am rich is that they assume I am reaping in the money by claiming loads of benefits. The only benefit I receive is child benefit, which until last year so did anyone in this country with children. When people assume I am on benefits they always do so whilst looking down their noses and acting superior to me. The benefit system is in place for a reason and helps those that need it. There are always those that take advantage and sometimes the system can be unfair, but so is most people’s attitude towards those who do receive benefits. But no, the government does not pay me to sit on my arse eating biscuits all day. My husband does!
I have nothing worthy to contribute
This one is perhaps the hardest for me to deal with. It wasn’t that long ago that being a stay-at-home Mum was the norm. But now I live in a society where I feel I have to justify not having a ‘real’ job. Maybe it’s my job title. I hate the term ‘housewife’, I did not say ‘I do’ to bricks and mortar. But in the same vein ‘stay-at-home’ Mum has a sort of prisoner ring to it. In my previous life I worked my way up, I held my own in boardrooms, I hired people, I fired people, I dealt with difficult clients. In my current job I have to negotiate harder than I ever did in boardrooms, and there is no client more difficult than a tantrum throwing toddler, and I can’t quit if it all gets too hard.
Some of my friends attitudes have changed towards me, they no longer ask my opinion. Being a stay-at-home mum doesn’t strip me of my intelligence. Okay maybe the first few months, but when the baby fog lifts I’m still here. I am still capable and worthy.
I voted in our current government because they promised to be all about families and pledged tax breaks for married couples. But they turned against me and my family. I have nothing against their initiatives to help with childcare costs so mums can go back to work. But some of us want to be at home, and language like “those that want to work hard and get on” implies that I am lazy and have no aspirations, that my job is unworthy.
Being a stay-at-home mum is a valid and worthy job that shouldn’t need justifying.
The media pits working mums and stay-at-home mums against one another so much that we end up in a situation where we can’t do right for doing wrong. At the end of the day every parent I know, stay-at-home, or working, is doing their best and wants the best for their child.
And now that rant is off my chest I’m going to go and lay on my chaise lounge and eat biscuits for the rest of the day whilst the maid does the housework and the kids fend for themselves!