Monday, February 07, 2011

Learning to be a SAHM

Yes, you read that right. Learning to be a Stay-At-Home-Mom. What a concept really. If you think about it, why would you have to LEARN how to be a SAHM when it's not even technically considered a "job". Some may say, "What's so hard about a 'job' where you can sit at home and do whatever you want". Now I've only been a mom for five years, but I'd like to share what I've learned so far.

I'd like to break down the SAHM term and address the 'mom' part. Being a mother is an incredibly rewarding and difficult and wonderful and challenging role. Each one of us in our mother role, whether working or staying at home with our children, has an important part to play - a responsibility to precious little human beings.

The fact that I am able to stay home with my kids is something that I feel is a privilege, but it is not all easy! When I first brought my son home I was three weeks into my maternity leave. For two years I worked in a very social job. I saw people come and go all day long, even though it was a managerial position it was also very much a customer service job. Three weeks later, home alone with a newborn baby, wow did it get quiet in the house! It didn't take long to learn that if I wanted to maintain my sanity, I HAD to get out of the house on a regular basis.

I struggle with motivating myself to clean my house. I have finally, now, learned how to manage my week, my day in order to most efficiently get my house in order (not saying I do it all the time though, lol). I have learned and continue to learn how to get through the winter without me or my kids going completely nuts because of being couped up. I have learned to see the signs of wear on myself and how to combat it with 'me' time. When Mommy is happy the family is happy!

There are many more examples I could give you about how I've learned to be a SAHM and am continuing to learn. It's not just about doing whatever you want (like a holiday at home), it's about creating a home, defining a schedule for yourself, figuring out what you want from this space in your life, what you want for you kids in this time of their life and following through with these things. I have found that one of the biggest challenges in motherhood is me. I have learned more about myself and my weaknesses/strengths and issues I thought I'd dealt with while being a mom, and I'm only 5 years into my life term :) I look forward to continuing to learn throughout the many phases of being a mom :)


Kalle said...

what an awesome post. I completely agree with everything you said. It's all about learning. I'm not a SAHM but am going to be for the next year when matleave kicks in and I learned so much with my first year off with Emmett that I know a few things to help our home run more efficiently and what this mommy needs to be happy. I'm so excited to continue learning with this new baby. Great Post!

Carrie said...

I agree with everything you said, Ellen. Being a stay at home mom definitely has it's own learning curve (and you sound like you have it FAR more figured out than I do!) But then again, you do have a few years head start! ;) I love it though, and wouldn't change it for the world. It is wonderfully rewarding, amazing, terrible and stressful all at the same time. What a blessing it is to be a part of it.

Goofball said...

I don't think being a full-time mom can be underestimated at all. It requires warmth, patience, skills, endurance and organization. But somehow I don't think I'd ever be able to do it. Maybe I'm influenced by our society where there's hardly any stay-at-home moms. (although a lot of moms work part-time, usually 4/5 sometimes 1/2). I believe I'd really miss my job and the challenges and contacts it brings. So yeah, I can totally get that you need to learn to be home for sure

Ellen said...

Goofball - if I can do it, anyone can do it!! Motherhood is a 'career' that is unique, (obviously as each of us and our kids are unique, lol) and our circumstances and surroundings definately affect our choices regarding it. I have felt it was important for me to be home with the kids for their 'growing up' years as it can be a foundation for their developement. As my kids are getting older, I am looking forward to doing other things as well (like schooling/job - part time) because I know what you mean about missing the socializing/networking/challenges that you get at work. Although there are different challenges/networking opportunities that arrise while being at home, it's not the same :)
Thanks for the comments.. I enjoyed reading them!

Goofball said...

@Ellen: I'm in fact always amazed by the high number of SAHM's when reading several north-american mommy blogs and why there's none in Belgium. I wonder if we simply have a difference in priorities in our choices and I always wonder about the financial aspect.

...I think we never do it because we have usually a mortgage (and further lifestyle) running based on 2 incomes. So i wonder, are families in North-America more rich or are they willing to sacrifice a lot of their life-style?

Ellen said...

Goofball: I know what you mean about difference in priorities/lifestyle. When I was in Europe (southern Germany), the family I was living with there really opened my eyes about family there (although I know that their family was not necessarily 'normal' since they had 5 kids). I also have a friend living in Vienna and between them I have figured that education is such an incredibly high push in society there (correct me if I'm wrong). It seems to be reasonable to say that is why most wait until 30-ish to get married as they want to complete their education and have a solid start with a job. By the time that is done, they are around 30yrs. When you have invested so much time into a career I can see it would be difficult to 'let it all go' to have kids and stay home.

With the financial aspect - I think that it could be more expensive to live there than here in some ways. We also have a mortgage for our new home and we have two newer vehicles ('06, '07). Although I have had to work part time (home daycare) to make ends meet at times. I do think that there are definately a lot of families that sacrifice so that Mom can stay home. There are probably some lifestyle differences too, like the majority of people I know would not have any type of second home (city flat and country 'holiday' home) and I know that is farely common out there to aspire to be able to have that.

Do you know if there is Government subsidy for new mom's out there? Out here if you are working full time and have a baby, you get one year off (guarenteed to have our job waiting for us after the year) and you get paid about 60% or so of your salary for that time off to raise your baby (maternity leave)

I have always found it intriging the differences between North America and Europe, even though both are "Westernized" (I realize that not all eastern European countries would fall into that catagory).