Valuable.

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Uncategorized | 34 comments

Being a stay at home parent is both important and not. To Syd I am the most important person in the world. To the world I am an insignificant non-financially-contributing dullard. To me I am somewhere in between.

I love my toddler. But I have weeks where I find it hard to cope with the small-ness of my domain. I tire of it being my job to make sure there is bread in the bread bin, or clean pants in the drawer. I cannot always summon up enthusiasm for the daily ‘what to make for dinner’ trip to the shops.

I am not even always good at the Mum bit. I have days where we draw and go to the park, and do puzzles and play with stickers and everything is lovely. I have days where I do the above, but resent it as I did it all the day before too. I have days where I let the telly do too much of my job while I plod about on twitter, desperate for adult company. Overall I do OK, but I am not perfect at all.

I usually put my own needs last. I am happy for my other half to have lie-ins, nights out and time for hobbies as he works hard all week, and I do not resent it even a tiny bit, but I rarely take time out for myself. When I do- I feel guilty, like I don’t deserve it as I have been on the doing nothing all week anyway. But I haven’t been doing nothing, looking after a toddler is hard work, not to mention the jobs I do in the caring for the bigger two as well, and I do deserve some time to myself, so why am I so rubbish at taking it? I rarely get to watch a film, I am trying harder with reading books, I haven’t had a night out for almost 2 months. I wonder why it is that even taking half an hour for a bath can make me feel guilty?

Is it because deep down even I don’t value being a stay at home mum highly enough? I should, and certainly I rant about others not giving the role the respect it is due, but I clearly don’t place proper value on it  myself or I would see that I am entitled to a little time off- a tea break, a lunch break or a days holiday. I guess the fact that I live in a world where we so often are dismissed as ‘just a mum’, has resulted in part of my brain believing that it isn’t enough. I MUST stop feeling like that. It is among the MOST important things you can do with your time. It is NOT time off, it is NOT an easy option. It is a hard but rewarding job, with really long hours and really shit pay.

Being a Mum is a monotonous, joy-filled, exhausting, beautiful, busy, funny,  restrictive yet all-encompassing labour of love. I mostly love it, but labour it is, and slave labour at that, an unpaid skivvy to a tiny and remarkable tyrant! And I am worn out by it. This is both my favourite age, and my least favourite. I know from my older two that the actual physical job of parenting gets easier as they grow. They sleep, they don’t attempt to throw themselves off a furniture every 5 minutes, they eat their food by themselves, but they don’t fit in my lap the same way, they don’t snuggle up to me to sleep, they don’t talk cute toddler gibberish. They are just as precious but far more separate.

I look forward to re-gaining some freedom, but I will miss these baby/toddler days when they are gone. I must also remember that sometimes it takes a little distance to appreciate what you have, an afternoon away from Syd sees me missing him hugely and scurrying home for a squeeze. I mustn’t look on it as skiving, or feel guilty for needing a break, but look upon it as a chance to refuel myself ready to do some more enthusiastic parenting on my return. And most importantly I must respect the value of what I do.

Miss Cisco XXX 

34 Comments

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  1. Nicola Thomas

    What a brilliant post! You are doing a very important job and it is a very hard job. Mothers are very good at putting themselves second. I think it is part of the job. But we are at the end of the day raising the next generation and therefore our job is the most important don’t you think? I have recently gone back to work and I spend a lot of time feeling guilty that I am not there for the kids as much and I hate other people looking after them, so I’m not sure what the answer is! Go and reward yourself with a nice cup of tea.

  2. mummyglitzer

    It’s odd how we are always so good at telling other parents they deserve time to be themselves but rubbish at taking our own advice.

    Great post, as ever.

  3. Paula

    I feel like this most of the time but recently I found myself in a position where I felt I had to justify myself to a group of people and in putting my argument across for the benifits of being a SAHM, I convinced myself : ) we are shaping lttle people who will in turn go on to shape the world. This IS important. Great post, sums it all up beautifully x

  4. Cheryl

    Awesome post. I love how you describe the job of a SAHM as “an unpaid skivvy to a tiny and remarkable tyrant”. Brilliant! And I agree that it’s the hardest job in the world and so so so important – and NOT the easy option as you say. I go back to work in a few months and feel like I am the one taking the easy option. I have so much respect for SAHMs. You rock x

  5. Claire Evans

    Brilliant post! I was a full time working mum. I have always been back at work by the time my “babies” were nine months old and Mat leave came to an end. Now, my youngest has turned one and as I don’t have a job that I have to return to I cannot imagine leaving her until she is at school full time. Like yourself I have good and bad moments being a SAHM, it always seems to be time to feed them, then my least favourite thing cleaning up! However, the hardest thing is no longer being respected by others. Possibly I’m my own worst judge, but now people just see me as a Mum (which I am! But I’m more too!). I go to a few courses at school so I learn new (fun) skills and get grown up time, while my baby gets a play in the free creche. I may be imagining it but the other parents and lecturers always seem surprised that I am educated to Degree and PHD level and a mum of four. It seems that at the school gates, our education and past careers no longer matter, we are all just mums.

    • Sonya Cisco

      YOU RULE Dr Mum!There is an assumption that if you choose to stay at home its because you didn’t have much of a career anyway- which is in my experience an inaccurate presumption!

  6. Crystal Jigsaw

    I’d say you’ve summed up the feelings of every stay-at-home-mum! I’m a work-at-home-mum and really it makes no difference! People assume that when you work at home, you’re really just pottering about doing very little. And when you’re a SAHM, you’re doing even less. So often people have no idea what goes into raising a child and it is bloody hard work, on a daily basis. We deserve time out occasionally and some of us are lucky enough to get it. But when we don’t, that’s when we start to resent this whole ‘stay-at-home-mum’ focus on giving your child a better life. It’s a tough one.

    CJ x

    • Sonya Cisco

      I doff my imaginary hat to you, I think WAHM probably have the trickiest balancing act of all! Thank you for commenting x

  7. AllyM

    What you said about not being able to take evenings/time off resonated with me. I’ve been back at work full time since our son was 7 months, and my husband is staying home till he’s a year (shared leave in the UK, it’s nice). But every week I make sure my husband has time off to get out, and I don’t do the same for myself. It’s the guilt thing.

  8. OneBlueOnePink

    I totally get this post (fab post by the way) I feel exactly the same and feel like I must always justify what I have done all day!

  9. Hattie

    Another WAHM here. Going to start calling myself a WHAM! though, instead. Because that’s what all the responsibilities and juggling acts feel like: WHAM! A train just hit me. Oh, you still expect me to get up at six am, play tractors, clean, cook, wash and work? Right then, let’s go…

  10. Lynn Fancy

    We need a night out to get wasted together….This weekend???? ;) xxxx

  11. Lynn Fancy

    There is that thing that happens…Your name is forgotten it’s Mummy, Mum and even when you go out to school or in a shop you are so & so’s mum, I was Evan’s Mum for 6 months until I started demanding first names in the playground!

    • Sonya Cisco

      So true! I swapped numbers when a mum at toddler group the other day, and despite going for months now i only knew her as Roisins mum!!

  12. Suzanne

    I am exactly like you and I remember those tiresome days of being a stay at home mum to toddlers who are unable to show their verbal appreciation. A day off is lovely and i think important from time to time. Even a Saturday shopping and lunch trip with girlfriends. I know it’s hard to organise but so worth it! I struggle with the guilt thing all.the.time. and regularly feel as though I have to justify my existence and the use of my time – funnily enough, writing 2 blog posts just doesn’t cut it!

    • Sonya Cisco

      I have had a husge response to this post, from sahm, wahm and working parents, and the thing we all have in common is guilt. We really must all get a grip and pat ourselves on the back for doing a good job!

  13. Middle-Aged Matron

    How I am with you! My husband is allowed total freedom. I prefer it that way ‘cos if he’s happy life’s easier for all of us. Yet I feel absurdly guilty if I do anything self-indulgent ever. Plus it has to be said that childcare, at any age, can be very boring!

    • Sonya Cisco

      It can be dull- which I why taking time out is important so I can face it with renewed enthusiasm! I love it mostly- but everyone needs some me time as well!

  14. Little Lilypad Co

    This epitomises my life!

    • Sonya Cisco

      There are many of us it seems. I would organise a strike- but we would all feel too guilty- so instead I prescribe us all a night out with the girls from time to time! :)

  15. thepuffindiaries.com

    When my boys first came to live with us I immersed myself in everything them, as you do when you adopted two children aged 2 and 3. So much so that if we ever did socialise I had nothing much else to talk about than them and parenting them. I began to feel really embarrassed about being “just” a parent. Now I see how far they’ve come and I’m proud of all the time and effort I’ve been able to give them, even the times we’ve sat on the sofa watching the telly. If I never do anything else with my life this job is the most important that I’ve done and that’s the same for all mums at home or working. In my opinion.

    • Sonya Cisco

      Absolutely- i cannot think of any job more important or rewarding. And therefore I must remind myself that taking a break so I am refreshed and do it well is also important!

  16. Mary Keynko

    It’s very hard as a mum to appreciate the work we do! I am just the same – even now and mine are grown ups! I think it’s because we put so much emotion into the being mum bit we have nothing left for ourselves. Don’t beat your self up – we’ve all been there and we’ve all used CBBC as our babysitter! Have faith in yourself and your skills! Your parenting and being a mum (stay at home or otherwise) is devoted to bring the next generation of world leaders and geniuses up! Because of the effort you put in finger painting and enduring ‘in the night garden’ for months at a time might result in the scientist who cures cancer, or the humanitarian who makes comic relief redundant or the next Mozart Because of what you do your children are awesome and by default that makes you awesome too! x x x

    • Sonya Cisco

      I LOVE YOU! yes. I shall create a breed of brilliant peeps to better the world, and then I shall go to the pub and drink cider til I fall over! That is the new plan!!

  17. Susanne Remic

    I can so relate to this. The last time I went out on my own was before I was pregnant with luka.. he is now 3!
    xx

  18. Mummy Velvet

    I haven’t had a night out in 2 years!! I am so with you on this.. I’m actually going out the end of this month and I already feel guilty because I bought myself a dress. I have myself a part time job now but still class myself as a SAHM, all my time is still spent with my little monster and although I love every second of it.. I find myself enjoying work a little too much sometimes. I think, as human beings, we are entitled to a little me time and we definitely shouldn’t feel guilty about taking it. We must change our views! Form a Me army! Or just go read a book………….

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