When I have decided to give up my corporate hat and be a stay home mum, I have become a subject of envy by colleagues and friends. I will be lying if I say I do not know where that was coming from. After all, unlike them, I will be spared of the daily office grind. Instead, I will have nothing to do but take care of my growing kids and best of all, I can get away with the job in my pajamas. Piece of cake! You think.
Being a stay home mum is not a vacation. It requires one to make rational decisions everyday pretty much like what my former job required. The difference is, at home, the stakes are higher. In the office, if you get it right, you might get a pay hike or a promotion. At home, when you get it right, the price you get hugs and kisses! Beat that.
Your promotion could be on the line if you make a wrong call but on the other hand, making wrong decisions at home can prove more costly for it will always be at the expense of your own child.
The simplest things can go wrong at home.
1. We tell our kids to always tell the truth. But what about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, Mum and Dad? Uh-oh. What excuse do we have for that?
2. We tell our kids they are not babies anymore. Pack away now, you’re big girls and you can do that on your own. We push them to be independent but we quickly hold them back when they start asserting. When they offer to help cook in the kitchen, we decline. “You might cut yourself… you might burn yourself…” When they dash out of the house to ride their trike or the scooter, you command them to go back and wait for the yaya. When you do not like the clothes they picked to wear to the mall, we force them to wear an outfit you think looks way cuter.
3. We encourage our kids to express themselves. We tell them that crying is only for babies because they cannot talk. So we ask our kids to speak up. But when they start doing so, for instance saying “no” to our demands and engaging us in debates, we tell them we know better, if not best. Oh dear… what are we doing?
4. We tell our kids not to throw a tantrum if they do not get what they want. We always tell them to be patient and understanding. But sometimes when kids gets extremely stubborn we are the first ones to blow out (*hands raising – guilty). We can always say sorry for blowing up. And kids will understand. It is very humbling to see them minutes after like nothing happened. But we know that we cannot do enough to undo what we have done. And it breaks us. Control your temper. Don’t let it control you.
Like sponges kids absorb everything they see. From the manner we speak, the things we do, our values. Motherhood demands us to be good role models. I try to. And I am sure most of the mothers do too.
So to my former colleagues, I say: No, I am not on vacation. But you have every right to envy me. I have landed a better job as a stay home mum. The job description may be endless. The risks may be high. But the remuneration is priceless.
The best part is I can do it in my pajamas.