Friday, May 25, 2012

"I'm Just a Stay at Home Mom"....Losing Your Identity

How many times have I heard myself or someone else say this, almost in a apologetic, embarrassed manner?  I think the reason why SAHM (Stay At Home Moms) feel this way, is that we have seemed to have lost ourselves in the chaotic mess of parenting.  I use to be a cave diver and work in aviation before I became a mother.  Now, I'm "just a mom."  I postulate, this also probably affects working moms as well, however at least they still have their jobs to divide their life up and identity.  Being a parent is all about someone else.  It's all about raising that child and taking care of him or her, making the child (or children) happy, supporting the bread winner of the family, running the household, but what about "mom" (or quite possibly dad)?

As mothers both working and non, we are also lucky to receive almost all the blame and not nearly enough of the much deserved glory for a successful family.  When you give up your job to raise your children, the focus starts to become about the other parent and supporting their needs as well.  I feel so lucky to have had the option to stay at home.  My husband will get last minute calls to do a flight (he's a pilot), that take him away for a week at a time and I handle everything here at home on my own.  Making sure the kids are taken care of, appointments made, the house is maintained, the bills paid, the groceries bought and laundry done, birthday presents and Christmas presents bought and wrapped.  I also plan the birthday parties and celebrations for all the kids.  My husband will come home and all he needs to do is lie down and sleep after work, but usually he doesn't.  When my husband is home, he helps me get that much needed break and usually takes over, unfortunately it only happens for 2 or 3 days and he's gone again.  I really am fortunate to have such a supporting husband, because without him, I too would be lost.  Not all mothers have the support that I do.

I  remember a mother in my "moms group" from a few years ago, who's husband travelled constantly for his job, and the packing up and moving was left all to the wife to take care of.  Not only was she raising the kids mostly alone, but also selling, buying, packing and unpacking all by herself.  All her husband had to do was come home to the new house and dinner was ready and waiting on the table for him.  Do you think he fully appreciated what she did?  Did her friends and family fully realise too?  I only spoke with her a few times, so I don't know the conclusion of her story, but I think back to her often.  I'm sure there are more mothers out there then her that have similar stories to tell.  When promotions are achieved at work, all the congratulations and "good job, lets go out and celebrate" are directed to the husband.  What about the other person who in situations similar, did a lot of the real hard work to make the promotion happen as well?  What would our husbands do without our support?  Probably fall flat on their face and then direct all the praise at us when they fully realise what we actually do when they are away (LOL).  In my case my husband does know the hard work I put into our family, so we work well as a team, but like I mentioned before, not everyone is as lucky as me and my heart goes out to them.

This blog isn't suppose to come across as a man bashing session.  I fully appreciate what my husbands does for our family and I tell him this almost daily (yes daily).  Things have not always been this way in our family, and they certainly won't stay this way, but with my husbands recent promotion and schedule, it is the way it is now.  I just want to make people think about the other person in the equation too, who is almost always forgotten.  I think it's important for all mothers either working or not, to continue to do something in your life that is just for yourself.  Something you have, that gives you pride and defines you in a separate way, other then being a mother.  For myself, since the kids are so young, I have my writing and hiking.  When the kids get a little older, I would like to take up scuba diving again, although I don't think you'll catch me in a cave again...What was I thinking??? (yes that is me in those pictures).  I eventually will go back to work, our kids will grow up and my identity restored, but for now this is how I celebrate myself for being ME not "just a mom".

1 comment:

  1. It probably comes across as a little depressing since I have had a hard week. As a friend pointed out, I'm a dedicated parent and loving mom and that certainly is an identity I can be proud of!!! Sorry for not mentioning that part...sometimes I loose sight of the big picture.