I have 3 kids of varying ages, and am a work at home mom. I work from home as a freelance writer, in between changing diapers, slicing apples, and rescuing various household objects from destruction at the hands of my adorably curious littles. I am not the type who was “born to be a mother”, in fact I find that I more often than not feel completely out of my depth when it comes to parenting. Working is a no-brainer for me as I need something outside the realm of children to make me feel normal. That being said, I can’t help but feel like life may have been better when being a stay-at-home mom was expected.
Now, before you get your pitchforks ready—hear me out. In the days when being a SAHM was expected, there was a clear division of the realm of responsibility. As a SAHM your job was your home- parenting, keeping house, preparing meals and all those other things that ensure that the home and family is running smoothly. Although in my own perspective this sounds mind-numbingly dull, I can't help but think that this very clear division of duties sounds like a more efficient and less stressful way to operate than some of the alternatives we see today.
The financial pressures of the times make it so that it is very difficult to survive as a one-income family. Add on top of this the cost of daycare, and you end up with a scenario where many women end up having the responsibility of stay at home motherhood, plus needing to work outside (or inside) the home as well. I know in my own personal experience, this often leads to me doing it all- albeit poorly. Perhaps I’m out of the norm, but I have an immense amount of difficulty taking care of the kids, the home, and my own responsibilities as a worker. I feel immense pressure and stress, and often feel like I am doing everything a little bit wrong.
I feel like I am never there enough for my kids, and that I am never working enough to be successful. I'm constantly feeling like I'm in a stage of divided attention, doing everything halfheartedly and feeling the penultimate pressure from each. Although I feel grateful for the choice to work as well as parent my children, financial pressures make it so that it is less of a choice then it is an expectation to try and do both. I’m glad that my role as a woman can include life outside of mothering, and that society’s expectation of women has expanded so that we aren’t just expected to just be Stepford Moms, however, I can’t help but feel like life would be a bit easier if the home was my singular domain of responsibility.
Just as most things, I guess that it’s relative. I am grateful for my life and for the opportunities I have- while at the same time feeling sometimes overwhelmed with trying to do multiple things, without dropping the ball.