I am lucky to be a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM)

I am lucky to be a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM)
 
I was surprised… I had just moved to the US from India and was talking to a parent at my son’s new preschool…. Seeing the question mark on my face, the beautiful Cuban lady with solitaires in her ears explained, “My mother had to work to support all of us… Am lucky that my husband earns enough and I can be a stay at home mom ….”
This was the first time in a really long time that I heard someone genuinely happy being a stay at home mom… She was doing it by her own choice and relishing it…!
Back in India I had usually met SAHM’s who were not being allowed to work by husbands / in laws or were at home for their young children’s sake….. In fact I even met a 50+ professor at a reputed school in Mumbai (India) who said that she regrets being a SAHM for her children …She felt that her kids would have grown up just fine even if she had been a working mom and she could have easily become principal by now…
What the Cuban lady said was like a whiff of fresh air…  It then dawned on me that there are mothers who opt to be SAHM for their OWN sake too!! Not for their children, not for their husbands, not for in laws, not for anyone but themselves! They sincerely want to enjoy the childhood of their children… And that is when you start enjoying being a SAHM… otherwise you are always wondering if you should be working or not….
So I thought, let me try this way of life too…. I had been a SAHM for my kid’s first year of life in India post which I started with part time work for 1 year and then full time work in India itself for 2 years…  Now my son was four and I was in a new country…  So in spite of having all the legal documents to work in USA, I decided to be at home and experiment being a SAHM by MY CHOICE…. This is how it went…
1.      I became INDEPENDENT! Yes, you read correctly… I was more dependent as a WM…. Dependent on my maid, dependent on my in laws, dependent on my parents , dependent on anyone and everyone I could find who could baby sit my child while I got ‘more important’ work stuff done…. Now I feel “INDEPENDENT” & “FREE”!
2.      Mornings became much easier because I was not in any hurry to get anywhere… I usually spent the first few minutes reading a book to my son … He loves books… It’s amazing how spending the fifteen minutes with your kids in the morning in bed can change the way the whole day goes!
3.      Mealtimes became relaxed and tasty! I was so used to having bad food cooked by my cook and microwaved in the office in India that I couldn’t believe that a fresh simple self-cooked meal could taste so delightful…
4.      I was petrified of cooking in India… But, looking at youtube videos and trying different cuisines for my son has given me a basic confidence in my culinary skills… In fact he joins me in the kitchen when I am cooking something new…
5.      The stress of the ever disappearing maid has gone from my life… it feels like a huge albatross that had been hanging around my neck…. Doing all the work myself has its benefits….
6.      I can let my children BE… I used to limit my son in India because I was worried he might fall sick and I won’t be able to attend my meeting the other day …… So no playing in puddles, no drinking cold drinks, and many other such bans which I have lifted now…
7.      Every day I watch my ten month old do something new and I marvel at god’s creation … I didn’t quite observe my first born for 3 years of his life … I deeply regret it … But I try to make up for it now with my second born…
8.      My house has a peaceful aura …. broken stuff gets repaired… House gets cleaned …. There are fresh clothes to wear…There is fresh food… Basically, there is one person to take care of the house which is a HUGE job in itself !

9.      Increased mindfulness…. I had a big problem when I was working… I could never disconnect from work even after leaving office… I would be playing with my son but my mind was still trying to plan the event at office …. I was there for my kid but only physically… Now I can enjoy my kids with my 100 % presence…

10.  Fewer TEMPER TANTRUMS ! Yes… This is what I have come to realise… All kids need some unadulterated Mommy and Daddy time to feel happy and secure …That means no phones and no tv…. I can give him that time now…. I can appreciate his buildings made out of pillows in real time and not over the phone ….. I can eat a meal with him at peace… I can put on the music and have a spontaneous dance session… I can enjoy his little jokes …. Whereas I see my husband unable to get off the phone even when he is home… So you know what my son does ? He chooses to sleep close to my husband (we co-sleep) …It’s my son’s way of getting some Daddy time …
 
THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING A SAHM
1.      Lack of Appreciation ! yes, no one appreciates a SAHM whether it is India or USA… It will always be a thankless job…. When I was new in the US, I used to invite my hubby’s office colleagues and parents at Arya’s school and cook elaborate meals for them… The appreciation for my cooking and my house kept me going… However now I find that too much work… In fact now I don’t even seek appreciation … It’s like from being an employee I have become an owner… I do feel proud when my son holds the door of the elevator for a janitor in India or when he picks up someone else’s garbage and throws it …
2.      Missing Colleagues … I used to enjoy chatting with my colleagues which I do miss now…. But yes, I do have my group of Mommy friends …We have a potluck once a month and get to eat some unbelievable home cooked Indian food ..… Also, yes we do discuss kids, diapers, potty training, schools etc. and not bigger issues like the country’s GDP, sales targets , 5 year projections, power points etc. But who decides that the latter are bigger and more important than the former… to each his own… I find the latter frivolous… I find kids as the real world and the rest as a make believe world created by us to just make ourselves feel more important…
3.      No work future in sight … The world is changing at such a fast pace that I used to worry about my future when my kids grow up and get busy…. I will have to start from the beginning…. And that worried me till I realised that who knows what the future brings… who knows I will be even alive tomorrow… I want to enjoy my today completely… and even if I live till then, and I have to start afresh at a job, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t it a small price to pay for spending invaluable hours with your own children?
4.      Low Self Confidence …. Yes, when you see the super confident working mothers wearing crisp formals and high heels you do feel inadequate… however, when you start talking to them and you hear about their troubles you do feel lucky again… Most working mothers I know in the US are straddling work and kids… They travel long hours to office… fall sick often…  kids fall sick at daycare… can’t meet me on weekends as they need to complete household chores… I feel lucky that I was one of them but now I am out of it…out of that rigamarole… I have time to pursue my hobbies which keep me balanced… I do yoga.. I study Ayurveda…  I take my kids to the park and just relax on the grass while my kids play… once in a while I attend a dance party.
5.      Lack of Financial Independence…. I have done my postgraduate program in Communications from MICA (one of the reputed Institutes of India) and was running my family business successfully for 7 years… Yes, I do miss my own money… Something I used to liberally spend at high profile malls, no questions asked… I have become more careful now because I always feel it’s my husband’s hard earned money…  I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing!
 
The Truth about Part Time Work
I did part time work too… You know it seems to be the best option…. But this is what I experienced…
1.      Part Time work means Full time work at HALF PAY !
2.      Part Time work means carrying work home
3.     Even if I was not physically working , I was mentally solving work issues or getting over rude co workers in my family time
4.      The money was not worth it for losing out on my peace of mind and kid’s childhood
5.      It was a charade…. It made me believe that I was this amazing woman who found the balance between work and family… Actually it was more like a ‘dhobi ka kutta… na ghar ka na ghat ka‘…. (a washerman’s dog who doesn’t belong to the house nor the banks of the river – an old Indian saying for someone who is trying to do too many things) Disclaimer : you might be managing part time work very well… this is how I felt…
 
HOW DO I MAKE THE FINANCIALS WORK AS A SAHM ?
When my friends cry to me, “I am forced to work…I don’t have a choice…” I don’t believe them… We always have a choice… One might be a working mother because they genuinely enjoy it… Nothing wrong in it.. Just accepting that it’s your own choice whether SAHM or WM makes life easier….
I have also made some choices so that I can continue being a SAHM
1.      I don’t own a house… Not in the US …not even in India… I find that owning a house puts too much pressure on us to pay the EMI which means that I need to work too…. So I prefer renting one…It gives me a lot more flexibility… and if I do need to change houses, It helps in clearing the clutter!
2.      I send my son to a parent participation pre- school… that means that I work there once a week and pay a small fees …
3.      I get preowned baby gear, clothes and toys from friends who don’t need it anymore…
4.      I stopped buying expensive gold and diamond jewellery long back like I used to in India… It just sits in the locker..
To sum up I realised that being a working mother was like chasing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…  I was not able to stop to admire and enjoy the beauty of the rainbow itself… You can enjoy being a SAHM only if you decide to do it for your OWN SAKE … That makes all the Difference….
 
 
 
 

Courtesy:enjoyingyourkids.wordpress.com

 
 
 
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IFL 2021 Republic Day Special