Nathan’s Mumma Says….
The popular misconceptions about being a Stay at Home Mum (SAHM) are many and varied. But it is a privilege many wish they had, and a nightmare for the rare few. I’m lucky, I know that. I can stay at home with my child and not work. We manage financially but only just (more on that later) … it is challenging, at times frustrating, it’s not all roses but it’s never dull and boring.
What do people think about SAHM?
- They must be loaded
- They just can’t be bothered to work
- They’re living off benefits
- They just sit around all day and do nothing
- They must be bored
- Their houses must be spotless
- Their children don’t benefit from socialising with other children
There are more I’m sure but those are the ones I’ve come up against. You may need to develop a thick skin and let these comments roll off you if you choose to be a Stay At Home Mum, and remember all the positive reasons behind your choices!
So…are we loaded? Nope, I wish. My husband works very hard in his job and earns just enough for us to pay our mortgage and bills without me needing to work too. This links well with the idea that we live off benefits, yes we do claim child benefit as every child is entitled to, it goes towards Nathan’s clothes, toys and activities. We also qualify for Child Tax Credit, this again goes into the pot for things for Nathan. None of it gets spent on myself or my husband or the house. I’m strict about that, its Nathan’s money. Further information on claiming Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit can be found by clicking on these links.
Can I be bothered to work? If we needed me to I would naturally but we decided that, for our family, the best thing was for me to stay at home with our child. I have plenty of qualifications and experience of working from before I had Nathan. It’s not that I can’t be bothered, or I couldn’t find a job (although this is getting more difficult for everyone) it’s that Nathan is my job now.
Am I bored? Not in the slightest, Nathan is very entertaining and keeps me on my toes! There is never a dull moment in our house. We joined a local mother and baby group quite early on and our daily activities have spiralled from there. We have a great group of mummy and baby friends whom we see every week, in varies guises (and to clarify, some are Full Time Working Mummas, some are SAHM and many are Part Time Working Mummas). We attend several baby/toddler classes (see previous blog on baby classes) and often visit local attractions (farm, aquariums, sporting events etc) for their educational purposes or just for the sheer fun of it!
We love to play together, inside or out in the garden too. Nathan has a wonderful imagination developing, he adores reading (or being read to) and his creative side is coming on.
Is my house spotless? Much to my husbands dismay no it is not. He’s a neat freak, I’m very messy. Nathan takes after his mother, leaves toys everywhere and makes a mess doing anything. We’re far too busy having fun and learning to bother cleaning the house to within an inch of its life. I have the same mountain of ironing that every woman has, the same dishes that need washing, the tumble dryer that needs emptying and the same meals to cook. I don’t have any more time to do that all in than someone who works 9-5, remember that my child is my job. When my husband gets home I cook for us all. Then during ‘daddy-time’ I get as much stuff done as I can. Procrastination thy name is Nathan’s Mumma.
Therefore I’m not usually found lounging on my sofa, feet up with a cup of tea. Don’t misunderstand…there are days when that does happen. When friends visit with children and they play together and give us a moments peace. Or when people visit Nathan and entertain him for a bit. Sitting around and doing nothing all day would drive me to distraction! I need to at least get out the house for a walk if nothing else, wander round the park, feed the ducks, play on the swings. Nathan loves the supermarket with all the different people to greet and products to lob into the trolley.
A typical day for us looks like this:
7.00…get up and have breakfast with Daddy before he goes to work
7.30/8.00….get washed and dressed (play in cot while Mummy gets ready)
8.30-9.30…watch a little television so Mummy can drink her tea 😉
9.30…go to supermarket/toddler class/visit friends
11.00…have a nap (Nathan not me) so Mummy can do jobs if we’re home, or drive to our next activity
1.30…afternoon with friends/visit grandparents/play at home/go to the park
4.00…start to cook tea, tidy up any chaos
4.30…Daddy is home, eat tea
5.30…play with Daddy while Mummy does jobs
6.15…have a bath
7.00…snuggle on the sofa for bedtime stories
So you can see it’s nothing outlandish, it’s just a normal day. There’s no secret to being a SAHM, it’s all about being organised but relaxed. Meet friends, visit family, go on adventures, no matter how small.
Now that Nathan’s creative side is coming through we like to paint or draw, we made Christmas decorations this year too. I’m just starting to bake with him now his attention span is long enough, egg-free of course (Nathan has a severe egg allergy, which you can see our journey in the Allergy Mumma articles).
But…Nathan is missing out by not being at nursery. Is he? I disagree, nursery works wonders for some children. It’s an invaluable resource for working parents. It’s not the solution for us. There isn’t anything nursery can provide that I can’t. We sing songs and play instruments, we do messy play (and we go to special messy play classes), we do crafts (and we go to playgroup which does a craft every week), we bake (difficult for nursery to do this with Nathan’s allergy to work around), he does plenty of socialising with other children both at home and at friends houses or playareas. He eats a variety of foods and we’re always trying new ones (again with help from a toddler class), we go swimming, see animals, ride different vehicles. He will be attending a playgroup without me this coming year which is the final piece of the puzzle. Think of being a SAHM as your childs own personal childminder.
There is no limit to what you can do, for not much money, when you have the time to do it in. Not only is being a SAHM the best thing for Nathan (in our opinion) but it has done wonders for me too. I’ve learnt to make and do things I never dreamt I’d do in a million years, who knew I could make playdough or bake cakes without eggs? And quite frankly, who would ever have thought I would co-found a parenting blog, sharing my random thoughts and ideas with all you lovely people and learning so much from other blogs in return!
I think you need to do whatever works for you as a family… to read a different story – being a Part Time Working Mumma, read Leyton’s Mummas article breaking down Maternity Leave, rights, ‘plus points’ and the emotional toil and trouble…