Before I became a mom I worked the usual outside-the-home jobs. My pregnancy was a difficult one, and, at about the midpoint, I was put on bedrest. As a result, I quit my job. So, honestly, the choice to be a stay-at-home mo wasn't really a "choice," but a consequence of circumstance. Still, there are things I wish my partner said to me when I finally decided to be a stay-at-home mom. I know a few choice comments would've made me feel like it was the right thing to do.
When I announced my choice to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, the news wasn't exactly welcomed with a warm reception. Understandably, my partner was afraid of finances, the future of our relationship, insurance, and all the other justifiable concerns. He silently supported me in the beginning, but I always felt resistance. It became clearer when those around him made their opposing opinions known, which essentially influenced the way he treated me. While I see how this sudden change of events concerning my employment (or lack thereof) could be worrisome, I was intent on making it work regardless. To know that he trusted me would have, you know, helped.
Due to my own marred experience growing up under the care of various incompetent sitters, I vowed not to let any of my future children go through the same. If it was within my power to be with them, if only for a while, then I would — objections be damned. With that said, there's still so much I wish my partner had said to me about my choice to stay home with our first baby (and now both our children), because it would've empowered me at a time when I really needed it.
"I Agree With You"
One of the first things I really wish my partner had said to me was that he totally, 100 percent agreed with my reasons for wanting to be a stay-at-home mom. He may not have (and made that partly clear at times), but I needed to hear the words for my own peace of mind. Being a passive person, it's not typically his style to argue or disagree unless he's about to burst, but I know, at least initially, his ability to agree with my decision was overshadowed by the overwhelming response from family and friends.
"What Can I Do To Help?"
When I decided to stop all work outside the home, this was (as I mentioned) due to health reasons. I had hypertension and limbs so swollen there was little I could do on or off my feet without possible harm to my baby. My partner worked a lot to make up for our financial losses, but I wish he'd offered more help at the time. I felt as if everything I knew, changed. There was no support system in place and, having never been pregnant before, I didn't realize how much help I'd actually need. Being a stay-at-home mom with my newborn drained every last bit of life from me. Yes, I was home more, but I still needed help.
"We'll Figure It Out Together"
I had no idea that I'd have to do so much, or make so many decisions, once my baby arrived. Breast or bottle? Crib or co-sleep? I mean, the choices were endless. At times, I felt like it was all on me to figure out, which made every decision a daunting one. I really wanted, and needed, a supportive partner to remind me that we were in this parenting thing together.
"Don't Listen To The Haters"
Some family members were appalled that I'd even think about giving up my paychecks to stay home with my baby. Again, while I understand the reasoning, I could find ways to make money (and did from home, but my baby would grow up, and one day, leave the nest. I wanted to be the one there with her while I could.
To this day, I'm still the person both my children have come to see standing in the doorway when they return home from school. I like it that way. I wish my grown-ass man said this is the right decision not just for me, but for us and our kids, and that I should just block out the unnecessary opinions of others.
"We'll Find The Money"
I've never been one to sit around all day if I can find ways to hustle. I've had nearly every job created, and that didn't change once I became a mom. I just had to figure out how to do things from home. I sold stuff, took on freelance writing jobs, did clinical drug studies — whatever I had to. Eventually, I stumbled onto more steady work from home (including persevering through a lot of literary rejection) and it stuck.
"I Support You"
Whether it was against his better instincts or not, I wish my partner said, repeatedly, that he supported me. At times, and especially when it was too hard, I felt so alone and like I made the wrong choice. I wanted to be a great mother and partner, but when fatigue and exhaustion set in I felt like neither. If he'd have reminded me I had support there, maybe I wouldn't have spent so much time wallowing.
"You're An Amazing Mother"
Over time, my partner's mentioned what a great mom I am, but way back then and over 10 years ago, I didn't hear it when I needed to. We both struggled through finding our footing as parents. Although I made mistakes, I always tried to learn from them so I could be everything he needed, and everything my baby needed, too.
Now that my kids are in school he says this often, which almost makes up for the times he didn't. You know what? I'm OK with that. Better late than never, dear.