A welcome to Heather Judd, a mum to be.
The Best Mother is Who You Are: A Voyage of Self Discovery
As a soon to be first time mother with a desire to stay at home, I have researched the opinions of experienced mothers- both working and stay at home and feel I have something to share from what they say and also from my own experience as a child growing up with a stay at home mother.
I would just like to begin by sharing my gratitude and how delighted I am to be writing on behalf of Mothers at Home Matter about this special subject so close to my heart. It finally feels like these past few years of blogging have paid off, from when I didn’t really have a niche and just wrote about “life” in general, to when I became pregnant and this reality of being a stay at home mother dawned on me and that it is in fact who I am…
“Stay at Home Mothers VS Working Mothers” or “Which is Better“: these are always the headlines be it Youtube, news articles, other articles, TV or online interviews, there is always this headline: Where ever I looked within the mainstream media, the subject nearly always targets mothers and pitches mothers against each other. Are we being manipulated and failing to see who the real enemy is here?
Usually, hidden deep within these interviews, one side will eventually admit something like: “Well it is about what the mother chooses to do.” The main word here being, “chooses” – it is about choice. Having choice gives us empowerment, whereas feeling pressured into a more socially acceptable lifestyle takes away our individuality, our happiness and our spirit.
So, are the mothers who choose a different way of running their family unit within their own home really the ones we need to fight?
I believe it is not but by writing about it, I just hope to open a few more eyes to this underlying message and help put a stop to this ridiculous Mother Vs Mother fiasco. You will be the best mother in the world if you have the empowerment to make the right choice for you and your own family with the freedom to actually be yourself. I feel like I would fail to be the mother I aspire to be if I was forced into work because that’s not who I want to be- I have spent almost a decade trying to find a career “that is me” and each attempt has resulted in failure, abandonment or no further action. What I did find, recently was that I do want to work from home through self-employment and this is mainly because I can actually earn while still being at home, working around my family. For working Mums, you may feel that you are able to express who you are at work, be a good provider and successful at your job, therefore, you only feel complete when you can do this and also come home to spend quality time with your children.
I may not be a mother quite yet, but I have felt all the benefits (and still do!) of being the child of a stay at home mother. My Mam stayed at home for me right up until I was in high school. She now runs her own crafts business with the keen assistance of my Dad and she is very successful at what she does. My point being, I aspire to be the mother that she is. It will not be too late after those years of early motherhood to have a career and fulfil your dreams- if you are the kind of person who works best by putting 100% into one major task at a time. I am an all or nothing kind of girl and if I need to commit to something important, then I need to be there 100% and not have all kinds of other things going on in the background- I know because I’ve tried
that… With something as important as raising a vulnerable little human, I want to take full responsibility; therefore, I can’t submit to an employer’s contract to be here or there at specific times because children are unpredictable and I can’t promise that my job will come first- ever.
When I was at school and had to be sent home sick, it really comforted my anxieties just knowing that my Mam was always there to bring me home. Most of the time, I just needed her company (and perhaps her cooking) to recover from sickness. I spent my sickly days on the couch watching videos and perhaps play games she had invented. My friends all loved coming to my house for tea because she had time to prepare our entertainment like treasure hunts and homemade McDonald’s Happy Meals! She made it to all of my school performances, took all the home videos, cooked delicious homemade meals- she was just there.
I was not the stereotypical “spoilt” only child. My parents taught me to be independent, responsible, respectful of my own and other’s toys and most importantly, to grow up with a loving respect towards both of them and the roles they played in my amazing childhood. I can’t help feel that it would all be different, had my Mam gone to work on those days I needed her to pick me up from school when I was sick, when my friends came over for tea, when my school plays were during the day and if she wasn’t there to capture so much of my magical early days on home video… I’m not saying it would have been a whole lot worse- I just wouldn’t change it for the world or desire anything other for my own son when he arrives.
I do appreciate that my own background is not the life that all of us grew up with and not the lifestyle that particularly works for everyone. It all depends on your beliefs and this, in turn, comes with individuality- whether the government like it or not, this is something all of us develop as we grow, meaning we will make choices based on our own beliefs and how strongly we intend to pursue our dreams- making them the reality.
One of the main reasons I will choose to stay at home is something my own mother and I have in common at the time of starting a family- no commitment to a career. This is, I understand, the reason many working Mums go back to work- they do have an establishment in some sort of career that they enjoy or gain something valuable from which they can contribute to their family. I, on the other hand, have been through hell and high water to pursue this “dream career” I was told I would have. There was no stand for House Wives or Mothers At Home at the career fairs. I could write a whole other post on how, after years of college, home study, adult education classes, home study classes, university, apprenticeships and meaningless job after meaningless job that eventually I came to realise that actually, it was the House Wife/ Stay at Home Mother stand I would have been happy taking a look at.
Of course, I appreciate you are relying on being in a committed, healthy relationship with someone who desires the same lifestyle to pursue this, and at 16 I probably wouldn’t have chosen this right away, however it would have been nice knowing I could just work a job to get by until I met someone I was happy to settle down with and eventually come to that decision when the time was right. Instead, I felt that I needed a high salary career to get anything in life- even my own family.
I am now at the stage where, I want a family as I am with the right man, I got married and I thought “to hell with the career”. So I quit studies (for now) and just struggle to get by on a part-time job (very soon to be Statutory Maternity Pay) while my husband works a minimum wage day job as he strives to do his own thing in his spare time so he can eventually work his own hours.
Many mothers want to be stay at home mothers but can’t because they need to make an income to survive. Technically, I should belong to this group as our income isn’t particularly shiny, but I feel that there has to be something I can do, myself, to ensure that I am at home for my son. I understand Mothers At Home Matter are doing all they can as a campaign, to ensure we all have a fair choice- but what can I do to ensure my dreams are a reality and that my empowerment isn’t taken away in the form of a day job that I don’t really want to be at?
The answer: I honestly am not sure right now, but I do know for sure that I have the intent to turn this fear into fuel in order to find it! There are many things I know we will have a shot at: cutting down on outgoings, cash budgets, look into any financial support we can get, selling stuff, making use of deals & vouchers and finally, when I feel ready, completing my Life Coaching training so I can work online as a Coach in my own time. Then I can contribute to the household income without disturbing my motherhood role-thus removing the fear of finance challenges.
Only speaking to the aspiring stay at home mothers, now, I’m sure there are many other fears of being a stay at home mother which I can talk about in more detail another time; but for me, finance is definitely the only challenge which stands out to me right now and I must do as I’ve learned from traditional martial arts training: to use the enemy’s strength against him. The government put us in fear by taking away our choice to be at home by making it almost financially impossible. Unfortunately we do need money to live, so, I feel it is worth trying everything possible, even if it means making a few luxurious financial sacrifices before doing the mainstream method of sending children to day care and getting a meaningless job.
If there is anything I’ve learned from my struggle to find who I am when I thought I was searching for a “dream career”, I can only express from what I’ve learned through personal development via Counselling courses and Life Coaching- it is to never let anyone take your independence and be who you aspire to be and the best will come out of you. A good mother is the mother who has or creates the facilities to be herself in that role, complete with her own empowerment. To all aspiring stay at home mothers, from a happy child- it will be worth the fight to be the mother you want to be.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you have found it particularly insightful or inspirational and I very much look forward to writing more on this subject for MAHM.