So…. SAHM. Is it a job? Isn’t it?
I have always prided myself on my service to others & my job. Yes I said it, my job. Not that my resumé is littered with achievement awards (aside from some pretty cool volunteer certificates) or a super intense job such as that of a heart surgeon. Nope. I am mediocre at best if those are the standards of which I am being judged. In fact, I am still struggling to finish my degrees (yes, plural). I still have no real idea as to what I will do with those degrees whenever the hell I finish them. I do have a dream though. A big one. One that gets me all worked up when explaining it. One that brings tears to my eyes whenever I imagine it. But as with most women I have had the pleasure of meeting, life got in the way of my dreams. Now, I type that last statement with extreme caution and that is because I do not want anyone to get the wrong impression. First, I take full responsibility for my actions. Let me say that twice to make sure my sediments are received, I, nearlyinspired, take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for my actions. Secondly, under no circumstances do I regret how my life turned out. Now considering the shit I have put up with, been through, and fought my way out of, that is a powerful statement to make. To save you some time, I will skip to the exciting stuff. There I was a young mother of 2 working at my overnight job, staring at the most gorgeous man I have ever seen in a military uniform, who could have honestly cared less that I was in the room LOL Fast forward through shameless flirting, courting, long separations cusped with emails professing our love, trips up and down the east coast to meet him at different ports, and a justice-of-peace wedding, here we are! A ready-made family of 4 living in the smallest town known to man (not really but I am really good at being melodramatic). Naturally, with our income cut in half due to our relocation, staying at home was the only practical option. And I understood that it would be a while before I could work again, can’t say that I was happy about it, but I accepted it nonetheless. Going from being a single mom who struggled but managed (with the help of my AH-MAZING family) to feed her kids, to a mom who wasn’t able to make her own money was hard. Something about having that option taken from me, dehumanized me in a way. I know that may be tough for my husband to hear but it is the truth, at least in my case. My life now revolved around laundry and nap schedules. I literally would count down the minutes until my husband came home just to have some adult conversation. And when he was underway, I was miserable. Not just because I missed him but because I was left to converse with 2 kids under the age of 4 and a dog. It was such a social shock. Back home, I was the life of the party. At one point I had over 1,000 Facebook friends that I actually knew & chatted with either in person or online regularly. So naturally my next thought was….. I have to find friends! That was no easy task living this lifestyle. I would find a great group of girlfriends (most of which were also SAHMs) and slowly each would move away. I have a few that I am still super close with and we lived hundreds and hundreds of miles away from each other, but most fizzled out once they began their new journey at their new homeport. Its natural, no hard feelings. But that would always bring me right back to where I started. And honestly, even though we have been here almost 2 years (and I have found a few good friends), most days are still pretty quiet.
So to maintain my sanity I devised a list of rules that I think all SAHMs would appreciate and should live by….
1. This is like a job, but it’s not a job. We DO NOT get a paychecks, NO vacation time, and NO recognition for a job well done. That’s the gig, and we deal with it the best we can. But if anyone feels the need to ask “what do you do all day?” or argue that “being a SAHM isn’t a real job” we WILL cause havoc. Lots and lots of havoc. BEWARE. And if for some crazy reason one of our husband tries that shit, it will be a swift kick to the groin. Case closed.
2. Wine is a mom’s best friend. Don’t give me that bullshit about drinking while caring for your kids. In no way am I suggesting that you should top your breakfast cereal with wine, (although I must admit I have thought of doing so) but after a particularly stressful day, don’t be afraid to bust out your favorite wine glass and indulge, preferably while soaking in a hot bath. *Note: beer is a totally acceptable substitute for wine if its more of your cup-of-tea
3. Every mom, SAH or not, needs me time. Yes I know that is nearly impossible to do, but it is very necessary. Figure out when your husband is free (don’t ask, demand nicely) or ask your neighbor, mom, cousin, friend, babysitter, creepy old lady down the street, WHOEVER you trust your kids’ lives with, to give you 3 hours of free-time. Offer to pay them in chocolate. No one says no to chocolate. (Substitute chocolate with a blow job or mind-blowing sex in your husband’s case)
3 1/2. During your free time, NO kid-related stuff is allowed. Go to your favorite nail shop for a pedicure (splurge, you’re worth it!), maybe a nice massage either from a professional or your husband *wink wink*, a long bath with a great book (just don’t forget the glass of wine!), or whatever makes your heart content, just make sure for those 3 hours, its all about you.
4. Ask for help. There are days when life seems to swallow you up. Everyone has them, no need to be ashamed. “Hey (insert friend/family member name), I can no longer see the floor of my laundry room, would you mind if the kids had their playdate at your house this time so I can catch up on the dirty clothes?”. Chances are that other mom’s floor is also now unrecognizable and she will gladly do so (and may even ask you the same thing next week!)
5. Wake up each morning excited about something. I am on a fitness journey, therefore, exercising makes me happy. Each morning I know that even if all hell breaks lose & both kids lose their ever loving minds, I still have my exercise time. Maybe for you it’s organizing your craft closet or trying to master your newest dress pattern. Whatever it is, hold on to it in your mind and refer back to it as you wipe spaghetti off the dining room wall, again.
6. When all else fails, there is always naptime/bedtime. Two of my favorite times of the day Once my kids decided they were too old for naptime, I decided to implement “quiet time”, which is theoretically the same thing but without the pressure of them sleeping *evil villain laugh* My only requirements are that they hang in their rooms, play quietly (read a book, etc) and DO NOT bother me unless someone is bleeding. Sounds harsh but having a few moments of peace allows me to find my mind (previously lost from the morning meltdowns) and regroup for the 2nd half of the day. I usually also take this time to “map out” the rest of the day, ie afternoon craft projects, snack, and dinner prep.
7. Hang in there! It is not always easy but it is always interesting. Can a banker say that they do something different everyday? No. Can a dentist say that their job guarantees a good laugh? Nope. Can a SAHM say through the tears and tantrums, crayon-colored walls & one-to-many days of potty training days, that they would trade a “traditional job” to be able to watch their kids grow up before their eyes? This mom can ❤