By SUZANNE JANNESE .
I’m a stay-at-home mum, and I need to vent. OK?
Recently an article was published entitled Dear Stay At Home Mums, Shut The Eff Up! Well, guess what? I’m a stay-at-homer, and I CAN’T shut the eff up.
For the most part, I agree with the aforementioned article. All the moaning about school runs and sniping about swim lessons and how stressful it is getting the kids into decent schools also makes me want to run for the hills.
Because what is there to moan about? Stay-at-home mums (SAHMs for short) made the choice to raise their kids, so why complain about it all the time? As the article says: If you don’t like it, get off your sweatpant-ed a*s and get yourself a job.
But that’s where I take issue with that argument. Because DEAR GOD I WOULD LOVE TO GET A JOB. And I had one. For 5 years, I tried to be the world’s best life juggler holding down a full-time job on one of England’s most famous soap operas while raising two kids.
Every day, I’d dash to drop my kids off at daycare, drive to work, pick them up from daycare on the way home, and fly through bathtime and homework and bedtime all before settling down to read 8 scripts before midnight. Yeah. For this PLEASURE, I spent over two thirds of my salary on childcare. Eventually, however, I did the math. One frazzled mother with no time for herself multiplied by gas costs and childcare fees minus any sense of greatness at either job (motherhood and my paying job) equals a marriage on the rocks and a woman on the verge of an alcohol addiction.
Something had to give. So I gave up my job. Not because I wanted to, but because I HAD TO for the sake of my family and my husband. And most importantly? My sanity. Then—without the pressure of a job—I could be there to make sure my son was able to attend all the after-school activities he so desperately wanted to attend, let my 3 year old daughter attend pre-school, and still have plenty of energy left for homework and play dates.
Now? I wake up everyday, paint on my ‘happy face’ and try not to cry into my coffee. I know I should feel blessed that I get to witness my daughter show how well she wiped post poo. I know I should cherish being able to spend 20 minutes on a thorough lice check or keep smiling when I’ve spent an hour making Pad Thai only to have my kids spit it out and request chips for dinner instead. But I don’t.
In all honesty, I feel pretty lost and achingly lonely. Being surrounded by small people all day makes me miss interactions with people my age who have similar interests. Small talk at the school gates isn’t the same as storylining a major episode or debating the merits of the writers on the latest box set everyone’s watching. It just isn’t.