My journey to becoming a stay at home mum (SAHM)
I started my career in a cloud computing company. I gained a lot of experience but when I was about to get married, I had a choice to make. Where I was going to be moving to was going to be far away from my current office.
Not like it wasn’t possible because there are people who make such trips everyday. But, I didn’t want to start my married life with that type of stress.
In addition to that, my almost husband who has a photography company said to me that his company needed my set of skills and I should think about working with him. So, I made a decision to leave and work with him.
The cloud computing firm I was working for decided that I could work from home since I worked mostly with clients and I could do my work remotely. I was excited about the extra income and it worked well for the next 1 ½ years.
When I welcomed my baby I had taken a back sit from working with my husband. However, I still did work for my company but as time went by, the demands of a young baby; the working hours of the job; my zero time-management skills; my decreasing interest in the job and not so encouraging salary made me start thinking of leaving the job and focus on taking care of my baby.
Another major thing that influenced my decision was, part of my job description was to talk to clients over the phone. I would call clients and there would be a baby crying in the background. I won’t be able to leave my baby alone because I was alone and I had to make those calls. This happened a lot of times and I felt it was just enough.
It just felt a bit unprofessional for that to keep happening. In addition, I couldn’t abandon my work until my baby slept because I had a contract of the time I would work and it was difficult to manage it all.
The decision making process;
When my son was 5 months I made the choice to focus on taking care of him. Thinking about leaving the job made me cry. It wasn’t about leaving that particular job but the fact that I was letting go of my career.
I convinced myself that ultimately no amount of fulfillment in these other areas will make up for my failure in this equally important area – a bit extreme but it made me see reason – I gave myself one week to mourn, think of alternative ways to keep myself busy and other flexible ways I could be engaged without letting my availability suffer. It was a very long week and a very hard decision to make but I made it.
How has the journey so far been?
It has been one interesting journey in the past 1 year and 4 months. I did not plan in my life to be a stay at home mum. It fell on me and I am grateful I took the path. I know not everyone will be privileged to do it even if they wanted to; so I am grateful to be able to nurture my son and teach him actively for the first few years of his life.
The challenge of becoming a mum pushed me into being a better version of myself. Because I did not want to be seen as someone who didn’t have a ‘life’ so, I chose a new career path and focused on doing other things that were flexible enough for me to still be available.
Challenges I have faced from being a sahm
1. Being Overwhelmed:
The routine drives me nuts. Being so close to the routine of a child when they are your primary priority can be very tiring.
I know children thrive on routines and I tried so much to make sure I put my son on a routine very early but for me going through the day, every thing feels the same and coupled with other things around the house it can get overwhelming. I struggle with being so overwhelmed with everything.
2. Zero social Life:
Except for Sundays, until my child turned 1, I didn’t really have any social life. I hardly went for events, visits or did anything for fun outside my home. It might be considered a very lonely life but it was the reality of making the choice. Most days until my husband got back from work, I had no adult interactions. Trust me, that can drive one up the wall.
3. Hinging self worth on current status:
It is very easy to start to hinge your self worth on the fact that you are now a mum that is not contributing financially to the home, not intellectually stimulated, not feeling fulfilled as an individual and all those other feelings that come with being a sahm.
4. No Income:
A big challenge to being a stay at home mum is the fact that you are not having any income. You have to always make a request before you can purchase anything or keep eating into your savings.
Solutions to the challenges
1. Take a break from time to time.
You need the time to recharge. Send the kid(s) to their grandmas or you get out of the house and let them and daddy bond. The alone time will do you a lot of good.
2. Look for other ways to stimulate yourself intellectually.
Talk to friends over the phone, watch intellectually stimulating videos online, keep up with current happenings so you are not outdated. Get social online.
3. Remind yourself that the choice you made to be a sahm is not a downgrade but the best decision you can ever make.
No one is better than you and you are not better than anyone because of the choice. Find other creative outlets that have flexible hours. Start a blog, guest writing on existing blogs if you don’t want that responsibility, start a youtube channel, organize play dates with other mums.
4. Ask for a stipend from your husband;
No matter how small. I know there are people who out of frustration of not earning an income start a business that thrives that is a great thing but there are people who just want to take of their children. I am not saying one shouldn’t make money and there are people who have made this work but it all aligned with the season they were in. For instance it is easier to focus on making money when you have a secondary school child than when you have a baby less than 1 year old. In those times when you are in a season where it is not feasible to make money – ask for a stipend and save from that stipend.
It is important not to keep looking over your shoulder to what the next person is doing and not appreciating the season you are in. You can’t compare yourself as a first time mum without help who is at home taking care of her child to a woman with 2 almost-teenager who has a nanny and runs a high flying business. In the journey of motherhood there are different seasons and times, in this season of taking care of your child(ren) at home in their early years, develop yourself and be the best version of you so that when your season to step out comes, the world won’t know what hit them!
Keep shinning mama!!
Tomilola is a stay at home mum who spends most of her time caring for her 1 year old son.