Check In On Stay-At-Home Parents – They Might Not Be Ok
After the birth of my first child, my husband and I decided that, financially, it would be best if I stayed at hime with our daughter instead of working full time outside of the home. It was a decision we made together. We had both been raised by mothers who had stayed at home to raise the children and we wanted that type of upbringing for our own kids.
That decision was bittersweet for me. Although I loved being a mother, it was hard to not lose myself. While my husband was graduating college and going back to get a second degree, I had to quit school and focus on being a mom, and only being a mom.
Everyday that my love for my daughter grew stronger, my reflection in the mirror grew dimmer. The hardest job I have ever had was when I stayed at home with my three children. Yes, there were parts of me that loved every minute I spent with them, but there were also parts of me that felt so alone and isolated.
I never really talked about how I felt, for fear of judgement. It was so messed up really. I was a part of a generation that was raised by women who fought for women's rights. Those same women raised us to want more for ourselves, expect more for ourselves, but then judged us if we wanted it all. Once we had children, we were expected to stop wanting it all until our kids were grown.
To remedy my negative feelings and still be the stay at home mother to my young children that I wanted and chose to be, I got a part time job. It really helped.
Sometimes I felt like I was the only one who felt like this. This only mom who needed more in addition to the blessings I already had. Was I the only one that was unhappy sometimes?
Are stay at home moms happier?
According to gostrengths.com,
The results revealed that moms who work part-time or full-time outside of the home during their child's infancy and toddler years were happier and had stronger feelings of well-being than stay-at-home moms. Additionally, moms who worked outside of the home were healthier and happier overall.
You forget what it means or feels like to be an individual; because your entire existence now revolves around that child.
You look at working moms and get jealous because you wish you could have an excuse to have an adult conversation without being interrupted.
You lock yourself in the bathroom and scream into a towel while crying because you need a second to breathe; all while a child is banging on the door to get in...
In addition to the SAHM/P's feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety, society judges the them too. They are hard enough on themselves, why are we adding to it. Shame on us. We are a huge part of the problem.
This TEDx video is a compelling look at our subconscious judgment of mom's, in particular.
Staying at home isn't only a mom thing. Many men find that, whether by choice or financial reasons, they are also staying at home with the kids. Being at home with young children full time can effect men in a negative way too. I think, today even more so. There is still a stereotype that men are supposed to work to support the family.
This is so ridiculous. I've heard people judge the dad's that stay at home, even if their wife makes more money than them. Men are perceived as letting the family down if they stay at home, like women used to be perceived as letting their family down if they went to work.
But, like some women that full time parent, men may also feel the same negative feelings and women. Some men may long for the days when they can work again, outside the home.
Listen, bottom line, we're all just trying to do our best for those we love. Not only be good parents, but be good to ourselves too by living out our own dreams and career goals. Why do we continue to judge others for their personal decisions? Why do we keep beating each other up about feeling any negativity toward parenting.
It's ok for everything NOT to be perfect.
How many parents are staying at home?
On average, 2.4 percent of parents are now staying home with their kids as of early 2021. This is up by 1.5 percent from 2019. The data points to the fact that the increase in stay-at-home parents in 2021 was fueled more by the situation than choice.
As you can see in the above stat, only a small percentage of parents are exclusively staying at and raising kids as their full-time job. But, all that tells me is that the parents who do, need us to support them even more. We need to check on them, empathize with them, stop judging them, and care for them, while they are caring for their children.
Please, in these uncertain and increasingly stressful times, check on all of your friends and family, especially the parents that spend the majority of their time at home with their kids. Make sure they are ok. Offer to help them if the need it. Take the time to really see them and love them.
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