Thursday

Stay-at-Home Mother

Being a stay-at-home mother comes with its share of challenges. They don’t have their own money, may not have their own car, and oftentimes have no social life. Quitting a job and sacrificing to stay home with children takes courage and may be a threat to one’s career goals.

Marriages end and when they do, many stay-at-home mothers suffer tremendous financial loss. If your spouse isn’t putting money away for your retirement too, then you will have to play catch up when you return back to work. If your spouse isn’t generous or can‘t afford to give you money to pay your bills and take care of your other needs, then you will have to figure out some way to make money while you stay at home. Being a stay-at-home mother is not easy and requires hard work.


There is this perception, probably created by lazy mothers, of stay-at-home mothers lying on the couch all day, watching soap operas and eating Bon-Bons (these are bite size, chocolate covered ice cream treats.) The true perception looks more like this, poopy diapers to change, spit up to clean up, cooking and cleaning to do, play and reading time, walks and rides with children from the park to the drug store, temper tantrums, interrupted phone calls (due to screaming in the background,) inconsistent or no napping from a child, and a host of other not-so fun stuff. If you are one of the lucky parents that may have time for a nice chocolate covered snack, you most likely have a toddler standing there with his or her hands wide open looking for you to share and God forbid if you don’t! They will object to your response with screaming and rolling on the floor!


A stay-at-home mother’s cries can come at any given moment. She may have had too many nights of interrupted sleep, no breaks from the children, and a selfish spouse, and all of a sudden the floodgates break open! She is screaming at the top of her lungs or staying in a room with the covers pulled over her head. She is thinking, “Not another day of this!” The angry cries from a baby awake the mother out of a deep sleep. Now the baby is crying and she is crying, “Life has got to get better than this!”

What these men and women from the old school don’t understand or may not remember is that being at home with children every day is not always a great experience. It becomes routine, boring and miserable particularly on gray, rainy, cold days. Unlike the childcare provider who works her shift and then she is done with weekends off and personal and vacation time stored up as well, a stay-at-home mother usually has no off days. In addition, many providers don’t have children of their own so when they clock out they are free to do what they want to do.


Stay-at-home mothers have over 12 hours of duties dedicated to their children and if she has an ill or teething child it can be around the clock! One of the biggest insults a man can give a stay-at-home mother is to say something that belittles her role. Comments like, “Why are you so tired? You haven’t done anything all day!” That statement is enough to send any tired, frustrated mother over the edge.


Stay-at-home mothers see more commercials and advertisements for children’s products than their spouses. This is great for the mother who has the money to get whatever she thinks her child needs, but for the mother who doesn’t have much money those advertisements are her worst enemy. She wants to get her children everything she thinks they need and when her partner can’t help her or even worse doesn’t want to help her, he is insulting her and he may not know it. For some diligent, industrious mothers, they won’t take his “no, we can’t buy this…” attitude lightly. They will join Avon, Mary Kay, get a part-time job, or create their own “hustle” to ensure that her shopping list for her children is completed.


Mothers, trying to be good mothers, do cry when they can’t meet their children’s basic needs. The children may want to buy lunch in school, but can’t because it is cheaper for mom to pack it. They may want to live in a house, because they can’t stand sharing a room with three other children. Their children may cry to see grandparents that live too far way and it cost too much to get them there. Some children may want to go to a favorite restaurant, but mom or dad just can’t budget for it. When a wide-eyed, happy child ignorant of life’s struggles, comes to a mother with a simple request that she can’t deliver, it makes a mother cry. For spiritual mothers, they cry out to God, “Help!” For not-so spiritual mothers they cry out to people around them, “D*mn! All I wanted to do was get my kids something and no one bothers to help!”


Stay-at-home mothers look at working mothers and are both jealous and grateful. They are jealous because they know that she can provide for her children without worry, guilt or having to ask her spouse for money, and if the relationship between her and her partner goes sour, she can leave him and still care for the children. Yet, the stay-at-home mother is also grateful because her child is her primary focus not a boss who expects her to give him or her the best moments of her day. She also doesn’t have to worry over someone controlling her coming or going. Stay-at-home mothers should also consider how great of an impact they are sincerely making on their children without relying on others to raise their children for them.


According to the Project on Global Working Families website after conducting research on the working family, the group found that “children whose parents work in the evening are significantly more likely to do poorly in mathematics. For each hour that a parent works between 6 and 9 pm, his or her child is 16% more likely to score in the bottom quartile on math tests. Children whose parents work at night are 2.72 times more likely to be suspended from school than children whose parents do not work at night.” According to the National Institute on Out-of-School-Time, “seven and a half million children in the United States between the ages of 5 and 14-years-old are latch key kids (meaning that they let themselves into their own home while the parent is away working.) Research confirms kids are less likely to get into trouble when a responsible adult is watching them.” The same website reports a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “found that eighth graders who are unsupervised more than 10 hours a week are about 10 percent more likely to try marijuana, and twice as likely to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, as eighth-graders who are unsupervised zero hours per week.”


When stay-at-home mothers have time to think, they can create some of the greatest projects and organizations that impact society, but time to “think” doesn’t come often and time for reading and writing is scarce. For the stay-at-home mother who has a life inside her head, that doesn’t involve children, it’s exceptionally challenging to stay at home and raise a child. She has dreams, plans, and goals. A simple cry from a baby can kill those thoughts at least for that moment and for some mothers forever as mentioned in an earlier chapter. She has to fight for the time to take what is inside her head and do something with it.


For her partner, who may not understand that the stay-at-home mother, like him, has a mind of her own, and it doesn’t include children on a daily basis, he isn’t always respectful. He comes home expecting her to stay in her role as mother and do for the children, while he unwinds, eats his food in peace, and watches the television uninterrupted. For a couple who has no children at home, this is doable, but for the couple who does, he will have to step up to the plate and make some personal sacrifices, such as make time for the children and help out with the chores in the family home. When she notices his lack of respect, when she is working on a project and he disturbs her by not tending to their crying child, and rather turn on the television or the radio when she is in the room seeking some quiet time, it makes her cry out in frustration, “Don’t you see, what I am doing? How would you like for me to show up on your job and drop the children off at your office? Let’s see if you can get your tasks completed?”


All the crying, stay-at-home mother wants is some peace of mind! At one time her partner admired and respected her for the woman she was before she became a mother, but now he is different. For some men, this is too hard for them to accept and so she cries with anger in her voice, “I won’t always be at home and when the time comes I will remember how you treated me
!”

This is an excerpt from the book, When Mothers Cry by Nicholl McGuire only available at Amazon.com or click the book cover located at the top of this page.

Thank you for reading.

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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