“Now that you’re a stay home mum, you can’t call yourself a juggling mom anymore.”
Now if you’re a mum, and a stay home mum at that, I can anticipate that you’ll either want to
- Roll your eyes and snigger before jumping to your defence or
- Smack the daylights out of that person
Well, that came from someone who’s neither married nor has kids.
Kinda reminds you of the same know-it-alls who dishes out parenting advice when they are not parents themselves, don’t you think?
How did I react?
I brushed off the comment because I already anticipated all these comments and questions. Questions like, when I’m going back to work, how I spend my day now that I’m SO free, if it’s even necessary for me to give up working to be home with Sophie when she’s already so old and why don’t we just get a helper like what most dual working families in Singapore are doing?
Basically questions that all SAHMs have encountered.
Harsh Realities of Being a Stay Home Mom
Even though I stepped into this new role with my eyes open after hearing so many personal accounts of SAHMs among my circle of friends, I wasn’t prepared for some of the harsh realities of being one myself.
The loneliness is real
Firstly, there was a sense of loneliness which was keen felt when Sophie returned to school after the June holidays. I was at a loss as to what to do since we had spent May busy preparing for the mid-year exams and then filled our month of June with lots of play dates and activities, a real treat for her since mummy was now home. So when she was in school, I made a long list of all the things I wanted to do, but never had the time for.
Tasks aside, the lack of human interaction was very real. And even though I am an introvert, not being in the company of people and having adult conversations the whole day really made me edgy.
It wasn’t long before I set up lunch with fellow stay home moms and I could tell that it was a breath of fresh air to have adult company for everyone.
Gradually over time, I’ve come to relish and enjoy my alone time in the mornings where I can exercise and even head for long runs after sending Sophie to school, read and study the Bible, journal my thoughts which are oftentimes too raw for this online space, volunteering in Sophie’s school and just do whatever is necessary around the house.
Not measuring up
The very space that made me feel less lonely, made me feel like a lousy mum.
As it was a lonely journey initially, I often turned to social media to stay connected to the outside world. However, the very space that made me feel less lonely, made me feel lousy because I wasn’t as good as all these amazing mums who cooked wonderful meals, had home and deco magazine worthy homes that were neat, organised and frankly made this newly minted stay home mum’s life pale in comparison.
I should know better than to compare our filtered lives on social media. After all, on a platform where everyone is trying to stand out and get ahead in the numbers game, what chances does a SAHM who have chosen to lead a more minimalist life with no shiny new toys or enviable vacations to boast of?
When I noticed how envy and dissatisfaction was setting into my heart, I plucked myself away from social media to dig deep and pondered about the kind of narrative I wanted to tell about my journey of transition from a full-time working mom to a stay home mom.
Sure, it sounded like an enviable life among friends who have always dream of stopping work to be a stay home mum. It gives a different kind of fulfillment knowing that you are sowing into your family’s lives which matters. But at the same time, I wanted to share the good and not so pleasant side of things so that mums don’t feel disillusioned on challenging days, which brings me to my last point.
Am I still significant?
Rediscovering my identity as significance
The day hubby and I decided that I’ll take a break from work to be a stay home mum for this season, I didn’t realise that a part of my identity ebbed away as well.
When I was working, my identity was tied so much to what I did as well as being a juggling mom balancing family and work which I felt proud to tell others about.
Now that I’m a stay home mum, I felt like my identity had been reduced to be of less significance with work stripped away where my life is centered solely on my child, my home and my family. Don’t get me wrong because I know that being a stay home mum is a privilege that many still wish and dream about, but the initial transition of “finding myself”, my worth, was tough.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this loss of identity or are still struggling to find your identity as a SAHM.
Can I share with you what I did?
My significance in not found in what I do, but who I am.
I began to see myself in the rawest form and saw how I was created in God’s image, to be in His likeness. That when you strip everything away, my significance in not found in what I do, but who I am. That I am a child of God, made in His image and likeness and dearly loved and adored by God.
I learnt that a yearning for significance is not the same as desiring attention or fame for ourselves and seeking significance is a God-given desire. It is a longing that we have because we know that there is more to life than just living it for ourselves.
There is a new perception that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made by God and that I carry a portion of God’s plan where I am planted, doing what I do for this season. The influence that He’s given me over my family, my friends, my community, and how I can make an impact by reflecting the glory and beauty of God as I find my deepest satisfaction in Him.
And that’s what makes me significant.
The past 6 months has been such a wonderful journey of rediscovering my true identity and measuring the value of my life with a different perspective.
No doubt there had been sacrifices made, especially when it comes to vacations and purchases, but I’m living with so much more purpose. I’m so thankful for the support of fellow stay home mums who are showing me how motherhood is a wonderful ministry.
I was introduced to this book, The Ministry of Motherhood, and it has been a good read to discover God’s design for mothers and the incredible role we play at home. The e-version can also be borrowed from the National Library and I hope it blesses your heart as you read it too.
If you enjoyed this post, you may like these posts where I share my heart about parenting.
- To mums who thought you’ll never be a stay home mum
- Remember, you are mum enough
- Why we are happy being a family of three
Enjoyed reading this post? Do like my Facebook page to get more sharing on parenting. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Susankoh) or Instagram (@ajugglingmom) for travel and fun places to go with your family.