Saturday, 1 March 2014

More than 'just a Mum'

Recently we were at a wedding and we were talking with people that we knew and catching up when that dreaded question came up, "So, Hannah are you still just a stay at home Mum". At the time I laughed a little and questioned "just" as if being a stay at home parent isn't enough. On this particular occasion it really wasn't meant to be a negative thing, and believe me the person in question squirmed a lot at my response. But it did get me thinking, is this how we see women that stay at home as a society? Why do people belittle it so much? I hate the "just" it aggravates me that people can't see what an opportunity it is to raise my kids my own way, or how much work it actually takes to do that!

I see it as being a privilege and a blessing for me to stay at home. I know plenty of parents who would give their right hand to be in my position and not have to be forced back into the workplace in order to provide for their families. I see my role as a Mum as one that utilizes far more of my skills and abilities than I have ever used before in a job. It challenges me on a daily basis to be more than I was the day before and everyday pushes me evermore. What other job has you on call 24-7 and gives hugs when you do a good job? I am not saying its easy (there are at times when I want to tear my hair out) but it is definitely rewarding to see your child making good choices, using clear what you have taught them.

When I choose to leave my job in 2011 having gone back only for just a few months after my first son was born, it was not a decision I took lightly. It was made because I felt that my attentions were divided and I couldn't do both, no-one was getting my best and for me I am all or nothing so something had to give. When I considered my options one of the things that struck me the most is why would I want someone else to teach and develop my child for me? Our children are only young once and those first few years are so crucial in shaping who they will grow up to be, so why would we not want to do that ourselves? I have the ability to be fundamental in my child's life so thats what I am choosing, to stay at home and be the best parent I can be. I just wish that more people were open minded about stay at home parents.

I was thinking about all of the jobs that I do as part of my role as a stay at home Mum and that I am expected to be good at. We don't ask chef's to also cut hair or engineers to clean their offices as well as work there, and yet we ask our Mum's too. I am expected to know how to build intricate train tracks and duplo skyscrapers, engineering and shaping designs that can't fail. I cut hair, cook balanced and nutritious meals, clean the house, tackle unlimited amounts of laundry (a lot created by my husband) and thats only the beginning. I don't even feel like I have got to the teaching part of my role yet and this is so crucial. I turn dreams into realities when my son comes with a toilet roll and asks me to transform it into something from his imagination. I am a teacher who specialises in every area, a domestic engineer and an expert in every topic of conversation, and believe me that is tricky. My three year old asks some of the most difficult questions on topics that I didn't even know existed.

So why do we belittle the stay at home parent so much? Why are all these jobs seen as 'not important' and 'nothing' type jobs? After all these little people now are our future so I think its only fair we invest in them now. If you think I do nothing all day, I want to challenge your way of thinking. I am not "just" a stay at home parent but "just" the crucial, influential parent, challenging and teaching my children by staying at home with them.

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