Thirty-two years ago, I can remember being faced with the decision of whether to be a stay at home or working mom. I started working and tried staying at home for a while, and decided to go back to work. I know many young parents face this decision. My daughter has chosen a different route and is a stay at home mom. She is doing a wonderful job and I asked her to share her challenges and joys of being a stay at home mother.
So here they are by Megan Honeycutt Berg:
Being a stay-at-home mom is a great adventure. The ups and downs of every day are enough to give you quite a few of gray hairs. Some days I sit back and look at the little person I created and think, “Wow, I did a good job,” until I see that same little creation throw my phone into the toilet or draw on herself with a pen. As a stay-at-home mom, I have the amazing opportunity to not miss a thing in my child’s life (the good, the bad, and the ugly). First steps, first words, the sweet cuddles during the day, potty training, temper tantrums, eating the dogs’ food, and decorating the walls with poop are all a part of my daily life.
The joys far outweigh the struggles, but there are many struggles. Whether my child is at school or at home, she has to learn. The difference is that I am in charge of what she learns, and when she learns. The weight is all on me. Children learn at their own pace, but I feel that my child has to be on the same level as children her age in school. This struggle is also seen as a joy because I can watch her little face light up as she realizes that she has learned something new.
Staying at home with my daughter has given us a bond that I cherish every day. She is my best friend, and I am hers. Although, trying to have a full conversation with a 3 year old can be interesting. I wake up to her smiling face every morning and know that we get to spend the entire day together doing exciting activities.
I love spending time with my daughter, but nap time is heaven! I need alone time. Having alone time is tough. During the day I am everything to my daughter. I am her chef, chauffeur, maid, playmate, teacher and mommy. I would like to pass some jobs out to my husband when he returns home, but my daughter doesn’t see it that way. I cater to her every need during the day so why would it be any different when her daddy gets home? Unfortunately, there isn’t a switch that can be flipped on and off when this mommy needs a break
Having the privilege to be a stay-at-home mom is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. I witness the little giggles, big smiles, learning experiences, and every temper tantrum. There are good times and difficult times, but combining them all is what makes great memories and we get to make them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As you can see, there are many challenges and joys to staying at home as there are if you choose to work outside of the home. Mothers need to make the best decisions for their children, husbands, and themselves. There is no right or wrong answer. It has to be what best fits your family! Just remember that whichever you choose, enjoy the ride!
Norma Honeycutt is the Executive Director of Partners In Learning Child Development & Family Resource Center. Norma is one of the states strongest advocates for children with special needs serving on boards and commissions including the North Carolina Child Care Commission, Rowan County NCPreK Advisory Committee, and Rowan County Local Interagency Coordinating Council. Norma is also a CBRS therapist and facilitates support groups, activities, and other programs for families of children with special needs.