I don’t know about you but when I hear the words “Stay at Home Mom” I imagine a woman who looks refreshed, well put-together, and confident. I thought, as a SAHM, I would be not only keeping the house clean, but making awesome home projects from Pintrest and making healthy meals from scratch. Oh man, our house was going to be awesome.
Ha. I can barely keep the floor vacuumed.
This image is a stark contrast from the reality I have experienced… and it’s not just me. Other SAHM’s seem to consistently struggle with feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and insecurity. I love this meme because I feel like it really captures my reality:
So what happened? If you read my post “The Importance of Self-Care for Moms” then you know how I feel about the difficulties of juggling tasks as a mom. It just feels like our To Do List is endless. No wonder so many moms want to go to work just to have a break!
Here’s the thing I’ve realized… If I want my job to be “Stay At Home Mom” then I need to start acting like it’s a real job. At first, that may sound harsh, but it’s actually freeing.
Here’s why: If being a Mom is my job, then that means other things are NOT my job.
So, like I would at any place of employment, I need to hone in on what my job description is. Here’s what I’ve come-up with so far:
Mom Job Description
Purpose of the Position: Fostering a Healthy/Secure Attachment with Luca
1. Attending to his basic needs in a timely manner. This involves feeding, bathing, changing diapers, keeping his clothing clean, and maintaining a safe home environment.
2. Facilitating his physical, emotional and social development as appropriate. This involves playing with him, offering opportunities for him to explore new things, exposing him to social situations, and researching child development.
When I really break down each of these two points, it’s easy to see how my days are quickly consumed. Everything I do with Luca has a purpose. I try my best to avoid just keeping him busy so that I can “get things done.” But we ALL fall into this trap. We all become obsessed with “getting things done.” Why??
Let me just call out the elephant in the room: We are afraid of what other people will think. Whether it be our friends, family, and/or (most likely) our husbands, we don’t want people to think we are just lounging around all day. So, we frantically busy ourselves with cleaning, crafting, beautifying, cooking, baking, or whatever so that we can show that we are productive members of society. Who wants to be JUST a Stay at Home Mom? I don’t. I want to be respected. It takes a lot of humility to take care of my kid’s needs but then have my husband come home to a messy house. Or to go out without my hair and make-up done. Or to bring store-bought cookies to a potluck. There’s something so distorted about a culture that expects us to raise healthy children AND have pin-worthy house, body, and culinary skills.
Don’t get me wrong, we still need to help around the house. I still have grocery shopping as one of my wifely duties. I do most of the cooking although Caleb does help me cook and clean-up dinner every night. I know it also makes sense for me to clean as much as I can. However, Caleb still takes it upon himself to do some chores around the house. When I was working, we split the cleaning tasks appropriately and that hasn’t changed much. You know why? Because I’m still working. Just because my job is now at home and my boss is an infant, I still have accountability to do the job that we wanted me to do which is: to be a MOM.
I think being a Stay at Home Mom could be awesome. It could be fun. We could look back on these years with fondness. My theory is that we hate being Stay at Home Moms because we hate the unrealistic expectations that secretly come along with the role.
Moms, we have a choice. We can either continue to put those dumb expectations upon ourselves, or we can embrace that our time/energy is limited. We set-out to be Stay at Home Moms because we believed in the quality time we could provide our children. We believed that the time we put in now would pay dividends in the future.
Yes, it’s awkward when your husband comes home and the house is a mess. Yes, it hurts your pride when you bring a box of crackers to a pot luck. Sure, your hair is still in that messy bun most of the time… but you know what? Your kid is happy and healthy. You are doing a service to society by raising a relationally healthy kid. People who are psychologically healthy contribute to society. Of course, there are some things that are out of our control. There are no guarantees, but at least we can look back say we did the best job that we could.
*Note to Working Moms: I am in no way suggesting that kids who don’t have a Stay at Home Parent can’t be relationally healthy. Some moms have no choice but to work. Some choose to go to work. Either way, with intentionality your kids will thrive. That’s the only thing any of us moms can do, is to intentionally try the best we can to raise relationally healthy kids.
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