What to do when questions like this come up
It’s been three years and five months since I decided to resign from my job and be a stay at home mommy. Unlike my normal eight hours a day shift in the workforce, now my hours were longer and my three little bosses demanded more, and so much more of my time and attention.
All stay at home mothers have one thing in common: Sacrifice.
It has been confirmed with a 2015 research survey that mothers are more than likely to adjust their careers for family life than men. During that research survey 42% of Americans said that having a mother who works part time is ideal.
That is actually great news!
Leaving your job to take care of your child or a family member who needs special care is not a bad thing. And then you can do some part-time work as well while taking care of your child.
Most times the part-time refers to online work which is most likely blogging, review writing and other income generating work you can do from the comfort of your home but that is another topic on its own.
From the start leaving your job seems like the most heroic thing you could do for your family, and especially your children. No matter what the reason is for you to give up your career and your life, you are giving your children the best gift any mother could give in a lifetime.
And that is your full, one hundred percent attention. Most times that is all they want.
Leaving your job to take care of your children or a family member may not be the easiest decision to make but sometimes situations will make your decision for you.
We had been having problems looking for a reliable babysitter to stay with our children at home.
One of our babysitters put our baby son in a bilum bag (local hand-woven string bags big enough to carry a baby) and left him alone at her house while she went to tend her garden, some fifteen minutes’ walk away. Another of our babysitters would bring one of her children with her to work and took more time taking care of her child than our baby son – our son would be dirty and crying from hunger in the afternoons. Our last and final babysitter left the kids alone in the house by themselves with the doors and gates open wide. The neighbours told us what happened that night when we returned from work.
That was truly the last straw…
The babysitter was sent packing and I emailed my resignation the same day to my boss, the Managing editor of the local magazine publishing company where I worked as a writer.
My resignation was actually sent very late in the evening after talking with my partner about my decision to stay home and take care of our children. My partner was happy that our children will be taken care of by me…he was just concerned about if I would be ok with my decision later on.
I waved those worries away for later and sent the email at 11pm.
All was going well for almost a year and then…BAM!
In came the worrywarts and the naysayers who somehow felt that it is their purpose on this green earth to ask you the most dreaded and insensitive questions of the century,
“Where do you work?”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Do you help your husband pay for stuff?”
You know most times it’s not the questions that hurt and demoralize but more often than not, it’s the snooping around in the house. Most times this is done knowing the whole time that you can see what they’re doing.
The wrinkling of the nose and sharp intake of breath as they mentally calculate how much that bag of second-hand clothes must have cost, or even how your husband can rent such a lovely place without your financial support.
Stings doesn’t it?’
Anyway, as stay at home mothers these are some of the most stressful questions and things that make us want to tear our hair out right?
Now on to how we can help ourselves in this type of situations.
Yes, you read right.
There is nothing too hard we mothers cannot conquer…from the hard knocks we gain clearer vision.
KNOW YOUR WORTH
First of all you are the children’s mother and there is no one more capable and faithful in taking care of the children than their own mother.
Know your worth as your children’s mother. Accept your husband’s gratitude and appreciation of your sacrifice to stay and look after his and your children.
Not a lot of women can do what you have done.
Other people will come to your house and do the work but it is what it is – a job to feed their own family behind them. And the most worrying thing is that most times the welfare or security of your child may not be on their top priority list, or they may have little to no experience with taking care of little children and lack the patience and ‘eagle eye’ that is needed to watch tiny tots.
And then with young adults taking care of your children, you will have situations where people only known to your babysitters will turn up to your house where your children are being taken care of during the day. Most times there won’t be any trouble but if someone turns up who doesn’t respect rules or boundaries in a household then you have a serious problem on your hands – especially when your children are in the house with the babysitter that invited these people.
With day care centers there is obviously lots of love to go around and your children have other children to play and interact with.
However, what if the cost of putting your child in day care costs an arm and maybe a leg?
In a recent study, child care costs are at an astounding high with the average weekly cost for an infant child being at $211 for a day-care center and $580 for a nanny. That study was conducted using results from 1,000 parents nationwide in the United States of America.
That same study also highlighted the financial and familial impact of child care costs. In fact, 26 percent put themselves in debt or accumulated it to pay for child care with another 54 percent saying they saved less money and 41 percent saying they had to make budget cuts to cater for it.
Here in Papua New Guinea, it costs almost $45 per week and $2,320.25 annually to put your child in an average private day care center. That’s 179 and 9,300 PNG Kina.
May not look like much but to the average public servant here who does not receive any school fee allowance plus only a pocket change of $1.75 housing allowance per fortnight apart from his net income that is a huge dent in the household income.
Most Papua New Guinean working mothers have to rely on the cultural norm of bringing relatives from the village to look after the children for free.
Considering these factors against the huge sacrifice you have made, leaving your job, you have made the right decision.
Don’t get me wrong. You can go to work and support your husband, there’s nothing wrong with holding down a career as well as taking up your duties in afternoons when you return home.
We’re just talking about what to do when you do decide to stay home with your kids and how to deal with the insensitive questions following your decision.
Others may see you as being lazy or just looking for an excuse to live off your husband’s hard work and hard earned money but they forget the part where you used to work and earn as much or sometimes even more than what your husband brings home.
It is not about you or your husband any more. It is about the children and their welfare.
Yes costs for childcare may not really be an issue sometimes but what matters is that you and your husband have peace of mind that your children are safe at home with their mother and then you are able, maybe, to save a few more dollars in the bank for emergency.
CONTINUE WHAT YOU ARE DOING…AND THEN SOME
For me I have learnt to ignore people who have nothing better to do than to spend their lives talking about other people.
Most times we women are our own worst enemies.
We talk and criticize other women, especially women who have left the workforce to take care of their children. Most times we talk and talk not realizing that one day we may have to come up with that same decision when the life of our children or a family member is at risk.
A 2012 Gallup analysis of more than 60,000 US women showed that non-employed women with young children at home were more likely than women with young children at home who are employed for pay to report experiencing sadness and anger. The highest of negative emotion recorded at 50 percent being stress followed by worry at 41 percent.
These can easily come about when there is criticism of the mother’s decision to leave work to look after her young children, lack of respect and recognition from her friends, family and sometimes even her partner and the mother’s own diminishing lack of self-worth.
In order to combat all that negative people and emotions, we need to first of all take stock of what we are doing as stay at home moms.
Secondly, question what you are doing and ask yourself if what you are doing is right.
If your answer is both yes and no, take a step back and ask yourself why you decided to be a stay at home mom in the first place.
Once you have established your answer and have found your footing, now take a look at how you are going about being a stay at home mom.
Lastly, Do you think you are doing a great job? Or do you think you can do better in some areas.
Once you have answered all these questions it is now time to make yourself a cup of hot and comforting tea.
Now sit down and take a minute to unwind, and then tell yourself,
“My name is __________. I am a stay at home mother to my beautiful children, (you can call your children’s names here). If you do not understand what I am doing for my children and for my family then it is your stress and not mine.”
And then you can end your victory speech with,
There is simply no need to explain your reasons for choosing your children over a job. That is for you and your husband to discuss. End of story.