Wednesday, 29 July 2015
The sacrafice of the stay at home mom
Sometimes parenting is nothing more than your heart breaking for your child. I knew when I became a mother that it meant giving up things for my children, but I never considered she in turn, would have to give things up for me. Being a stay at home mom has been an unexpected blessing for our family. We hadn’t exactly planned for me to stay home full-time, but three kids in four years made the thought of full-time work the wrong choice for our family. I think a lot has been said about the sacrifices of the working parent, but not so much about those who stay at home. When I made the decision not to return to my full-time position I left behind more than just my job. Case in point my Monday morning this past week. As I was picking up my oldest from junior kindergarten her two best friends began to excitedly discuss their first day of soccer that evening. A sport my daughter very much wanted to join too, until the $300 fee to sign her and her sister up became too much for our single income family. How do you explain to a four year old that soccer is too expensive for our family this year? Or that we will likely not be able to afford to put her in competitive dance? It’s heartbreaking. It sucks. But it’s our reality. The truth is that this is just one of the many sacrifices of the single income family. In our current economy having a parent stay home is a luxury many can’t afford, or like my family we struggle to afford. But the loss of income is only one part of the true sacrifice of the stay at home mom. The biggest thing we lose is, at least in my case, any hope of being ‘the hip, cool mom.’ I retired any sense of ‘style’ for secondhand threads and mom jeans. My hair went from a sense of vanity to a rotation of the ‘mom bun’ and three inch roots cause I have to save up for the hairdresser that dyes my hair in her kitchen. You lose the fun adult time. Instead of the office gossip around the water cooler, I am bitching about how Emma refuses to sleep in her new bed at playgroup. My employed friends can afford to run Mud Hero and I am fortunate to get a last minute spot in a free yoga class at the community center. Not that these sacrifices don’t come for a wonderful reason. I get to walk my daughter to school every day and meet her there (often late) in the afternoon. My middle daughter, who to be honest, I don’t trust many people to handle her often difficult behavior, told me today that I am her ‘best friend’, and my youngest lost her mind with joy as we rode the zoomobile for the millionth time on a Tuesday morning because Saturdays are just too busy. Stay at home parents’ days aren’t often pretty. They are filled with dishes and laundry and showers don’t always happen. Sometimes I have to have difficult talks with my daughters because I want to give them the world but can’t. All I can offer them is the promise that whatever we have to give up, we are giving up so we can be together. I couldn’t pull off the hip mom look anyway. I look way too good in mom jeans.