When I found out that my first was on the way, I was happily employed doing what I loved in a good environment. I had grown up with a stay at home mom as had my husband, and we both loved the special time that we had with our moms as kids. We decided that since my husband's job showed more potential for future gain, that if one of us was to stay home it would be me.
I knew that my overly emotional self wasn't going to be willing to leave a 6 week old baby to go back to work readily, so I opted to stay home. And honestly, that was the greatest decision I have made.
No doubt - I face eye rolls when I say that I stay home with my kids, especially as a young mom. I am also frequently asked, "Do you still like staying at home?" , now that I've been in the game for 2 years. I had never been asked that question when I had any other job, nor do I hear it posed to others EVER. Most of the time, people are thinking that the following myths are reality when posing this question. Spoiler Alert - they're wrong.
You're right - I pretty much let the 2 year old run the show until I get out of bed around noon to eat cookies. [Insert face palm.} In reality I am CEO, teacher, coach, photographer, nurse and programs manager at ALL TIMES. For real, they don't stop.
We don't deserve a break
Everyone deserves a break. This goes back to the "lazy" myth. For some reason, if there is a couch or bed near your place of work or you can wear leggings then people assume you are straight chilling all day. I don't sit, unless it is to feed children. Physically that is obviously exhausting, but it is more the emotional toll that makes us deserving of a break.
We are constantly on - worrying, teaching, thinking ahead, and putting ourselves last. Sometimes momma needs a beer and a second to think about something other than Paw Patrol and purees.
We've given up on careers
I am proud of my education and work history. I have evolved from job to job and this is no different. If a future employer cannot see the value of managing a household and prioritizing my little people, then that isn't the workplace for me.
That being said, I am taking it upon myself to stay up to date with today's workplace in an effort to be in the loop when the time comes for me to go back to the 9-5 grind, which I plan to do once these little monsters can take care of themselves. (So much for being That Lazy Millennial too.)
Your partner makes bank
SAHM are not all wearing Gucci and Chanel while the maid does the housework. In reality, we make daily sacrifices to lead this lifestyle. We tone down what we buy, focus on bargains, and as always put ourselves last. I don't remember the last time I bought something for myself that wasn't on sale. Bargain hunting is my middle name so I make the best of that and make spreadsheets (keeping me in the workplace loop) and strategize spending. Accountant is another hat that looks real good on me.
Your home is always clean
So, just no. While the working mom's child is at day care or in the capable hands of grandparents, ours are running wild in our home. Every meal is at home. The mess is constantly growing larger, and the window to clean it grows smaller. When babies are small, they nap a lot. As they grow and their capacity to destroy grows, their nap time shrinks and it is a cruel cruel circle.
No "Mom Guilt"
There is a reason why it isn't called "working mom only guilt". We all feel it. Anytime that we aren't doing something to make our children's lives better, easier, happier, smoother seems selfish. And that includes when we're watching Instagram stories for five minutes during nap time - I should be baking a vegan bundt cake from scratch damnit!
You support traditional gender roles
I don't support it, but I do get it. My husband is just better at building the toys, and I am better at cleaning. It drives me nuts that that is the case, but a few misconstructed toys (one plastic golf caddy still rolls backward) has taught me to just suck it up. However, I am teaching my boys to be well rounded. They bake with me, they "help" with the laundry, and they will eventually help their dad build stuff. They will in no way grow up thinking that they have to be a certain way based on their gender. Hells to the naw.
Staying at home is not fun
Here's the real secret - it is SO much fun. Today alone I was a ninja, a French chef, and the first mate of a pirate ship. Sure, corporate life is rewarding too, but the smile on a little boy's face when momma is acting a fool is priceless.
So there you have it. We aren't rich, unmotivated women in high heels and aprons. We've simply shifted focus temporarily. And yes, I still like being a stay at home mom. It is the most challenging and rewarding job I could have.