One of the hardest decisions I've ever made was the one to leave my office job after the birth of my second child. I liked my job, I loved my company and coworkers, and I saw opportunity for professional growth within the institution. Oh, and I also liked getting money for doing stuff. That was awesome. Still, leave I did and I've never regretted my choice. There are
sacrifices every stay-at-home mom makes that are worth it at the end of the day.
Of course when I say "every" and they're "worth it," I mean "me" and "they're worth it
to me." I don't know if they're worth it for someone else until they tell me and I'm not one to assume that my stay-at-home situation is the same as everyone (or anyone) else's. A lot of people I've talked to have agreed with me — SAHM life is far from glamorous and you have to deal with a lot of crap, but it's not a bad trade-off at all. There are also people who hear what I have to say, throw up deuces and are like, "You do you but I'm out." To them I say "Bon voyage! Live your best life and enjoy your journey!" because, guys, about 70 percent of the time I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I'm not even going to pretend to know what's best for you. But I will say, in my experience, the whole SAHM thing comes with a lot of crap, but that crap is outweighed by a lot of perks. The perkiest perk, of course, is the one everyone guesses right off the bat: you get to spend a whole lot of time with your beloved children. This one very excellent pro, in and of itself, can make-up for the numerous cons. Still, I would say that even within the cons themselves you can get little victories that will add up to a fulfilling and happy life for a SAHM. Those pros include (but are in no way limited to) the following... You Are Taking Time Out Of Building Your Career
While taking time away from the workforce is not an insurmountable obstacle to achieving one's ultimate career goals, the unfortunate truth is that in one way or another you're going to be taking a hit professional. These are years you aren't building relevant experience or the kind of network that would best benefit you. The gap in your resume? Not so great either, unfortunately.
(Why It's Worth It)
Time spent as a SAHM gives a person a perspective they never would have had otherwise, and new perspectives are never a bad thing. This includes more distance from a job and career path that just isn't possible when you're, you know, pretty preoccupied
doing your job.
So, this time away provides an opportunity to see your own professional trajectory from a distance and decide if you like where it's going and how you'd like to change it (if you'd like to change it). Being a SAHM also cultures and develops a skill set that may come in handy should you ever decide to re-enter the workforce (even if they aren't strictly speaking things that you can put on a resume).
You Have Given Up Most Of Your Chances At Adult Conversation
Being a SAHM can get kind of lonely, if only because you're usually pretty
isolated from other adults.
"But surely," you may think, "You can talk to other moms at the playground or something?"
Oh. You mean when our kids are present? Ha! Hell no, you sweet, naive thing. First of all, I need to keep an eagle eye on my two little daredevils. So even if they're off doing their own thing, there's a pretty good chance I'm going to have to dash off in the middle of a conversation to rescue them from peril. The same goes for the other mom. So between the two of us, odds are pretty good we're not going to be able to say much before one of us has to run. If our kids are
with us then they're going to be interrupting every five seconds. (Why It's Worth It)
Because hanging out with kids is pretty cool, too. Like, the other day my kids and I told each other a story about Halloween witches who make the leaves change colors. When I used to try to do that with my co-workers at my last job I got funny looks and emails from human resources. Also? It makes adult conversations, pretty much
any adult conversation, absolutely riveting and exciting. You Have Given Up The Hopes Of Ever Having Not Disheveled/Crud-Covered Clothing
Kids are naturally pretty slovenly and, well, that slovenly-ness rubs off on you.
Literally. Every day my daughter has yogurt for breakfast and every day she manages to hug me before I can wipe said yogurt off her face. The result? All my shirts have this nasty white smear on them. Same goes for sunscreen, ketchup, snot, or whatever other slimy nonsense my kids have on them. As a result, fashion drops on the list of priorities. (Why It's Worth It)
Because mother-lovin' yoga pants. Mic drop.
The end. I'm out.
Yoga pants are the alpha and the omega of garments and, through concerted effort and refusal to give up on our dream, SAHMs have established them as part of our uniform. In fact, I'm pretty sure the international SAHM flag is just a pair of yoga pants tied to a stick.
You Have Tacitly Agreed To Become The Family's Appointed Contact Person
Does your child have a doctor's appointment? Is the sink backed up and a plumber needs to be called? Is there a big delivery scheduled to arrive sometime between 8 a.m. Tuesday and 9 p.m. on Friday? Does the dog need to be taken to the vet? Does your daughter need to be signed up for (and driven to) Little League? Guess what? All this crap?
That's on you now, SAHM. Congratu-friggin-lations. (Why It's Worth It)
You are the keeper of all the knowledge. Mostly this is annoying but every now and then you find ways to work it to your advantage. You know Varys on
Game of Thrones? The bald, eunuch Master of Whispers who plots quietly behind the scenes and somehow has more power than all the other power players combined? That's basically a pretty great metaphor for being a SAHM. You Are Knowingly Subjecting Yourself To Hours Of Children's Shows
And worse still, probably the same episodes over and over and over again because children adore repetition, no matter how annoying it is. You will have to be very careful to expose them only to those programs you can stomach. Avoid
Caillou at all costs because, holy hell, is that little brat the worst. (Why It's Worth It)
Let's be honest: some of those shows are pretty cute and being a SAHM gives you more opportunities to revisit them without you looking like a weird-ass adult watching baby shows. But I'm sorry, if loving
Sesame Street is wrong I don't want to be right. You Have Taken A Job You Basically Never Get To Leave And You Are Either On Shift Or On-Call 24/7
The feeling (and, frankly, reality) of constantly having to be
on is something any parent understands, but for a SAHM there is monotony added to that sensation, which can magnify it. Home feels different and, as a result, it's no longer a place you retreat to to get away from the rest of the world. It's, essentially, your whole world in many respects, and it makes it harder to relax, because you always see and know that there's something you could be doing. (Why It's Worth It)
Look, if I
have to spend 24 hours with someone, my kids are pretty much at the top of that list. Besides, pointing out this fact is a pretty convincing way to get your partner to do their fair share once they're home from their job, because it's only fair that, as parents, both of you should be on-call 24/7. Just because their role as a parent takes them outside of the home every day, and yours doesn't, doesn't mean they're absolved from all parental duties. You Subject Yourself To Other People's Judgment About What You Should Be Doing And How You Should Be Doing It
Certainly SAHMs don't have the corner on this market, as working moms get
plenty of judgment. However, SAHMs have to deal with their own particular brand of it and ,sometimes, even from other SAHMs. (Anecdotally speaking, I also find there is a camaraderie among working moms that isn't as dependable among SAHMs.) Still, knowing everyone is going to get judged for the choices they make as a parent doesn't make it any less annoying. (Why It's Worth It)
Because as a SAHM, you learn pretty damn quick that other people's opinions can kiss your yoga pants-wearing ass.
Actually, this is just a great thing to learn about life in general.