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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being a SAHM - Reflecting on the Past 3 Years

Elliot Sleeps on Mommy

Three years ago I decided to stay at home while being pregnant with E. It wasn't an easy decision but something that H and I discussed years ago if it was financially feasible. Of course money was tight at first, but we made it work. My body changed a lot during my pregnancy, and the extra time at home helped me adjust. Once E arrived, all of my time was devoted to taking care of him. The first year was difficult, but we survived and E thrived. Now that E is 28 months old, and we're expecting another on the way, it's about time to reflect on the past three years.

1st Family Photo 

Being a stay at home is truly rewarding. Yes, it can be damn right draining and exhausting. I spent every other day breaking down in tears for the first year. I found it hard to balance being a mother, wife, and being just me. While it was difficult to see past all the struggles, everyday I witnessed my little baby grow into a little boy. I was able to provide him a year of breast milk by exclusively pumping, giving him the best nutrition I could possible pass on to him. By being at home I had the dedication to go through with cloth diapering full time and doing laundry everyday. I was there for all his major milestones -- smiles, laughing, rolling over, crawling, pulling up, walking, and talking. Everyday I sit down with E at the table to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. We talk about silly things and anything that is on his mind. It's those special moments that I wouldn't give up for anything in the world.

NikonFE2-007

One of the things I struggle with most is the perception of being a stay at home mom. Fifty years ago I was part of the norm. Now I am looked down upon because my role is insignificant. I don't contribute to the working society. My son would benefit more from being in daycare than staying at home with me (that is what I'm told). Pretty much being a SAHM has a bad reputation. Every time I'm asked what I do, my response is never acceptable. The reaction is usually silence. No one has anything to say and usually steer the conversation in a different direction. I don't need people to praise me for what I do, but their silence is treated as disappointment that I'm not doing something better with my life and for my family. Our parents have spent their lives in America working towards the American dream of earning money. Both my parents and in-law's worked hard and don't exactly understand my role at home.

Taking a Break by the City Skyline

This past weekend a comment really rubbed me the wrong way. H was telling his aunts and uncles about the famous triangle fold plastic bag trick and gave me credit for it. His uncle quickly concluded and said out loud that I have so much time on my hands staying at home to be able to fold individual plastic bags. The aunts ignored the comment and wanted to learn how to fold, which I appreciated. Yes, I do have a lot of time at home, but it's not easy to take care of a child and household every single day. I cook two meals a day and reheat leftovers for lunch. Every meal is specifically made with E's health in mind, and that takes a lot of time and energy when you calculate his allergies into the equation. It's so much work that many are too intimidated to even try to cook for him, which leaves me in the kitchen making bentos every time we leave the house. Plus my kid eats pretty much every hour, and I'm not the type to resort to processed boxed snacks (I do occasionally give it to him but mainly stick with healthy fruits and nuts). So that's just the cooking aspect of my day. Throw in washing dishes for all of those meals that I cook (no dishwasher), laundry for the entire family, and general up keep of the house. Oh and don't forget that I have to care for my child and give him the attention he needs to thrive. Sigh.

Elliot's 2nd Birthday

I don't need an award or trophy for my title, but a little appreciation would go a long way. I constantly feel like I'm letting others down by being insignificant. Maybe it doesn't help that I don't know other SAHMs, and I don't make the effort to try to meet them either. None of my friends have kids, and here I am with a toddler and a baby brewing inside. It's difficult not to have the support system from others. Luckily H is there for me and reminds me constantly how much he appreciates me staying at home. This is part of his dream for our family, and it's perfect in its own special way. I also am lucky enough to be part of an amazing community at Hellobee and have met people through forums and blogs.

Newark Day 2013

A year ago I would say that I have lost my identity and not sure how to classify myself. Being a mother is a new role, and being a stay at home mother is even more challenging. The first year was full of struggles, which made me question who I was. With little time to dedicate to myself, I became lost and wanted to figure out exactly where I fit in. I am a mother 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don't get many breaks or any vacation time for myself. I can't leave the house and be "human" for 8 hours a day and come home to throw on my mother hat. Fast forward 2.5 years later, and I identify myself as a mother and wife. I know I need time to focus on myself, but sometimes I don't want it. I would rather be with my husband and kids. Family is what I live and breathe for every single day.

Baby Bump - Week 28

1 comments:

Sarah said...

Excellent post. I am on a year of mat leave right now, and it's so tough being home, but not even on my worst day do I wish I was back at work. I really wish I could be a stay at home mom!! I find it so much more rewarding than working. I really respect SAHMs :)

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