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To be or not to be a stay-at-home mom
March 21, 2018 | 2:12 PM
by Farzeen Ashik
A mother can make sure that her child gets the stimulation and affection she needs to grow and thrive.
 
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Stay-at-home moms are rare species who are gradually becoming extinct. Look around and you will see that women now make up a good chunk of the workforce and their number is only going up. In fact, women now make up 30 per cent of the workforce and even serve in ministerial positions in Oman.

The number of college graduates who are women is almost 60 per cent and this means that the breed of working moms is on the rise. But, with the changes in the country’s labour laws, for many expat women, being stay-at-home mothers is the only option available. There was a time when I belonged to this group and I miss those special moments now, when I have to rush between work, school, and home.

Two ground-breaking studies conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute of Child Development of the University of Minnesota have revealed that children who spent their day in day-care had higher levels of stress and more aggression than children cared for at home. The follow-up research in 2010 confirmed these results, showing the continued negative impact of low quality day-care on young children even after they reached adolescence.Some other studies, however, contradict these findings and most experts believe that quality, and not the type of childcare, is what’s most important. A great nanny, babysitter, day-care centre worker, relative, or other caregiver can make sure that your child gets the stimulation and affection she needs to grow and thrive.

Here’s what I loved about being a stay-at-home mother:



My time was my own

Nobody could lay any claims on it. No bosses to be afraid of, no meetings to attend, and I could read a book while sipping on a burnt caramel latte any time I wanted. I could attend all the parents’ evenings, go to school musicals, and take the children for play dates. There was plenty of time to catch up with my spouse and I was all ears when he spoke about work.

Fulfilling days

Family was always the priority. I went to bed at night knowing that I spent my day taking care of my husband and children and that absolutely no one could point fingers at me and say I wasn’t doing enough.

Time for myself

I had time for everything, not just for the family but also for myself. I could catch a movie or have a chat with my friends or make it to my Zumba classes without a break. I could organise parties and coffee mornings. I wasn’t stressed or rushed at any point of time.

100% focus

When I had the children at home, I didn’t have to multi-task. I could focus totally on helping them with their homework or guide them with their reading. I didn’t have to peek at my E-mail or WhatsApp in between, because nobody was going to die on my watch any way.

Freedom

There was a certain kind of freedom that only stay-at-home mothers have. It could mean something as simple as doing your grocery shopping on Sunday mornings, when there was no crowd. I could take the children to the soft play area any day of the week or do anything I fancied.

And now, the other side of the coin

People dismiss you immediately

The sad part is that you get judged from the moment you say hello. I noticed that the first thing people asked was: “So, what do you do?” And when the answer was “I’m not working”, the light in their eyes went out and their eyes would glaze over. Though taking care of a family is a noble profession, but no one seems to recognise or appreciate it.

Silly remarks

You hear comments such as, “Oh! So, what do you do with all your time?” or “I bet you just sit around all day feeling bored”. Sounds juvenile, right? But these are the remarks I’ve often heard from women (and even men).

Fake sympathy

To make things worse, there are a few high-flyers, who will say things like, “Oh! But you are just wasting your life!” or “How do you sleep at night knowing you’ve done nothing productive all day?” Have I set your blood boiling now?

Loneliness

Let’s be honest here. It does get a bit lonely sometimes and you thirst for some adult company. Whatever said and done, at the office, you get to talk and interact with adults. Spending too many hours with children could have you tearing your hair out.

Worrying about your career

If you’ve just taken a break in your career for a few years of child rearing, then you will probably freak out every now and then, imagining that empty space in your resume. And you will keep fretting about whether you will ever get back into the workforce, and if you do, then whether you will fit in again. Believe me, it’s just a matter of getting used to things, both ways.

Children need to socialise

Just because you have decided to stay at home doesn’t mean your child needs to keep you company. Children need a certain amount of stimulation and there’s only so much you can provide. Spending a few hours apart will do you both good.

So don’t be so quick to dismiss the benefits of being a stay-at-home mother. She is a working mom too. Being a mother is a full-time job.

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