So, it’s been six months and I still struggle to say I’m a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM). Coping with this life change has been a lot harder than I ever anticipated. I went into the opportunity, which I do appreciate and love, with hopes and dreams of well-behaved almost angelic kids, a spotless house and piping hot dinners every night. What I have found, is I love being with my kids more. But, the guilt of not being with them enough has just transformed into different feelings. Feelings that I have less value than I did before.
After being the in the workforce for 15 plus years, working my way up in Corporate America through my two boy’s toddler years, I have been given the opportunity I always thought I wanted—to not work. However, I guess I didn’t realize how much I identified with working and being a working mom. I placed much of my self-worth in being an equal financial contributor to our household. So, in what should be a glorious time keeping my home functioning and being there for my kids. No more daycares and after school programs. I find myself struggling more mentally than I ever have before. I must admit, I didn’t see those feelings coming.
My husband is wonderful. He says I’m just as valuable at home as I was in the workforce. Somehow, I feel like our money is now his money and I have less authority to use it at my discretion. Fundamentally, I know that our joint checking account is just that. Over the 10 years we’ve been married I was an equal, and occasionally, primary breadwinner so the money I spend now is no more his than it is mine. But now I feel a little guilty if I want to get the mani/pedi I love so much.
When someone asks what I do, I say, “I’m not currently working.” I can’t quite seem to call myself a “stay-at-home mom.” Part of me wants to answer, I don’t work. The other part of me wants to tell people I’m just in between jobs. I feel guilty. Like I am no longer contributing to my household to the level I was. That my friends who are working somehow judge me or can no longer relate to me and my daily life. I know I’m crazy!
These are just my internal feelings and no one really feels this way. But somehow, I feel like I hold less value. Now, being home more has made my home life simpler which was always the goal. No more weekend or weeknight Costco trips with everyone in tow. Those crazy hectic weekends trying to get every errand done have transformed into more quality family time which I truly treasure and see the value in.
In the end, being a SAHM or a working mom both hold feelings of guilt for me. I have to find my value better centered around how well my family is thriving because that is my goal. I worked to make a better life for us, Right now, my best place is to make a better life for them with me being a bigger part of it. But, make no mistake about it—coping with being a SAHM is real—at least for me.