Stay At Home Mum … Not For Me


I have seen so many stay at home Mum’s posting about why they chose to be a stay at home Mum over going to work. I thought I would share my story :)

After having Master C I suffered post natal depression. I know it was caused by multiple things including birth trauma and I also know it was there before I gave birth. But one of the biggest things that happened after Master C was born was I lost my own identity. I was taken from being an independent and motivated person and plunged into a world where this child was completely reliant on me. I had no time or energy for anything other than feeding, sleeping and changing dirty nappies. For 11 months I struggled to find time for myself, I had no idea who I was anymore.

We traveled to the USA just before Master C’s first birthday, I remember my “uh huh” moment very clearly ….. I was in the bath tub in our beautiful hotel room in New York City. I was reflecting on the past year and asking myself “how can I be sitting in this amazing hotel room, in this amazing city, with such an amazing life and family and still feel like something is missing?”. It then clicked! I had no identity outside of being a Mum. My whole life I have always had goals and dreams, they changed with every new stage of life but I always knew I wanted a career and wanted to achieve something in life. At that moment I realised, being a stay at home Mum just wasn’t for me.

I respect women who love staying at home, I think there is no greater role in life than that of a Mother. But for me it is not in my make up, I am not built to be a stay at home Mum. I am not sure why? I love spending time with my children but I also love the challenges that work gives me. I love having something just for me, something I am building and something my children can be proud of.

As every working Mother knows, Mother’s guilt plagues you daily. Master C attends daycare 3 days a week and sometimes a day extra if the week is super busy. I feel guilty, but I know we both benefit from him attending daycare. I get to work uninterrupted and he gets to have time out and play with his friends. I find it harder because I work from home. I don’t feel people respect your job when you a) work for yourself and b) work from home. People often call in the middle of a work day or drop by wanting to chat for hours. They don’t understand that a work day to me is like any job, I have a lunch break and I work 8am-4pm. I don’t sit around all day having child free time, I actually work!

Finding the right balance between being a Mum and being a business person is hard. At the end of the day my kids come first and I am lucky I can drop everything for them if I need to. If they are sick or if they need Mummy I can stop working for a day or even a week without having to ask a boss for time off or worry about not being paid.

I am so happy in my life and feel complete. I really do have it all! I have an amazing job, a wonderful life and a beautiful family. What more could I ask for?

Jen xx

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12 Responses

  1. Melinda says:

    Great, great post Jen. Loved the honesty. You almost make me want to go back to work, almost. :)

  2. Tammy says:

    Good on you Jen!! I am so happy for you you’ve found that balance. And I think no matter WHAT we do, we always have a level of that damn “mummy guilt”. I am currently a stay at home mum, will be heading back to work in Feb, but I desperately want to continue to stay at home. I love it :-) Everybody needs to find that right spot for them & just coz it’s right for someone, doesn’t mean it is for everyone. Awesome post! Love it :-)

  3. Karina Lamb says:

    Jen I love this post! I also went through PND with my daughter born 3 years ago. She was 12 pounds, I was 35 kgs overweight with a toddler who was 20 months old. Tough! Work and my choice to start a PhD brought back energy to begin running and looking after myself. My priorities now are health, family and work. I love my three days per week when I can focus on work and feel like I’m contributing to the world. I also love my family time although the juggle is tough at times. :) I have lost 39kgs, have just received my trainer accreditation for CrossFit and I have a year left of the PhD. Life’s good. :)

  4. Kristy says:

    Thanks for sharing. I too feel I have lost my identity in some ways since having children. Dont get me wrong I am extremely lucky I am able to be at home with my kids but there is things I love and hate about it. At times it feels I am on a merry go round and cannot get of:) I have decided 2012 is a year to do something for me and will be looking at doing some study and eventually returning to part time work. I love my kids but I think for some people there needs to be a balance. Happy Mum = happy Family.

  5. Liz says:

    Great post Jen. It’s such an individual decision and no one is right or better than the other, as long as you are happy and content that’s all that matters!

  6. Thank you for sharing your story in such an open, honest and insightful way. Every family’s situation is so different and what is right for one family is not always right for another. Articles like these help people understand why different people make different life choices… and help build a community of understanding, respect and support. Please don’t feel guilty! You have made the best decision for you… and your family. xo

  7. Jessica Foot says:

    I had post natal depression with my first son. Quite severe now that I look back 10 years on. I was here from another country unable to work yet because of visa issues and no family. Poor support from inlaws. I took my then 4month old son back home to visit and my dad was just in disbelieve in how unhappy I was and he said to me “How can you take care of your baby if your not taking care of yourself” That was my light bulb moment. Still wasn’t much I could do with my situation in Australia but a few years later with a marriage break down I remembered those words. I wanted to go back to school and do something with my life, my ex husband didn’t want me to go to school. I had to make that choice to go and do it. I’m now working full time as a nurse and will continue my education next yr while working. I have the guilt with the kids, I can’t always be here but when I’m at home with just the washing and they are all in school I feel trapped and unhappy. I need a purpose and I need to be outside of this house for a certain amount of time everyday for my minds sake. I still suffer from depression and have good and bad days but I have to take care of me first or my 3 babies won’t have mommy when it counts. Just takes more organizing of your life and I do not judge anyone who chooses to stay home or work. Your doing a great job Jen xxx

  8. Ruth says:

    I loved what you wrote about working for yourself and working from home. how people don’t respect your boundaries and what you are trying to achieve in your day. well done on achieving the balance you needed and having the flexibility to be able to drop everything when you need to. I would love to hear about your business, some business coaching tips. Trying to work out how and where to transition back into work again.

  9. Sarina says:

    I felt this way. I felt an incredible need to get a job & get out of the house once my eldest was 6 months old.
    For some reason, I always thought I would have a job AND have kids, I just forgot to factor in who would be doing the washing.

  10. Laura says:

    I love this post, Jen.

    Like you, I’m just not built to be a SAHM and my kids love daycare/school so I’m very lucky.

    I had a year at home after each of my girls was born and I know that I’m a better Mum when I’m working because I suffer badly from SAHM-guilt aka if-im-home-8-hrs-a-day-and-my-skirting-boards-arent-gleaming-and-our-undies-arent-ironed-and-we-dont-eat-gourmet-meals-every-night-im-a-failure-itis

    Which means I’m not focusing on my kids because I have to iron these clothes THEN I’ll play with them and I have to clean the windows and THEN i’ll play with them because they’ll be there in 5 mins, or 20mins, or an hour. And I’ve got all day to do this ironing so I’ll pace myself… and before I know it, it’s bedtime.

    When I’m working, I come home, I’m still on overdrive form work so i whip through some housework super fast (chuck clothes in the washing machine, unload dishwasher, put a meal I’ve pre-prepared into the oven to bake) and then I focus utterly and completely on my kids because I *cherish* this time so much.

    I know not everyone is like that, some people stay at home all day, whip through the housework in 5 mins and then spend quality time with their kids all day but i wasn’t like that.

    I’m glad you’ve found your perfect balance!!

  11. Laura says:

    @ Sarina

    “I always thought I would have a job AND have kids, I just forgot to factor in who would be doing the washing.”

    bwahahaha!! =o)

  12. OMG someone else feels the same as me. I thought I was mad and people kept looking at me like I was stupid! My work is my me time and essential to my PND recovery also. Well done for such an honest post.

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