Stay home mums. If you pay attention to how the media tends to portray them, they sit on the couch all day watching reality TV or enjoying playtime with the kiddies. Who wouldn’t want a gig like that?
Except that anyone who’s been around a real stay-at-home mum knows that the above scenario is a complete fabrication. Stay home mums – especially those who have multiple kids – spend their days changing nappies, running after the little devils, and generally trying to keep the entire home from descending into chaos. By comparison, your typical office seems like a veritable vacation.
If you are considering whether or not you can be – or want to be! – a stay-at-home mum, there are a number of things that are likely on your mind. You may not want to derail your career if you’ve got a great job, or may be afraid that you can’t afford not to work for a pay check if money is tight. Or you might worry about whether or not you’ll get bored, how hanging out with a baby all day will affect you, or if the benefits are worth the sacrifices.
No one can really answer those questions but you, and finances will obviously be a very important determining factor in whether or not you can simply quit a paid position to stay at home, but we’re here to shed a bit more light on some of those more pressing concerns and myths that get repeated.
You’ll be a bored stay-at-home mum
People who believe this are generally the ones subscribing to the image of mum eating bonbons and lounging all day. Talk to a few mums and ask them how bored they are. Most will tell you that taking care of the kids and the house is a constant race from one place to the next, with little downtime. Does that sound boring?
There are no benefits for a stay-at-home mum
If you’re going from a full-time office job to staying at home all day with your baby, it can be easy to focus on all the things that you will be losing. You’ll have less money, little interaction with adults, and much of the time you will probably be trapped at home – at least until the little ones are old enough to need you to shuttle them from place to place. But don’t make the mistake of thinking there are no benefits. By staying home with the kids, you get to experience firsthand a thousand different things that you would have missed if you’d kept your paid job. You’ll be right there for the first smile, the first step, the first word, and so much more. And the benefits to your child of having you around so much can’t be beat.
You can’t be an adult
Yes, you’ll be around your child all day, and yes, there’s a good chance that some of that childishness will rub off on you, but just because you happen to accidentally start spouting baby talk to your husband doesn’t make you any less of an adult. And one very adult thing that you might be able to do is work from home. If it’s possible at your company, see if they are open to letting you telecommute and continue with them part time. This can be a great way to keep earning money you need while being able to get the extra baby time that you want.
You won’t be able to handle it
Going from the workforce to becoming a full-time stay-at-home mum is a huge change, and it’s only natural that you will encounter some hiccups along the way if you decide to do it. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help. Parenting is a learning experience for everyone – even those who have been doing it for years!
Becoming a stay-at-home mum isn’t for everyone, and for many people it simply isn’t an option due to the money they would lose without a paying job. But if you are privileged enough to have the option, you owe it to yourself and your child to truly give it real consideration.
What are your experiences as stay-at-home mums?