It’s been a little over a year since I made the transition to stay-at-home mom. As if tabling 15 years marketing experience and a Masters degree wasn’t terrifying enough, then came the comments. Friends, family and people at Giant Eagle had a lot to say. Despite their intentions, here are some common quotes and misconceptions that can be more harmful than helpful to a transitioning parent.
“You’re making the right choice.” I still question my decision, daily. Two weeks after moving into our new home my son fell down the stairs. I was 7 months pregnant with our third baby and it took me an hour to get home from work. That night as I was organizing the pantry my husband poked his head in to say, “how much longer do you want to do this?” And by “this” he meant my job. He travels and wins the bread. I’m a copywriter and can work from home. So naturally, it made sense for me to change course. We didn’t have a heartfelt, pros and cons discussion. We pulled the trigger to see if this would work and are still ebbing and flowing with the process.
“It’s not like you need the money.” Congratulations! When did you pass your Series 7? For the record, money is just one of several factors parents consider when thinking about staying home. People have different investments, priorities and wants that are a constant stress no matter the size of their house or salary of their partner. Diapers or new sandals from Nordstrom? Every single purchase is a weighted decision. Eight times out of ten I feel guilty buying something for myself.
“I could never stay home.” Um, thanks? This is probably the most popular and detrimental response, even if you try to keep the conversation going. I’ve followed this with a simple ‘why’ and been told a) we can’t live on one salary or b) I’m a better mom when I work. Neither answer is constructive for a transitioning parent or the friendship.
“You’re going to have so much fun!” Right. My kids are 4, 3 and 10 months. Someone is always crying, sick or fighting. I’m lucky if I can convince them to put on pants and go to the library. Sure, we go to ballet, swimming, soccer—but contrary to the grinning instragram pics, it’s not all swing sets and finger-painting.
“They’re going to love having you home.” My older two ask about every other week if I can go back to work so ‘daddy can stay home.’ Not only have I put my career on hold, it feels as if my new “bosses” don’t value my role. I realize if our roles were reversed they’d want me to stay home instead (maybe). However, it’s a tough pill to swallow every time it shoots out of their tiny mouths.
Being a SAHM or dad IS rewarding. But that’s not what this article is about. The transition is both exciting and completely terrifying. And still is, every day. It should be treated with the same consideration, candor and support as any new job. What are some of your favorite quotes or misconceptions that you deal with while staying at home with the littles?