My love and hate relationship with being a stay at home mom
I do not have a problem with being a stay at home mom/wife. Well, in the beginning, I did have it because I would belittle my worth as a stay at home mom. After all, I was not contributing to the household financially, or so I thought… I must admit that it seems that I have a love & hate relationship with being a stay at home mom.
Hate to say it but I would get so defensive (I still get a little bit but not as much) when my husband would make some comments like “I have to work because we have to pay bills” or “I don’t feel good but I still have to work.” Maybe it was the way he said it, a bit sarcastic and indirect. I would always say that yes, I knew I was not contributing financially and that I wish I could help more. Sometimes he would make snarky comments and so I would answer back in a snarky way too. For instance, if I mentioned that I was tired he would be like “can you imagine waking up at 4 am?!” Oh my God! I would respond “can you imagine waking up every 2 hours and not getting 5-6 hours straight of sleep?” It seemed that we were competing on who was more tired. However, when we would sit down and talk calmly, we would agree that it was good that I was staying home. My husband made me see that I was actually contributing financially because if I worked, we would have to pay for daycare. Daycare here in California is not cheap, so probably almost everything of whatever I would get paid would go towards daycare. So yes, I guess I am saving us daycare.
Why was I getting defensive about that? I guess I could probably say that I was adjusting to being a stay at home mom and wife. Also, family members would make comments such as “I used to work when my kids were little,” “I want you to work in something related to your degree,” “don’t just depend on your husband,” or “how do you guys do it with one income?” Other people would not make comments directly to me but to my husband, even worse huh? To top it off, one time, my mom blatantly told me, “you have to work.” She said that probably because she worked all her life even when I was a baby/toddler. Either that or she wanted to take care of her only granddaughters (I am her only child) for free (it is not sarcastic, she really loves little kids, so she would not mind). I am so blessed to have a mom like that because she really does not mind taking care of them. Her sister asked her when she was coming to stay with me for a couple of months why was she coming to struggle with kids! She was like “I do not struggle, they are my only granddaughters and love being with them.” Awww! that made me realize that it is a blessing that my mom is like that. Some grandmas do not want to do that because they say they are done raising kids, or say they are too old for that…
Here it is when some of us stay at home moms feel unappreciated, undervalued, guilty, isolated at some point. Unappreciated because we do not often hear “thank you” for doing stuff around the house while taking care of our children since that is what we are “supposed” to do as stay at home moms. Undervalued because c’mon staying at home must be so easy right? Not! Guilty because we do not contribute financially, or we have it so “easy” by staying home that God forbid we do something for ourselves alone or say we are tired because we were at home all day. Isolated because, well, even though we are not alone we are not out there in the workforce having coworkers to chat with, or our friends cannot completely relate to us. I have had all those feelings, but you know what? It is mostly self negative talk. Yeah, even if we hear comments from our family members or close friends; it is up to us to let those comments get to us. I have and it is not healthy, that is why I am working on it. I believe it is mostly how we talk to ourselves what our subconscious believes, not what we hear from other people. I thought about that a lot and to me, it makes sense. We do not hear those comments all the time from people since they usually make them once. On the other hand, when we are talking down to ourselves, it is something constant that we do not catch ourselves doing so because we tend to do it unconsciously.
Now, I see more positive things about being a stay at home mom/wife. Some of those things thanks to my husband who made me realize them and some I already knew. For instance, the main one for me is that I get to raise my daughters. Among other things, I get to teach them important stuff such as respect, manners, and other language: Spanish. I am learning French so I will later try to teach them that too. Although I must admit it is somewhat hard to teach them Spanish because 1) I am the one who speaks it more fluently (my teen speaks it too but speaks more English) and 2) they hear more English (t.v. and people around us) because I, too, find myself talking to them in English or Spanglish. I do not doubt that they could learn stuff at daycare but I doubt it is going to be better than what I can do for them.