You know what? This post has been in the draft section for a long time. I’m thankful that I didn’t publish it earlier because if I had done so then, that post would be filled with bitterness, frustration and much tears. I’m a much calmer person now and happier, no doubt. I guess I can finally say that I have embraced being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM); I even introduced myself as that to a stranger recently. 😉
To tell you the truth, I have never thought of being a SAHM. It’s never an idea that I toy with. After Faith was born, I struggled with staying home the whole time with a baby. Faith wasn’t a fussy infant but I just couldn’t stay in one place for too long. However, I did make a decision to be one in the end. There were a few events and considerations that led to this decision:
(1) Both K and I felt that taking care of our kid is our responsibility and it is not right to leave this task to others. This led me to negotiate a part-time work scheme with my boss. I was hoping to work in the morning and then come home in the afternoon onwards to take care of Faith. However…
(2) The part-time work scheme couldn’t work out since I was holding some responsibilities at work and would inevitably need to attend certain meetings. After working out the hours and be realistic about it, I probably would be having a full-time workload and getting a part-time work scheme’s salary. The working hours would still be from 7.20am to 1.40pm, without meetings. This won’t work out. Yes, I’m an educator.
(3) I love my job. I believe it’s my calling. From past experience, I could immerse myself in my work, working from 7am till 11pm. With a kid to take care of, I know I can’t do that. Both would need my attention. Something has to give. So, I reckon that my calling, in this season of my life, is to take care of Faith.
(4) This calling was confirmed during a Bible Study session. I believe God has spoken then – very clearly – about this issue. All I need to do is to trust and obey. Submission to the One who holds the future is the only thing I can do. If you want to find out more, do tell me!
(5) The following incident also prompted me to make the decision to be a SAHM. I was back at work after my No-Pay-Leave so I left Faith with my mom in the morning. When I went back home in the afternoon, she raised the white flag and commented that she couldn’t handle. Basically, she couldn’t stand being with Faith the whole time and she actually looked more tired than before, just in that few hours. That basically sealed my decision. I couldn’t leave Faith to my FIL as he is rather well-advanced in age and might not have the energy to take care of her. Putting Faith with a nanny or infant care or even hiring a helper is not an option for us. So, yes, being a SAHM is the way to go, for now.
Being a SAHM proved to be difficult and I experienced a steep learning curve. Ask my husband, I was most unhappy when I became one and it did cause a strain on our relationship. Faith was a great baby, easy to care for, but I guess I was just adapting to the change in lifestyle and the 24/7 parenting duty. Ken was most understanding and would accommodate me, giving all the assistance I need.
Thankfully as Faith grows, things get a tad easier. I got the hang of being a SAHM and more importantly, I have the support of my family members. My father would not hesitate to take care of Faith when I ask for help. In fact, he’s delighted to be able to do so. Mom said Faith has brought him much cheer. My in-laws would also come and spend time with Faith every week, giving Ken and me some time to ourselves.
Things are certainly getting better. We are a single-income family so we have to be prudent in terms of handling our finances. No grand overseas holidays but staycation and Malaysia are not too bad either. Once in a while, the hubs will still pamper me and give me the green light to do some shopping. Oh, in fact, he has never interfered. But well, I guess, with this SAHM status comes with some restraint in terms of spending. Yup, I’m proud to say that I’m a bit wiser now in terms of spending habits. And I’m thankful that we can still be generous towards others even with less disposable income. After all, it is more blessed to give than to receive!
Whether we are a SAHM, PTWM, FTWM or whatever titles out there, I believe we have calculated the cost, both tangible and intangible, in making this choice. Being a parent is a tough job but it is certainly a gift and a privilege and I’m still learning to give my best to God in this area.