I am not enjoying being a “stay at home” mother.

Up until Tuesday I told the world proudly “I am a stay at home mom“. I have had this very well paid and much sought after position now for over twenty years. Even though in the past few years I have worked outside the home six days a week, because I am always here in the daytime I have felt entitled to give myself that title.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/9175200216/">brizzle born and bred</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

However, I realized on Tuesday, Wednesday and today Thursday, that I am in fact not a stay at home mother.

Well you may ask, “Why not?”. Simple I am rarely in the house!
If the last three days are really what it means to be a “stay at home” mother I will never again claim that title.

Let me enlighten you as to what deep thinking has brought me to this point.
On Monday my youngest child became unwell. This is a major event in our house as no one ever seems to get sick. (I put that down to the fact we permanently live as best friends with every germ known to man, but that’s another post.)
On this occasion I knew she was unwell as she came home from school on Monday crying, and between sobs I heard her wonder if she might be dying! So alas she had to stay home from school the following day.

She is still at home now three days later. And so am I. In case you are not getting it, that is three whole days inside my house. Three full days in which I have not left my home.
I have found the days long and it has caused me to remind myself of how my life used to be.

Twenty three years ago I spent my last full day at work. Following the birth of my first daughter I decided I would be the one to look after her. It was a decision I was comfortable with. Until I was faced with the reality of it.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stacya/3658729149/">stacya</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>

At the time I was in my early twenties, with no car. There was no bus to where I lived and I had no family close by. My husband worked 7am until 7pm. I was very much alone. An inexperienced mother, breastfeeding a young baby. Did I mention we only had three television channels?

The past three days have brought me back to what it was like in those early days, to really be a “stay at home” Mom. Because my little one is unwell I am literally housebound. It can feel as if the world is passing you by. The walls close in and you desperately try to keep yourself active. I can remember at times being so unhappy.

Whilst I admit I am a bit of a mother earth and adore children and being with children, I am not qualified in any other aspect of photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/solcookie/339047728/">solcookie</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>being a “stay at home” mother. I hate cleaning, cooking, washing or ironing. I am also useless at all forms of art and craft and my baking is not always a huge success. The very things a lot of people assume a “stay at home” mother spends hours doing.

The truth is “staying at home” and mothering is not ideal. However I don’t think many do “stay at home”. Most mothers who do not work outside the home, full or part time, actively live a life alongside their children but also one which has ready access to friends, walks, playgrounds, and playgroups. They do in fact not “stay at home”, but rather do not work outside the home.

In fact the title “stay at home” mother in our modern world is almost redundant. (Do you like what I did there? Redundant, and we never got paid in the first place!)
More and more mothers are working part time, whilst children are at school. Or are working from home, thanks to the internet. Most have cars and many friends and outlets to take them out of the home. Very few women really are “stay at home” mothers.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nctwebsites/5739519830/">NCT Websites</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

If truth be told, after these three days, I think my husband would chose for me to always be a “stay at home” mother. The house is clean, the dinner cooked, the laundry up to date and I am in when he rings.

However after three days of this I’ve had enough. I quit. My daughter goes back to school tomorrow.

I will caution myself not to drive off before she actually closes the door of the car tomorrow morning. As I wave her off with a big smile, she will be happy believing it is my expression of joy at her return to health, never knowing it is my Martin Luther King smile, “Free at last, thank God I’m free at last”.

photo credit: solcookie via photopin cc
photo credit: brizzle born and bred via photopin cc
photo credit: stacya via photopin cc
photo credit: NCT Websites via photopin cc

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26 thoughts on “I am not enjoying being a “stay at home” mother.

  1. I think clean, tidy houses are vastly over-rated – and what’s the point in putting clean clothes away in wardrobes and drawers, only to take them back out again when you want to wear them?

    Makes much more sense just to pile them on an armchair no-one is using and pick through them in the morning when deciding what to wear 😆

  2. I totally agree. I am a “stay at home” mom, but with my son in school I’m the only one here most days. So, that would make me a stay at home worker, I suppose. And that’s only because I do work from home via the internet and take care of that list of duties you mentioned each day. I love it because of the silence, but if I were to add a kid to my routine that would quickly change everything. I’d be the same as you with my kid by happily saying, “Bye, see you after 3.”

  3. I’m with you on this one, Tric. I was a stay-at-home Mum from the birth of rugby boy until Little My was three (five years). I spent as much time outside the house as in, because I’m just not a housewifey girl and refuse to spend my life worrying about whether the toilet duck really cleans behing the rim. To this day, I prefer playing with Playmobils to cleaning the house. I’ve finally plunked for working from home; as you say in your post, it’s the best solution to earn some money and be available for your children – which is one of the best investments a parent can make.

    1. Yes. I smile when I think back to how naive I was when I was expecting my first. I never really thought about the career I was giving up. To be honest I have often wished I was still “working”, but then I’ve had lots of other days wishing differently.

      1. There are disadvantages too – unless you are really disciplined, work takes a back seat compared to everything else. For example, I should be editing at the moment, and in fact I’m blogging – I worl on my computer, and wordpress pals are just a click away… 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the shout. I have resigned from awards as I fell behind and was getting very stressed. Instead I do the “freshly impressed” post every few weeks to highlight posts I really liked and to “give back”. Thank you so much though I really appreciate it.

  4. I had seen the blog post title and made a mental note to read, worrying that you were having some kind of crisis!! But agree, there are not so many people who stay at home and do nothing but housework and minding their children – I think that can be a lonely existence. We’ve all done it – those of us working outside the home do it while on maternity leave, and I think most would agree that having an outlet like meeting people, coffees, playgrounds, going to the local shop, working from home, working part-time, having a creative hobby….are all very healthy ways of managing to be a “SAHM”

    1. Thanks I am crisis free.:) At least now that she is gone back to school I am. It did remind me though of the isolation a first time mother feels. Makes me admire my mum more too. Her life was a bit “all work and no play” and she has remained sane and great craic.

  5. I had a great social life when the kids were little – there was a whirlwind of toddler groups and going for a walk with the buggy. Have to admit I love a week with at least 3 days at home but I’m obviously a huge failure as laundry is never up to date. I did nearly crack up 2 years ago when we were snowed in for 2 weeks!

    1. Yes confinement is beyond difficult. Not to mention the fact we get to see all that we should do and still don’t do it! I am well recovered from my three days. Oh and so is my daughter. 🙂

  6. I only work two days a week, but when I’m stuck at home with sick kids, I am so stir crazy!!! I think just because I’m forced to be there!!! I’m glad she’s feeling better, and that you can resume your “outside” life:)

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