A Different Type of Leadership
Many women chose to stay at home and raise their children. Many of these same women give up good paying careers because they want to be home with their children. Some women feel undervalued and isolated, especially if they happen to be with a group of women and men who work outside the home and spend a lot of their time 'talking shop.'
I found myself in groups of people over the years, even within my own home where it seemed talking about work became a habit and I would sit there twiddling my thumbs, or at times, walking out of the room because I felt I had nothing of value to add to their conversations which suddenly seemed so foreign to me. I quit my job when oldest was almost 10 years old, a choice I will never regret.
Staying home with your children is a full-time job. Yes, I know... that's been said many times but it's so true. Many women decide to take on more than they can handle because they feel a sense of guilt for not bringing a paycheck in. My daughter is experiencing this phenomenon right now and I keep reassuring her that you can't put a price on being a full-time mom.
I know of some stay at home moms who expect their husbands to participate in 50% of all chores, which means getting up in the middle of the night, cooking dinner, cleaning up after dinner, doing laundry, getting the kids ready for bed, giving the kids their baths, taking them to Dr. appointments and allowing their wives to leave as soon as the man's work day ends because the mommy needs a break. Kudos to the men who do this but that is not how I chose to run my home. My daughter doesn't run hers like that either. I'm not sure if there is a right or wrong way as long as it works out ok for both parents and the man doesn't get burned out beyond his limits.
Call me old fashioned but I felt it was my job and I took it seriously, to do all the cooking, clean up after dinner, get up with crying or sick children in the middle of the night (except for weekends, I would ask for some help with night time awakenings, running an errand without 2 kids strapped to me...), things I felt were on a smaller scale.
Many women who stay home with their children become the Chef, the ultimate life coach, great debaters, negotiators, learn to function on less than 4 hours of sleep for quite some time, financial planners, taxi cab drivers, volunteers for many events that come up through out the years on behalf of their children or for other causes they involve their children in, party planners, travel agents, and mighty maids! Some of these same women go to bed feeling as though they still aren't contributing enough. I think in part, some women feel guilty because no-one tells them how worthy they are. No one shares with them how appreciated they are.
When my husband came home from work, his day was done. My day was only half over. I couldn't ask him to help me (maybe I should have?), but I felt it was my duty to allow him to unwind and just enjoy the kids because he was the one going out to work each day and bringing home the paycheck. I see my daughter experiencing the same guilty feelings and I keep reminding her that her job is just as important. I also try to remind her that her husband does appreciate all she's doing but he may have a hard time expressing it. I found this to be true after our kids moved out. There is a lot of stress for both parents when you're raising children. Communicating concerns without throwing insults is healthy if you're feeling like a burned out mom who isn't appreciated. Chances are highly likely that you're very appreciated but your husband isn't able to express his mushy feelings.
I also found in hindsight, it was best to have serious chats when we were both calm... it's a tough balancing act at times but not impossible. My husband reminds me a lot NOW that I did a job he could have never done. I wish I would have heard those words a bit earlier but it all worked out the way it was supposed to. I have no regrets and he was left with no regrets. We gave up a second income but for us, it was worth it because my children were raised with the values we as a couple wanted to instill.
It's important to remember that you still need to find some time for yourself. If you don't make time just for you, you'll feel resentful and more isolated. Getting your children involved in activities with other children also allows you to meet other women who may have something in common with you.
Remember, it's not selfish to make time for yourself, we all need and deserve time to unwind and not lose the core of our being.Don't ever underscore the importance of your job. I used to have some women tell me that it must be nice to stay at home with my kids. My answer, "Yes it is but the grass is never greener on the other side." I worked fulltime for almost 10 years prior to staying at home, so I knew the price women pay that have to work or choose to work as well. Without a second income, we didn't have the money to do some of the things I would see other families doing who both brought home a paycheck. We all have choices and we chose the lifestyle we had without regrets.