Thursday, 22 March 2012

Stay at Home Mothers

As a stay at home mother in a society which expects you to return to work I feel completely undervalued by the society I live. I have been reading on forums and in various article written by working mothers how hard they find the balance. I am not going to try to tell them it isn't hard. I know it's very difficult to balance work and motherhood. I returned to work when my youngest was only 6 months old. I returned to work because I had the permanent position but my darling husband was here with Hollie. If he was called in for supply work or short contracts we had my mother-in-law or my sister's mum look after Hollie. I know some working mothers or fathers don't have that option but if we didn't have that option, Kevin would have stayed at home with Hollie. Many mothers say they value stay at home mothers but they don't seem to value them enough to stay at home and be one. Society doesn't think stay at home mothers are important because there is no incentive to stay home. A working mother receives higher kindergarten rebates than a stay at home mother. I don't want a  government handout. I don't get one. I just want the government to provide the same services for stay at home mothers as they do for working mothers. And now onto working mothers themselves.

My issue with working mothers is that most claim they return to work because they are financially unable to stay at home. With the cost of day care, and I don't have an issue with the cost because it is extremely cheap for what you get, I don't understand how the majority of working mothers are better off. My issue with working mothers is what they won't give up in order to stay at home with their child/ren. Why can't they give up the expensive clothes and shop at an op shop? Or stop going out for coffee with friends or dinner with their husband? Why won't they downsize and live in a smaller house or in a less desirable area or buy a cheaper house to start with? Why do they need a new car instead of a second hand one? Why can't they give up the holiday for another few years so they can stay at home with the kids?

People of my generation see this kind of sacrifice as a very negative thing. For me it is just a short term sacrifice. I have no issue with working mothers who choose not to make these sacrifices but don't complain about your decision to me or to society because of the choices you and your family have made.

I don't see these sacrifices as a negative thing. We chose to buy the house we did knowing we could pay it off on one income. We could have bought a more expensive house which suited our needs more adequately but we chose this house because it means I can stay home. Yes, we sacrifice. We live on a busy road. We have 4 children in one room. We have renovations to do and improvements to make but we love it because it is ours. Our little piece of the world and we don't have to stress about paying the bills. We know we won't be going on a holiday for a few years unless it is a camping holiday or to visit friends somewhere. That is a sacrifice but I don't think it is a negative thing. Am I the only one who feels like this?

I know working mothers sacrifice too. They sacrifice time with their babies and their young children. I know that. I would not give it up because I know that I alone can provide emotionally, academically, socially and spiritually for my children. I am giving them the best start to life by being here for them. I know that what I am doing is right. It is hard work. It is draining and boring and horrible some days but it's only for a short time. Hollie's at school and those years at home with her went too quickly. I am sacrificing a lifestyle to have another kind of lifestyle. My kind of lifestyle. A lifestyle I love and sometimes hate but a lifestyle I happy to have.