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.