I have been a SAHM for 6 years now. As i said earlier, i don't quite understand why they say SAHM is very hard. I think being a FTWM is more challenging & that's why all FTWMs have my utmost respect! I don't think i'll be capable of waking up early in the morning, dealing with the expectations at work only to come home to manage more demands albiet domestic. I am not one who can handle stress and to juggle too many things is a sure way to make me snap. That's why i think FTWM are very capable lot of mummies!
Nevertheless, i think all moms have the right to decide if they want to work or stay home. No one, not even fellow moms, can tell us if we should be at home or remain in the corporate world. I personally think moms must be happy and feel fulfilled first, otherwise if mom is unhappy, so will everyone in the household. Everyone has their own reasons why they choose to be FTWM or SAHM, i am no exception. Here are some of my reasons:
1) There was no ideal candidate to take care of my son.
Personally, infant care is a huge no-no for me. I didn't like the idea that my infant would not have one on one attention from the caregiver. I also didn't like having a nanny to take care because first, i didn't have a good contact, i didn't think a stranger could love my son as much as i did. My parents and in-laws were not an option either.
Instinctively, i knew the best person to care for son was, me. No other.
2) Financially sound
I did a quick check and was happy that we could live comfortably with one income. I took that it as a sign that SAHM was the way to go. Besides, i believe money can always be earned back. But once you miss the child's childhood, it will be gone forever. No amount of work will ever earn you back their early years. I do not to live it up. I am willing to give up luxurious lifestyle just for my kids. I think kids who has SAHM are more like the privilege even though some may have to go for less holidays, make do with lesser toys etc.
3) I had my own plans
I knew exactly how i wanted to raise my son and what kind of environment i want him to grow up in. For instance, the television must never be switched on if the child is awake. As i said, i knew if someone else was to care for my son, i could not expect her to follow through my expectations & demands 100%. I know most nannies would readily have their TV sets on & since it's their house, i have no right to tell them to do otherwise.
4) My own experience with a FTWM
My own mom was a full fledged working mom. Because of her work, my sister & i were left to a nanny and later my grandma's on the weekdays. We only went home during the weekends. I remember she was like my only fortress for sense of security.
However, since she wasn't by my side most of the time, i felt very insecure and lost throughout my childhood. At my nanny's, i knew it wasn't my home so i needed to be at my best behaviour. My nanny wasn't the most gentle of women either. It also didn't helped that i knew my grandma favoured my sister over me. So I grew up being a timid, inferior and low self esteem little girl. Looking back, i am certain things would have been different if my mom was home with me more.
Naturally, i didn't want my kids to grow up feeling the same way as i did. I believe children feels the most secure and safe when they are home with their parents. I remember i yearn for the weekends and oh how delighted & at ease i was to be at my own home but near to depression on Sunday evenings! So, i wanted my son to grow up in a place where he feels secure & where he can come home after school knowing his mom is home to welcome him back with open arms.
Now, i am not saying all kids who grow up under the grandparents, nanny or childcare would definitely feel insecure. I am just saying, the home is one of the natural & sure place to provide a sense of comfort & security to a child. I am sure there are many successful stories of kids who were taken care by other caregivers. I was just the unfortunate few. :( Likewise, i doubt all kids who are taken care by their moms grow up secure, it all depends on the caregiver. To be honest, from time to time i do wonder if my staying home benefit my kids or not (given that i am constantly nagging and scolding). Still, i believe in general, moms are the most nurturing lot and best candidate to care for their own kids. There's simply no other love like a mother's.
Drawing this to our government call for more SAHM to join the workforce- all for the economy's sake? Well, i would NEVER trade nor risk my child's self esteem just for a bullish economy. So if our economy is bustling with dollar signs but filled with unhappy, low self worth citizens? What good is that? (Of course, i am not implying that FTWM kids are low self esteem kids- don't wrongly quote me, okay?)
As a mom, my children's emotional well being comes above anything & everything else. As long as i am able to stay home with and for my kids to give them a stable safe haven & save them from all the shuttling from house to house, i will do it. No amount of carrot dangling will make me exchange my role as a SAHM for any job, thank you very much.
To wrap this up, i leave you this quote from Playful Parents
"Because I believe there is so much misunderstanding about what moms who stay home really do. Because I believe that we CANNOT qualify the importance and worth of every endeavor using money. Because I believe being a mother is MORE than just providing for our children’s physical and intellectual well-being. Because I believe that when our economy and society learns to respect and value the place of family, the quality of work and life will improve immeasurably."