It seems that everyone is obsessed with what we do. Up to having children, if I was asked what I did, I could always say I was a something (depending on what job I was managing to hold down at the time). Since having children, I have tried all sorts of things from selling Phoenix Cards (other home based selling companies are available and believe me I have tried most of them, apparently sales is not my thing), to teaching antenatal classes. My last venture was as a teaching assistant in a local primary school; a must have job for a Mum with no childcare cover from relatives. It really was perfect on paper, until I worked out that I still needed breakfast and after school clubs for 2 children at the extortionate cost of £6,500 per year. Those of you who work in schools will know that the salary is not exactly generous, so will understand that this cost took over half of my wages. Anyway, I am rambling. Back to now and what am I?
I am in week 1 of no job and the children at school. If I am a stay at home mum, how does that differ from being a house wife? I am a wife, I live in a house and I am a mum who stays at home. I have this terrible guilt about not doing enough, so feel like if I sit down for 5 minutes, I am being lazy. But I would have a break and a sit down if I was at work, so why can’t I let myself relax?
I decided that cleaning could be the first job on the list of things to do; it looks like maybe I haven’t cleaned much since we first moved in 18 months ago. Feeling quite smug about the shiny clean bedrooms, but have to admit that it was hard work and not exactly exciting. I am feeling the key to this cleaning thing is to do it more regularly. I am a stay at home Mum, so I feel that this is my job, but wasn’t it still my job when I was working? I have never worked in the wage bracket that can afford cleaners.
I feel the need to turn into some sort of domestic goddess, but my children will only eat pizza and fish fingers bought from shops. I tried making my own pizza; it was rejected as too tomatoey and too cheesy. I have just made biscuits that resemble the emoji poo, so I think they might be popular. I didn’t set out to make poo biscuits, but my oldest just came in and said, “Ooh look poopy things!” Now they are rushing off to take a picture of my emoji poo biscuits. Tomorrow I am going to buy beef shin to make a Jamie Oliver chile. What the hell is beef shin and where will I find it? This could mean a trip to the butchers; not something I have done more than a handful of times. Local supermarkets are tiny here, so no beef shin on offer in Lidl today. I still had to feed my children when I worked, so not much changed on this job, except this irrational need to take longer cooking it.
If I work out what I would have been charged to have my house cleaned, my food cooked and my children looked after, I think the costs would easily have ramped up to more than I was earning, so is it OK to stay home and do the things myself? I have so much respect for every parent and carer who is currently doing it all. There are more reasons than the cost of childcare as to why I find myself as a stay at home Mum, but they are for another time. Why do I feel the need to justify the decision though?
Homework done, both children bathed, meltdown about who gets the frog sponge resolved, and dinner is cooking. Now I have time to think through my day and wonder if it really matters what I call myself and whether I work, stay at home, be a housewife, or whatever. Should we just be proud of who we are and what we do and stop this desperate need to prove ourselves as a somebody who does something?