Stay at Home Mums

This ‘Stay at Home Mums’ post is part two of a two part series for Mother’s Day.

“So what are you doing now?”
“I’m taking care of my baby.” *Stunned silence*
“Full time?”
“Yup.”
*Awkward silence* “Oh, so good. I wish we can afford to as well,” a fellow mummy said.

The undertone was seemingly laced with judgment. Like I’m good for nothing. Or it’s simply me projecting my inner self-judgement unto them. Anyway, this is a normal occurrence and hence, I would usually add that I’m also blogging/writing on the side. However recently I try to omit this because I want to be proud and not be ashamed of being a stay-at-home-mum (“SAHM”). Also, there’s a misconception about SAHM. One doesn’t need to be rich to be one, most of the time, one just needs to be willing to cut back on spending. Of course, there are exceptions where one really has much financial responsibilities.

Okay, maybe I’m overly sensitive and overreacting. However, I’m sure many stay at home mothers can identify this kind of conversation. However I don’t blame these people with coloured lenses in this task oriented, result focused society. Even our government perpetuates the idea that working is better than stay home.

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Government

You can see the slight bias against SAHMs in the differences in subsidies and tax relief. SAHMs have lower infant care or child care subsidies than working mothers. One could argue that SAHM’s work is to take care of their children after all, so why is there a need to go to infant/child care. SAHM needs a breather and break from this 24/7 work too!

An ex-SAHM told me she couldn’t do this anymore at 10+ months and thus hopped back to the workforce. And being on both sides, she said being a working mum is so much easier. Btw, SAHMs are more cash strapped than working mothers. They sacrifice material gains to bring up a generation for the country. So why lower subsidies, if not equal?

Anyway, this difference says a lot about how the government is shaping the culture. It seems only right that mothers return to the workforce and be a productive person, after all manpower is an important resource here. But the downside is, mothers don’t spend as much time with their children. Food for thought ST articles, “More mums at home will make family, nation stronger” and this other article which I quote the following from:

“Surely as a nation, we can do more in terms of taxation to recognise the contributions of the women who chose to give up so much in order to stay at home to nurture our next generation of citizens?”

Whether working or stay at home, a mother is an amazing superwoman!

Feminism

Feminist movement gave women the choice to enter the workforce and not be limited to devoting her life to homemaking. However in developed societies these days, the pendulum has swung to the other side. You should go to work, if not be judged as a homemaker.

If feminism is truly successful, it is to give woman the right to choose without condemnation whether to work or stay home. Of course the stigma is not as great as fathers choosing to stay at home.

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Personal Choice

SAHMs are an under appreciated group in Singapore. It’s not easy to take care of the children and home full time. Other than physical exhaustion, there’s the potential loss of self-identity. Then there’s the loss of self income and having to humble oneself to ask money from hubby, even though technically that money should be part of the income or bonus of a SAHM.

Although I’m a SAHM on the surface, I’ll go crazy if I only do household chores, cook and take care of Evangeline. As I quote this book (Grace promises for Moms), “In the midst of being all these things, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of who you are as an individual, one with unique giftings and dreams that God has put in your heart.”

I think one needs to have a calling to be a homemaker full time. It’s not for everyone. Hence, I’ll still squeeze time out to write on this website and consider myself a mum working from home, even though it’s eating up my time and making life more difficult and stressful. Moreover, I’m not paid. So I’m much thankful for your support through ads. 🙂

I could have Evangeline raised up by her grandparents, helper, or IFC. But I’m a mother who can’t let go. Firstly, there’s the unparalleled return of spending time with her and witnessing the developmental milestones. In addition, I have strong opinions of certain ways of parenting and I wasn’t willing to see them compromised. Perhaps this is a first time mum syndrome. I’m not sure if I’ll do the same subsequently.

Anyhow, there are many times I want to give up and outsource the babysitting. But then, I’ll come across articles to make me stay on this path. Example, how the first three years are critical in building a child’s foundation. One that will shape the child’s character, emotional and cognitive abilities, etc. Of course there will be the other side to say this is all a myth. Nevertheless, I believe parents have great influence on the next generation and even beyond – generational blessings or curses.

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Work vs Stay at Home

I will end with an excerpt from this article “Is It Better for Moms to Stay at Home?” from desiringgod.org:

“At work, I finished projects. At home, I could work the whole day, and at the end there was absolutely no evidence I had done anything at all. There was always more laundry to do, another mess in the living room, another meal to fix, another diaper to change. At work, I could tell when I was doing a good job. At home, I struggled to have confidence in my abilities. I was pouring into my kids, but the changes were so incremental I couldn’t tell if anything I was teaching them was taking hold. Was the investment of my time and energy really making a difference?

If I went to a professional event with my husband and someone asked me what I did, I cringed and said, “I’m just a mom.”

Many years later, it embarrasses me to see how much value I placed on man-centered achievement and applause. I was a sincere Christian with a growing relationship with Jesus, I was teaching my children about him with joy, but I had not yet learned to find my value and worth in Him. And I had not yet learned which things have eternal value, and which will soon be forgotten.

If I were to trot out any of the “spectacular” work I did in my business days, it would look hopelessly outdated and irrelevant today. On the other hand, when I look at my sons, God shows me priceless evidence and rewards for the sacrifices and investments I made in their growing up years.”

This mother’s day, celebrate yourself. Love yourself.



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