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The stay at home conundrum..

The stay at home conundrum..
March 10
04:04 2016

Not so long ago, I was a working mom. A snooty working mom. I’d meet stay-at-home mothers and tut-tut them in my mind ( sometimes out loud) and wonder what these women actually DID all day. I’d then wear a look that said ‘I really am frightfully sorry that you don’t have a job or a life (both of which, by the way, I firmly possess thereby instantly making me far superior to you), but till you do, chin up and bake those oatmeal cookies girl! Ah but then life kicked me in the behind and drove my snootiness firmly to the ground. When my second child was born, I became a stay-at-home mom myself. A full-time, round the clock, no escaping it, sole caregiving kind of mom. It was then, THEN, that I fully comprehended what all those women actually did. And then some. For those of you who are yet to experience this phenomenon or never will let me explain. Being a stay-at-home parent means exactly that. You are at home with your child for the greater part of the day ( hopefully NOT locked in the basement somewhere ). You have a new boss now, one that’s more demanding, less forgiving and commands your undivided attention regardless of whether you need to sleep, eat, wee, or have a temperature of a 104. This tyranny can have one or many of the following consequences:

 

  • You experience every emotion in the book, sometimes within a span of a few minutes which then results in you questioning your very sanity and whether you’re really suited for this whole parenting thing.
  • You end up a flabby, hirsute, unibrowed mess because let’s face it, when do you have a moment to breathe, you’d rather choose the warm confines of your couch over the gym and the TV remote over a pair of tweezers.
  • You become a social misfit because you know nothing about currents events and you’ve forgotten how to converse without punctuating your sentences with gobbledygook.

‘Bah’ I hear some of you say, ‘what’s with all this new found stay-at-home malarkey?’ ‘Back in my day’ others will add, ‘I raised six children, three cows, ten chicken and a goose without so much as a whimper.’ To these women I will say ‘ I applaud you. I salute your tenacity and your ability to always mother with a smile. I, sadly, am of a different calibre.

I belong to that group ( and I find solace knowing that there are others like me) that are at times, overwhelmed by caring for a young child and then promptly are overwhelmed for being overwhelmed in the first place! Because surely, not being able to keep it together is a monumental mothering fail? And so, there I was. Grumpier and grouchier than ever before. I didn’t want to be known as a stay at home mom. I longed to get up, get dressed and head out the door ( to work mind you, NOT the Bahamas (i’m keeping it real people)), to gossip during coffee breaks, to HAVE coffee breaks, to have purpose. I was consumed by the desire to be somewhere else, and held firm the belief that my true calling lay outside my home. And so I turned into an insufferable bore. I yelled at the husband, the dog, the milk man, anyone and everyone that I could unleash my unwarranted wrath upon. This carried on until the time I noticed a gradual change in my children. They began to mirror my aggression.

My pent up frustration reflected in almost everything I did and my babies, not knowing any better, turned into raging, ranting mini-mes. That got my attention. I did not want negativity around my children, least of all from me. So after a lot of introspection, yoga (some) and the occasional mood-elevator, I made some changes. And life became picture perfect. Yes? No. I still have days when I turn into the Predator but things have certainly improved. So all you stay-at-home mamas, this is what I did different:

  1. Look at your children: No seriously, stop whatever you’re doing and take a good long look. Look at their tiny faces, their chubby fingers, their wispy hair and become aware of how very fortunate you are. Talk to your self, out loud if you need to and acknowledge the fact that there are thousands of couples out there that yearn to have to babies but remain childless. When your toddler insists that you blow bubbles out of thin air while dinner’s burning on the hob, this works a charm to give you perspective.
  2. Cherish the love: The love your children give you will most likely be the most wholesome and genuine that you will ever experience. Enjoy it. Wrap it tight around yourself and bask in it’s deliciousness and tell yourself that your terrible toddler will soon morph into a terrible teen who will look and sound like something out of the Grudge and will hand out that love in small measure.
  3. Take care of yourselves: You need plenty of energy to keep up with your critters. I would often get so caught up with things on the home front, that I would either skip a meal or I end up eating crackers out of a box. This would then unleash the beast in me. So I started to eat proper food -on time, made sure I drank plenty of fluids ( water, NOT beer ) and it made a world of difference.
  4. DO NOT compare: Ok so we all do it. We get online, see pictures of all these fabulous people with fabulous lives, who visit exotic places and win prizes and become Presidents and it makes us feel like moldy cheese. Don’t do it! There will always be someone better than you, prettier than you, smarter than you. Face it, deal with it and learn to be happy with what you have.
  5. Reach for that mascara: It’s amazing what a little bit of eye liner can do to uplift your mood ( well it does mine, call me flimsy if you must ). So even if it’s just the school run, change out of those pyjamas, brush back that hair and slap on some slap.
  6. Set goals: In a conventional nine-to-five job we’re all given tasks to complete, goals to achieve. Stay-at-home mums, do the same! It doesn’t need to be massive or life changing, it just needs to be a step towards doing something constructive. I try cooking a new dish, teaching my son the alphabet, teaching the husband to put trash INSIDE the bin, painting a picture with my baby girl. It feels good, trust me.
  7. Have some me-time: Ok, so this one’s a no brainer. Having some time to yourself when you don’t have to think about nappies, dinner, homework, or whats rotting at the back of your fridge is cathartic. Just an hour a day to yourself can work wonders.

Yep, so watch this space for more ways to be a stay-at-home momma and NOT go bat-s&*t crazy. Love and peace people xx

 

_ Contributed by Dhivia Vinodkumar

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