5.13.2011

Family Friday: Yes, I'm A Stay-At-Home Mom & I Am Busy!

Second Friday of the month:  Mothering / Parenthood / Home

Stay-at-home mom. Work-at-home mom. Full-time homemaker. Domestic diva.  Whatever you call us, we're all the same potato. For this post, we'll stick with the term stay-at-home mom, or SAHM for short.

Before I continue, let me just say I have nothing against working moms because I WAS a working mom before.  I've been there and it was one of the most gratifying experiences I've had which helped me become who I am today.  I believe that being a SAHM is a privilege and a choice.  I have friends who can well afford to just 'stay home and do nothing', live like a doña, but they still choose to work.

I guess what I want to share with you in this particular post is that, as a mom, the choice we make on what we want to do, and to be, has it's own rewards and sacrifices.  A stay-at-home mom is not any better, or any less, than a working mom and vice versa. Each has it's own challenges and rewads. Let's learn to respect each other's choices since all mothers are, in fact, super women! ;)
My first photo with the kids on this blog
I was already working (employed) for 5 years, and 3 years on my own before I had my first child.  I worked full time until my 9th month of pregnancy, and went back to work after I took my 78-day maternity leave (I had a C-section; 60 days for normal delivery).  Since I was running my own small marcomm agency then, I had the luxury of reporting to work just 3x a week which allowed me to take care of my baby full time, a few days in a week. At that time, it was the best arrangement for me.  Eventually, my very domesticated partner and I decided it was time to fold up while business was still afloat, and just focus on our growing families. The timing was perfect for me. The circumstances in my life at that time allowed me to wholeheartedly decide, with my husband, TO BE a SAHM.  It was our decision, and that is very important.

IT'S NOT EASY!  It's challenging, indulgent, overwhelming, exhausting, convenient, and fulfilling all at the same time.  It breeds procrastination.

Literally, my time now revolves around the kids's needs and wants. I'm living on their time, split with what needs to be done at home, then my husband's needs, and lastly, my needs.  I plan on a weekly basis and I am the first to admit that there are days when I fail to accomplish some things that needed to be done (bad mommy...slap on the wrist).  Also, I can be too lazy at times, moody, or get sucked into my 'online world' (bad Twitter, bad Facebook...click Sign-out).

I can't describe what I do every week and don't want to elaborate, but just to give you an idea, these are some of the things I usually do at any given week. Picture this:
Running errands... grocery-shopping once or twice a week...attend sports and special classes for my boy 3x a week... bring kids to school, fetching kids from school... attending school-related activities... tutoring... schedule outdoor play time and arts time... meal-planning and daily cooking time... household bookkeeping... doing paperwork for the business... working on my projects... unending organizing and de-cluttering, etc. 
And this does not include the most demanding of all -- attending to the kids and giving them their individual "me" time with mom. Summer and Christmas vacations have a completely different itinerary altogether!
At times, I reminisce about my working days and how I was then, my accomplishments, the people I got to meet, places I've been, shopping for office clothes, putting on make-up, going the rounds of events... but I can never regret choosing to be a SAHM.

Our doctor said that the first 6 years of a child is the 'golden years' in which they can be molded, and the home and the environment can make the most impact in their development and overall well-being.  I'm really fortunate that I was there for my children every step of the way. That's the best part. It's priceless.

"You're just at home, you're not doing anything." I hate this.
There are numerous scenarios where I get this kind of retort.  I can't blame them since aside from "taking care of the kids", they can't really see the small stuff that "color" our daily lives.

Here's one classic example, during a school parent orientation:
Time to choose a class parent representative, facilitator asks who among the parents are working and who are not. SO, what does that mean?!?
Not having a fixed 9-5 preoccupation doesn't mean we have all the time in the world to commit to such responsibilities you know? We're busy too!  That's why it's also admirable how many parents, moms particularly, can do this juggling act of multi-tasking. Time management is really key.

I have to confess though -- when I was still working, I felt there was more order in my life. Maybe it's the fixed working hours, the structure.  Now there's chaos! But it's a beautiful chaos. And I am working on getting back that order again. At this point, I'm content with doing small projects on the side to keep me sane, and maybe when the kids are older, I can take on bigger opportunities that may come my way.

So what's the best and worst part of being a SAHM / WAHM?
These mommies share my exact sentiments. Be enlightened.

C:  Best part of a SAHM is personally caring for my kids; worst is the guilt for not contributing financially.

J:  It's tougher because we become the disciplinarian and not all the time the kids listen. We can become "losyang" (frumpy), so better take care of ourselves too. The good thing is the kids are more secure knowing their parent is always around.

R:  Best and worst is being with the kids. Next best thing -- NO dress code!

J:  Best - Flexi-time (errands on non-peak hours), more active in schools, less stress, cheaper (no office wear, less eating out);
Worst - office hours are undefined which run into long hours & weekends, kids see you at home & tend to interrupt "office time" at the wrong time.

N:  Best part - I saw every stage of development since they were babies, teens until after college. Loved every minute of it.  
Down side - gave up a career, lesser income but temporary. I got it all back and more after kids graduated from college.

M:  Worst - With kids 24/7, tendency to procrastinate, work overlapping with kids

Best - flexi-time, with the kids as they grow, make healthy meals my way.

B:  I'm where my son needs me.



C:  Best part of being SAHM is being able to see the milestones of my kids life and developing a close relationship with them;
Worst is when we can't have much time for ourselves due to high demand of our attention and non-stop work between kids, chores.

T:  I get to supervise what my son is doing the whole day. However, too much distractions at home.  It takes great discipline to be able to finish work.

K:  Best thing is being able to watch my son grow, never missed a milestone or achievement. I can proudly say that whatever he knows now, he learned it first from me (academically).
Worst thing - there's a common misconception:  "Andyan ka lang sa bahay, wala ka naman ginagawa; sarap ng buhay, housewife..." (You're just there at home, not doing anything; good life, a housewife). But in reality, it's difficult to focus on the kid, add to that the issues with managing helpers, and it's so hard to think of what food prepare everyday!

M:  Best thing about a SAHM – being able to see your kids grow up, and just be there for them.  Worst thing? The trade-off is you feel like you’re stagnating at home!

C:  Best – Spending time with your kids and being able to influence them.

Worst – There’s also a strong tendency to take them for granted because we spend too much time together.



P:  Best – seeing your kids grow right before your eyes.  And also, it’s okay not to take a bath for days! Worst – Separation anxiety, not for the kids but more on my side since I’m a SAHM, it’s hard for me to leave the kids even under the care of my mother.  “Hindi tuloy maka-lakwatsa ng madalas!” (Can’t go out more often).



C:  Best about WAHM - more time for family. Worst - I don't get to dress up anymore

A:  Best thing about being a SAHM is the joy of seeing your kids grow every second of the day.
Worst thing is that it's a non-paying job.

Enough said.

Also published in Philstar.com Unblogged

This Women's Favorite Email of Year will also give you a witty picture of how SAHMs operate.

Thank you for dropping by.
If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it! Get instant updates and Follow me on Google friends, Facebook and Twitter, or Subscribe here via email!