I’m a stay at home mum

Stay at home mum - Ever-changing Life of a Mum“So what do you do?”

For some reason, I still find that tough to answer. It tends to be one of the first questions that gets asked when I meet someone new at any outing. I know it’s just polite small talk, but I always stumble on the answer.

“I’m not working at the moment. I’m a stay at home mum.”

Usually this is followed by a set of raised eyebrows to which I then find the need to justify myself.

“So you don’t work then?”

“Well, I was media and communications advisor but quit my full time  job in the middle of last year to spend more time with my family. Actually, I am a freelance writer and sometimes I do some casual work for my previous employer, but not much, plus I have set up my own blog.”

Um, excuse me? Who am I?

Why do I find it so hard to define what I do? And why do I feel the need to clarify what I do with my time to a complete stranger? And it really does make me wonder – are stay at home mums such a rarity these days?

I loved my job and it was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made to walk away from my career, but at the same time it was also one of the clearest and easiest decisions.

For me,  my family always come first, and when I felt like my husband and children were slipping away and life was spiralling out of control I knew things needed to change. As my children grow older, I feel they need me to be there for them now more than ever before. So yes, I am a stay at home mum.

But how do I explain all that to someone I have just met? And should I even need to justify myself? While I have received a lot of positive support for making such a bold move for me and my family, sometimes I still feel like I am being judged for my decision and then dismissed like I no longer matter.

Truthfully, I never thought I’d be a stay at home mum. I didn’t think I was cut out for it. However, I think enough time has passed since leaving my job for the novelty to wear off and I can honestly say I don’t regret it.

I’m the lucky mum of three girls, including a newborn who was a surprise little package that entered the world at the end of March and has slotted right into our family like she was always meant to be.

Life with a newborn can be tough and my days are quite erratic. Some days I feel like Super Mum and everything falls into place, but then there are other days when not much gets done, like nothing at all.

When I worked it was easy to fob it off and tell myself that I’m a busy working mum, I don’t have time for everything. Now that I’m at home, the guilt trip sets in and I put a lot of pressure on myself. But it really shouldn’t be that way.

At times like this, I try to step back, breathe and realise that I am doing the best I can. Both days are OK. In reality, I have the most important job of all and that is raising my three beautiful daughters to be confident, resilient young women.

I’m fully entrenched in the world of motherhood and I’m loving it! Some days I don’t even know who I am anymore, in a good way, but I’m going with it because it feels right.

I still absolutely love writing – it’s a passion I have always had and I don’t think it will ever leave me, it’s also what keeps this blog going! But I have since discovered a renewed interest in so many other things – reading, baking, yoga, craft. Last week I even bought a sewing machine … yes, a sewing machine! I don’t think I have touched one since Year 8 textiles class. And the same goes for the crochet hook and yarn that somehow came home with me on that trip to Spotlight!

Everything just feels so right. Right for me, right for my family.

So, the next time someone asks me what I ‘do’, I’m going to hold my head up high and say “I’m a stay at home mum”. The end.

50 thoughts on “I’m a stay at home mum

  1. Yes! I know this feeling so well Erika, the feeling you need to justify your reasons why you are not returning to work or how you are making it all work.
    After our difficult journey to have our boys I wanted to stay at home with them and while we have made sacrifices and there are certainly days when I think I must be crazy for leaving my career, overall I couldn’t be happier. I also indulge in my passion for cooking, baking, writing, sewing etc and yep I know it may all seem a bit cliche it makes me happy and works for our family. It’s also given me the opportunity to start my blog and do some freelance work on the side to give us some extra income and help keep my ‘work mind’ satisfied.
    Love this xx

    • So glad you liked it. These feelings have been bouncing around my head for awhile now. Writing always helps me work through them and when I was done I thought ‘Surely, I’m not the only mum who feels like this’ so I decided to post it. Yes, some of it does sound a bit cliche and stereotypical but it feels right for me right now so, like you, I’m sticking with it! Thanks for your comment x

  2. The feeling of needing to justify what you are doing is hard to overcome. I work from home now, and still get the raised eyebrows and know they are thinking ‘sure you do’. But you know what, I love what I do and that I can do it around my family. That’s what’s important. I’m also lucky I have the opportunity to work from home and be at home. Many don’t. So really, don’t worry what others think, deep down you’ve made the best decision and you are happy with it – that’s all that matters.

  3. I get what you mean and I do this too. Someone you don’t know asks that question and I internally cringe. Having to explain that I am putting my kids first and being a SAHM who also blogs and does some part time work from home and looks after my husbands admin and bookkeeping and and and. I hate this question!

  4. Oh god YES. The dreaded “question”. I never really felt the need to justify the three years I was home exclusively as a SAHM but I could literally see people shut down on me when I gave that answer. The glazed eyes.

  5. We should feel that telling someone you’re a “stay at home mum” is enough. I feel so grateful for being able to have the time I’ve had with my kids. Yes, I miss my job and the stimulation (and income!) it provided. But I wouldn’t swap the time I’ve had with my boys for anything 🙂

  6. I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement – “I have the most important job of all and that is raising my three beautiful daughters to be confident, resilient young women”. I too walked away from my professional career to be at home with my children. I started a family day care business so that I could maintain some sort of income and retrained as an Early Childhood Educator. It’s been seven years now, my kids are now at school but I continue to run my business because I get enormous satisfaction from educating and nurturing young children. I still see my old work colleagues who say “are you still doing your babysitting?” Babysitting? Even though they mean well I find this label so demeaning. Hold your head high Erika. Putting your family first and making such a huge change is a courageous thing to do. There’s no need to justify it to anyone.

  7. I have been a stay at home mum longer than I was ever in the workforce really. It is tough not feeling judge by people some times, especially now that all the girls are school aged.

    Leaving some fairy wishes and butterfly kisses from #teamIBOT

  8. If it makes you happy and feels right for you, then that’s all you need to worry about. I totally get what you’re saying though. I am questioned constantly by people at work about only working three days and oh your kids are old enough now why aren’t you working full time? It drives me bananas.

  9. I think it’s wonderful that you walked away from your job for your family. I would love to do the same but we need the income. However, I am doing my best to come up with ways to find a career with more family-friendly hours so I can be as available as possible to my kids. It’s inspirational to hear stories like yours x

  10. I know the feeling only too well. I’m a freelancer writer around my daughter’s short preschool hours – I don’t work that much compared with a full-time job, so I feel like a combination of SAHM and working mum. If someone asks I always talk up the work I do because I feel dismissed if I say I spend as much time as I do at home. We should definitely be more proud of the important job we are actually doing – raising the next generation.

  11. There’s so much judgment isn’t there?! Whether you stay home with your kids or go out to work, I think someone will always have an opinion! You’re doing what is right for you and your family and no one has the right to make you feel like you need to justify your choices xx

  12. It’s a funny thing how we all seem to worry more about what is happening in other peoples lives. Stay at home mum, working mum, we are all trying to do the same thing – whatever is best for our own family. Hold your head high knowing you are doing just that 🙂

  13. Love it. I just go with “I’m a stay at home mum” and if they ask questions I say that I’m extremely lucky to be a sahm for the foreseeable future, I’ll think about working or studying when our youngest is in school. I also find just turn the focus back on nosey people helps. If they’re just making conversation flipping everything back on them leads us away from my not-having-paid-employment thing. “What do YOU do?” “oh cool, and what do you do in your spare time?” LETS NOT TALK ABOUT WORK! 🙂

    The. most. frustrating. thing. though. was when I WAS working, and I worked in childcare, and I was super lucky I was able to take my oldest to work with me when he was a baby and people would ask me what I do, and I’d tell them, and then they’d ask me “so, when are you going back to work?” “um… I am working… I just said that.” Apparently looking after children, even if they’re not your own, even if you’re paid to do so, even if you studied and are qualified in that field, looking after children is not actually working. Just. So you know. :-/

    • Good plan Rachel! I think some people thought I was crazy when I decided to become a SAHM because my youngest at the time was about to start school (we’ve since had another gorgeous baby girl, however I felt that needed my children were crying out for me to be there for them more than ever before. I think childcare workers are marvellous people … I know I was certainly very grateful for them looking after my little ones when I was at work. Looking after other people’s kids all day and then going home to do the same for your own takes a special kind of person!

  14. Oh I feel this way too, so much. Often I actually feel embarrassed about saying I’m a SAHM .. Thinking people will think I’m bludging, lazy or letting my hubby do all the hard work to keep us afloat. Or all of the above. Then last night I met a paramedic, randomly I was buying an ergo cocoon from her from gumtree lol. I was commenting about the stuff she must see and how hard her job must be, she asked me what I did, I told her I was a SAHM of three under 3.5yrs and she said oh my gosh I don’t know how YOU do what YOU do. It sounds a bit silly but I felt really proud in that moment!

  15. So glad you’ve found some time to rediscover yourself while you’ve been a stay-at-home mum! I’m a Stay-at-home-mum too at the moment, I miss work but I love the time with my girl. I was on a contract as a Senior Policy Officer before I had my bub, so I lost my job when I had her, I enjoy writing for pleasure (blogging) much more than writing for my job (bureaucracy). Being a full time mum is a hard job, almost harder than my old job! That said, I’m needing an income asap so when someone is willing to pay me to do anything again, I’ll have to take it :-/

    • I definitely enjoy writing for my blog rather more than the corporate writing I used to do at work. When I first started blogging after leaving work it was like such a breath of fresh air that I so desperately needed! Living on one income is certainly challenging and I hope in the future to take on some more freelance writing, but for now I feel as though I have my hands full and am happy with what I am doing.

  16. When we moved interstate a few years ago I had to fill in the inevitable school admission form. It went like this:
    Occupation: Domestic Engineer
    Employer : George and Ingrid {the names of our kids}
    Employment term: 4 years {the age of my eldest}
    Nobody even blinked! The kids were admitted and I was entered into the database as a domestic engineer.

  17. Being a stay at home mum is such an important job and not only is it full time (think 24/7) but it’s full on! Bravo to you for doing what’s right for you and your family. That’s definitely something to be proud of!

  18. I am in the same boat. I think it is because I was never comfortable or thought of myself as a stay-at-home mum and always thought I would be doing ‘more’. But being at home now is my number 1 priority and I also don’t regret it for a second – although I somehow do feel guilty when I explain it to someone new. I think we should relish it as much as we can – time flies by so fast. And I think lets leave our own demons at the door as I’m sure others recognise it is a good thing to be home for 3 small children!

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