I struggled for a long time with what I thought being a stay-at-home mom meant. I visualized a day full of baking, putting together puzzles, reading story after story, and, of course, creating art and making crafts. As many of you know, I detest baking and abhor having to participate in making arts and crafts. And, with my recent health problems, floor time is very challenging.
In my mind, this makes me atypical; which, in turn, makes me feel highly uncomfortable with my new profession.
It doesn’t help that I don’t fit into any mold. We live in an apartment, my husband works two full-time jobs, we have one very old vehicle, and our food budget is meager. I struggle with chronic anxiety and depression and can barely keep our tiny space from imploding from the chaos of two kids. Not the suburban bliss most people picture (or at least I pictured) when thinking of moms staying home with their kids.
So, when I hear women saying “I’m not the stay-at-home type” I can relate. At least if their definition is the same one I’ve always used.
What am I to do?
Change the definition.
As with parenting, there are all sorts of moms who decide to stay-at-home. I have to believe that not every mother delights in the typical homemaking (a word I really dislike) pursuits. We all have talents and interests, outside of mothering, that spice up our résumé.
Some of my interests include helping the low income, minority, and mentally ill populations find the healthcare they need, continue on to higher education, and apply for jobs directly related to their individual talents; fitness and helping women and men find their inner beauty and perfect their own healthy body image; and pursuing life long education by obtaining a masters, followed by Ph.D, in some area of expertise and conducting and publishing research in premier journals.
My talents include reading to and teaching my kids all sorts of things beyond picture books; incorporating exercise–whether it’s walking or aerobics on DVD–into our daily schedule; and managing our finances so we do not go over our budget.
These talents and interests make me, me. Even if it makes me an untraditional SAHM (another term I dislike). I’d much rather do what I always wanted to do (stay at home with my kids) my way than stay within some defined boundary and feel miserable by not staying true to myself.
What about you? (I’m sure you can relate this to your own life and whatever profession you have. You don’t have to be a mom to feel as if you are an outlier.)