Why I Decided To Be A SAHM For More Than A Year
From as long as I can remember I have always been working. Working always gave me a sense of independence and as a teenager I relished in the fact that I was making my own money! I never really had any big responsibilities at the time, so I enjoyed spending my money on whatever I wanted. After having my daughter and becoming a independent mother all the above changed slightly. I had to put her first in all my decisions. It has never ever been something that I have regretted because my daughter has helped to bring out so many different sides to me. My daughter has taught me that contrary to my upbringing there is someone much more important than myself, she has also taught me that I cannot have everything I want whenever I want and that sometimes I must wait for things that I require/feel that I need.
Taking 2 years out from working was a no brainer for me. I always mention the fact that I have an incredible support system in place and this has helped to make my decision much easier. It must be known that despite having a super support system, my daughter and I spend every day together. Sure, there are days where my mother will take Bella out or spend some time with her whilst I have some “me time,” but other than that I am quite happy to be actively involved in my daughter’s life.
It was never on my mind to leave my daughter with a bunch of strangers and return to the working world. How could I?! I had formed such a beautiful bond with her and I have been her sole carer since the beginning of time, so there was no way that I would put her in a nursery and return to work. I do not judge those who have placed their children in childcare and have returned to work because I believe that every woman should do what is right for them with no judgement. Some people may look at me and think, “okay your daughter is older now, you really need to put her into a nursery, let her socialise.”
My response to such people is,
“my daughter is MY daughter. Whatever decision I make for her is for her own good. My daughter does socialise and has amazing social skills. In fact, I rarely meet many two-year olds who can communicate to the level that Isabella-Grace can. Bella is an extremely sociable, articulate and gifted little girl and she has opportunities daily to socialise with children of all age groups.”
My daughter is thriving in every way possible and she is fortunate to have a mother who is well educated on the different developmental milestones for the various age groups. My daughter is never forced to reach a particular milestone, I set up age appropriate activities for her to participate in whilst having in depth conversations with her about what she is doing. I am not particularly fussy about her knowing everything at this stage because she is only 2 and 4 months, but is already able to count up to 20 and has an extensive vocabulary bank. I take each day as it comes with her and we focus on learning new things each day. I particularly enjoy taking her out for day trips so she can see more of the world and have hands on experiences. We enjoy play dates, dinner dates and educational trips. I am sure that she loves embarking on these new adventures because she is an outdoor kind of gal! I personally feel that if I placed her in a childcare setting she may miss out on these daily escapades because I know nurseries are unable to take children out on trips every day because of ratio.
I have been to look at many nurseries within my area and I can say with every confidence that not one meets the standard I would expect for me to even consider sending my daughter there. I remember visiting one where several of the children were walking around with runny noses and it made me feel so bad for the children, the staff sat there deeply engaged in conversation. If I am to send my child to a nursery I need to know that the setting is outstanding, I also need to know that the level of care I give my daughter shall be reciprocated. I pay excellent attention to detail with Isabella-Grace and I am aware that in larger settings this will not always the case. I feel that the care and attention she receives will always be greater coming from me - her mother, not a nursery or a childminder. I do not say the above to bash any childcare establishment at all, there are many really good settings out there, but some for me are slightly out of reach.
There are a few other reasons why I decided not to return to work so soon also, but my daughter and her well-being have always been the driving force for what I have decided to do. My daughter influences every decision that I make because if I am doing something to benefit us, I need to consider how she will be affected and what benefit it will be to us. Her happiness is more important to me and after a recent experience it is imperative that this stays the focus always. Sometimes we may find ourselves in situations where we need to make difficult choices, but as mothers we should always put our children first. I do not regret any decision I have made because if I had chosen to stay in certain toxic situations I can see how over time this would have caused my daughter and I more harm than good. It is just not healthy at all and I encourage you all – if you ever find yourself in a disturbing situation; make wise decisions, stay safe and do not ever look back!
Understandably not everyone is able to be able to work with their children and earn extra income because of lack of resources, limited knowledge or support. I feel that there should be more in place to help mothers who would like to get back into work so that they can utilise their spare time and walk back into the working world in their own time with an abundance of confidence. It is reassuring when your boss can be understanding and allow you to have shorter shifts or even work part-time. I feel that more employers should be much more supportive of mothers seeking flexible working patterns as this will enable them to balance work life, personal life and their family life. What many (especially those who are yet to become parents) do not realise is that your children will always be your most prized and valuable possessions, you want to ensure that they have everything that they need, but you also would like to make sure that you are looking after yourself too. How can you do this if you are working long hour shifts daily, falling asleep at your desk and constantly collecting your children late from school?! If you have it all together than kudos to you Mama, but if you do not, please do not struggle with this any longer! Speak to your manager and put in a request to change your working shift so that you can continue doing your job, but also have some time to do other things too. You are not a robot at all and I preach about this constantly, but I am about to say it again..if something is not bringing you peace, then think about ways that you can change it or make it better.
If you are working full-time I do not want you to suffer with mum guilt or feel like you are a bad mother. What you are doing to provide for your family is selfless, I am sure that every moment you are not with your children may cause you great sadness, but the time you are with them you cherish and hold close to your heart. Take heart and rest knowing that what you are doing is creating a brighter future for you and your little ones. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what you are doing especially as you are trying your best. You are creating a future for your children which they will one day show much appreciation for, but for now they may be too young to understand. If most of us could be SAHMs forever, I am sure that a lot of people would jump at this opportunity because it means they will watch their children grow up right before their eyes and be with them daily. Not everything is as straightforward as that and many mums return to work for many different reasons; financial difficulties, being an independent mother meaning they are the breadwinner, for a sense of freedom or even because they are used to working and want their children to see that it is absolutely fine to work and still hold down their family.
Becoming a mother helps you to develop a thick skin (if you did not have one in the first place). You may encounter many judgemental people who feel that it is their place to make comments when really it is not. You will learn to just ignore them and address the ones you feel necessary (always remember to pick your battles very carefully). At the end of the day everyone will have something to say, but YOU can decide what you listen to. You know why you make certain choices, if you feel comfortable with your decision then that is even more reason for you to stick to it. Do not feel pressured into making choices that do not sit right with you. Weigh up the pros and cons for being a SAHM or for returning to work. Whatever you decide to do I pray that it will work out for you and your family.
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