I never thought of myself as being able to do the “Stay at Home Mom” thing. My own mother was a SAHM for quite a bit of my life before she got her nursing degree. She was perfect at it, she was like June Cleaver or Donna Reed. The neighborhood kids were constantly hanging out at our house while their own mothers worked. But I loved going to work, earning a paycheck and spending my days with other adults. Those were the ‘nice’ reasons.
During my first marriage my husband liked me bringing in a paycheck, especially when his hours kept getting cut at work, so he didn’t have to get a second job and ruin his video game time. (Not so ‘nice’ reason number 1 to keep being a working mom).
After ending up homeless and penniless post divorce I vowed to NEVER let myself get in that position again. (Not so ‘nice’ reason number 2 to keep being a working mom.)
When I had my daughters with my second husband I kept working and going to school before, during and after their births. Financially there was no way I could NOT work. (Not so ‘nice’ reason number 3 to keep being a working mom.)
I worked at a local university which was paying for my tuition and my husband’s but it came with a severe price – putting up with being abused by a coworker who had a penchant for throwing things at me when she had bad days and hitting some low verbal assaults on her good days.
Then things began to change. I was in a car accident and left with a brain injury but couldn’t get adequate medical treatment without being written up by my supervisor, AKA Satan’s Mistress. I ended up in the hospital at one point with kidney and liver problems because I couldn’t call in sick without getting in trouble. My then 4 yr old suffered for months because I was so scared of losing my job I put up with the pediatrician calling her a drama queen rather than listen to my mom instinct and take her for a second opinion. It was only when my mother pushed the issue that I finally risked my job and discovered she’d been suffering needlessly this entire time with untreated ear infections that had destroyed her hearing so badly that without emergency surgery she would be permanently deaf – and NOT being a drama queen.
I finally started putting my own health and my daughters’ first. My supervisor didn’t like that very much and flat out told me she was going to fire me and considering the fact she kept writing me up for having a brain injury I fully believed she’d follow through. I stayed until she made good on her word and still graduated with my degree a few days later despite her lovely left hook to my focus and self-confidence that week. Including her terminating my access to my online classes which nearly cost me the ability to finish but it’s amazing how quickly that stuff gets turned on when the word ‘lawsuit’ gets batted around.
I decided to take a month off before finding another job to get my focus back and heal from the EXTREME amount of stress Satan’s mistress had put me under not to mention the grief and guilt I still felt at putting the fear of my supervisor ahead of my daughter’s needs.
Just when I thought I was going to start the job search again my daughter was diagnosed with Autism and we had to enroll her in a special program at our local elementary school. At 4 yrs old they had her development equal to a 1 1/2 yr old. I knew then I needed to be there for her.
I left the world of paychecks, coffee chats, rush hour traffic, office attire and reading news blogs to defect to the world of PTA moms. Nike’s instead of heels became my go to footwear. I use my iPhone’s Calendar to schedule school activities instead of meetings. Most importantly I’m not letting anyone dictate what happens to my kids. I’m not letting anyone intimidate me into giving them inadequate attention or care.
After moving to our first house I tried returning to work to what I thought would be a low key job that would enable us to adjust to being a 2 parent working household again. Unfortunately I discovered the employment world still doesn’t care when you need 1 day off to help your kids even when you have a perfect attendance and on-time record plus worked overtime whenever someone else called in or had to leave early. Or even when you give a 3+ month notice you’ll need that 1 day off. Back to being a SAHM….
Someday I’ll go back and get my Masters. I’ll even get a steady job again in the outside world that gives me a paycheck; hopefully one that won’t mind if I ask 3+ months in advance for a day off. But only when I know my kids will benefit from it instead of being hurt by it.
I don’t consider myself a ‘career’ mom or ‘SAHM’; I’m just a mom.
*Image found on : http://notyouraverageal.com/1/post/2013/09/just-a-stay-at-home-mom.html