Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Expectations of a stay at home parent...

When my youngest daughter started school last year, I couldn't believe my luck! I had spent the past 9 years tending children's needs, both physical and emotional. Finally! Some time for myself!

I savoured my time at home alone and took the time to pursue interests that had been on the back burner for so long. After a few months had gone by, I started to get a nagging feeling...like people were expecting more of me. "Why hasn't she gone back to work yet", "Doesn't she get bored?" or the classic...."What do you DO all day?".

I loved my time at home and suddenly I was feeling guilty about it. Why is there an expectation for woman to go back to work the minute their children are all at school? Don't we do valuable work in the home, albeit unpaid, but still necessary for the home to run smoothly? Shouldn't we be encouraging and supporting those who chose to live this way?

Don't get me wrong, I take my hat off to working mums (and dads!), but I know that right now it is not for me. Thankfully we are (just) in a financial position to do so. Maybe one day work will be for me. Right now I am content to nurture the home and those in it. I resent the fact that there is a social expectation to do otherwise. After the feelings of guilt came about, I started doubting myself. Was my idea to lead a slower paced life just an excuse for being lazy? Was that how other people saw me?

But the thing is, I'm not lazy. I'm not sitting on my butt all day watching trashy reality tv. I'm Busy. I'm Doing. I'm actively nurturing the home, even if those who are in the home happen to be out from 9 till 3:30pm every weekday. This is great! It allows me to Get. Stuff. Done!

Reading Rhonda's blog is really helpful if you are finding yourself in this same predicament. She puts the sense back into why people are choosing to slow down. I'm so glad I stumbled over her little space a few months ago. I may well be in a lost space right now if I hadn't (either that or back at work). Hop on over and take a look if you haven't already.

I feel I know myself a little better now. I have come to the realisation that there will always be those out there that expect more. This doesn't worry me like it used to, let them expect. It's not their life, it's mine and right now it belongs in the home, which I'm really proud about.


7 comments:

  1. I struggle with this same thing a lot. The bloody guilt. I am always being asked when am I going to put my youngest in daycare and go back to work. I sometimes feel that unless you earn money your time is not validated. I love looking after my kids, I love being at home and being able to give them best start that I can, and for my husband and I, putting them in daycare while we both work is not something that WE want to do. Like you, its busy, busy busy at home, I often think other people think I am lazy, and a lady of leisure- when my right eye sticks shut at 9pm as I am so tired from the day the last thing I feel is I have been lazy,
    Phew...off my box now.
    Just saying, I hear you sister, I hear you. Be wonderfully proud of that constantly evolving family nest that you have created.

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  2. Argh! My youngest doesn't go to school until next year, but I'm *already* dodging the questions from other mothers about what I am going to "do" with all my "free time", meaning, "where will you work outside the home". Beyond frustrating when I am really, really looking forward to settling into some serious veggie gardening and cooking LOL. Luckily my hubby is supportive - although it helps when I show him how much after school care for three kids costs ;-)

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  3. Forget what people say. Do what you want to do. You are providing an amazing home for your family which they really appreciate. Plus, I really enjoy reading your blog each week.
    I actually did some gardening on Saturdays at Angi's. It made me think of you. Trish and I ended up doing most of it though.
    Keep it up !!!
    Kylie
    xoxo

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  4. I know where you are coming from. While our boys are still young people are okay with me to be at home with them. As soon as they are at school, the pressure will be on for me to go back to paid work outside of the house. We live well on one wage.

    This is how we have chosen to live. We pay our own way, don't have alot of debt, we don't expect others to live our lifestyle. If they did they would find, that they didn't need all the junk they end up slaving away for.

    We have something that money can't buy and that is a happy, loving home. Something we wouldn't have with the pressures and stress of trying to juggle to do it all.

    Thanks for today's post. Hope you are having a lovely day.

    Cheers, Deb

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  5. Thanks for the feedback girls! I'll admit I'm a little shy when it comes to posting about my personal feelings, but it's good to know we're not alone out there. I think the key to this situation is having a supportive partner, without them it just doesn't work (or it's a lot harder!).

    Kylie, great to hear from you! Take care xxoo

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  6. I'm in exactly the same position as you are. Both of my girls are at school now and I feel guilty for not going out and working. I really enjoy staying at home and providing a comfortable home for my family and take some of the stress off my husband. If we were both at work I think things would be more stressed for us. I understand that I am fortunate and am glad I can do it. I take my hats off to working Mums and Dads.

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  7. I agree, Catherine, it IS so satisfying being an 'at home' parent. We really are very fortunate. :)

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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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