I am a SAHM, by choice!


I have a complicated relationship with social networking. Especially now  that I am not really ‘working’ working. (Does being a home maker qualify as ‘working’ ;)). Blogs and books keep me good company most of the days (as am enjoying an uncertainly brief transit period) For me, when I am not blogging, reading is curative as it saves me from unsuccessfully dodging questions like, “Why aren’t you in a job, yet?” or “Don’t you feel bored at home?”, “You know, you should start working by now!” and all that! It is only now I realized on a full scale why, a ‘Stay At Home Mom’(SAHM) is so underrated! And not the quintessential homemaker I speak of here, but a woman who quit her career to be a SAHM by choice! Clearly, I am not adept in answering out-of-the-blue questions from acquaintances (even parents sometimes) regarding my career choices and it takes me a lot of will to refrain from reposting acerbically! But a lot of such questions got me thinking, why in the Lord’s name is a SAHM so looked down upon? Why such condescending questions/looks?
While I worked

with the IT sector before marriage, I had seen many kinds of married couples. Couples who worked and complimented each other beautifully, some who planned their families early as the mother took the necessary sabbatical before rejoining the office, some who planned families and moved to different time zones leaving behind the children in the care of grandparents, some who took their children along to different countries for on site assignments, and then the few who felt that babies could wait et al. Of course, nothing is more convenient and luxurious for a working couple, if both are placed together and, with the child anywhere in the world! And, there are the others for whom certain sacrifices, compromises and uncomfortable arrangements (like staying away from the spouse for a long time or perhaps having a caretaker in a different country to take care of the child and so on and so forth) are probable options. I was not married then. So, I never really judged anything, also considering my uneasiness over the topic of marriage in those years. Later, the stars aligned in a particular way and I met my match in an army officer 7 years back. (How I met him would serve as a hot post later!) And today, I am a proud army wife and a SAHM now, by choice (considering the nomadic life I live!)

Looking back from where I started this post, I gather I have strayed a bit. Well, a SAHM is not as bad as it sounds! Having a baby and staying back to look after the baby is not as dreadful as those funnily scary doodles appear to be. Of course, the milk stained bras, the baby poop stained pajamas, the sore nipples, aching shoulders and back, sleep deprivation, hunger pangs at ungodly hours while nursing the baby are a part and parcel of motherhood. And definitely, that is not going to go on forever! And so, some mothers delegate the tasks, some stay at home by compulsion and some by choice like me. However it is only after I choose to be a SAHM, I realized that there is more to raising a child than just bringing him/her into the world. Raising a child takes a lot of hard work, certain sacrifices and a lot of cautious decisions right from the beginning. Not to mention, there are intermittent moments of confusion felt almost by every SAHM when she yearns to work again as she sees the world around, move past her. I have had those moments too. Worse, I was served the best job opportunities in Pune immediately after I had my son, and yet could not pursue them because my son was just 6 months old. A part of me was tempted to ask my mother to come over and stay and look after my son. However, a major part of me held me back from asking her. Today, I can say with full conviction that I took the right decision as I see my son evolving in an independent way.
The choice of having been a SAHM for the first three years post my delivery helped me understand the importance of listening, the need to be patient and the right to remain silent when the whole world questions your decisions. Also, unlike what people told me that ‘the child will become too clingy if you stay with the child too much’ theory turned out to be false, at least in my case. As on today, my son is NOT a bit insecure or cranky if I am not around for a few hours (whenever I have some unavoidable social engagements). Sometimes, he even advises me to ride/drive safe (a caution that I load the hubby with!). And, he is anything but clingy. Over the past three years, we have developed an understanding where I don’t need to explain each and everything to him or baby talk him into anything (something that I have never done!). As a SAHM, I have been at his side practically for the most part, except in the small mini breaks I got when parents/in-laws were visiting. The adjustments I made by not rushing into weight loss instantly, by not attending parties and socials, by not watching my favourite TV shows, by not sleeping whenever I felt like, by not reading when the itch to read was too deep to scratch and most importantly, by not giving in to the urge to work leaving my son in the care of a caretaker/parents and in-laws, have paid off immensely when I see my son complaining less and enjoying life as it comes. Not that, he is impeccably behaved as one can gather from my previous posts. I have my moments of altercation with him regarding his food and homework routine. But then, I also understand that it is just a phase.
There is more to being an SAHM than just the cuddling, cleaning, feeding, outing and talking part. When you, as a mother are around the child for the first two-three years at least, the results that follow are truly amazing. A baby is like a bud waiting to blossom. (S)He does not need just the physical nourishment but the emotional one too. The first two years of absolute presence of the mother in her baby’s life works wonders. And, picking up an alternative career or returning back to the same career is not an impossible task for most ladies. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to choices one makes, as a mother.
Being a SAHM may not have earned me money or brownie points professionally. But it has definitely earned me something priceless, my baby’s unconditional trust and faith in me. I would be lying if I say I never felt the urge to catch up in the professional arena when opportunities knocked at every given chance! But, I am surely not lying now when I say I have no regrets today. Also, who says I would be a SAHM forever! That said, I am proud of my decision of having been a SAHM for the past four years, not to mention, very much by choice!
P.S: I remember having asked my mother a month back; if she would have come and taken care of my son three years back (when he was barely 6 months old) so that I could pick up a full time job. Those days, she would visit me for long breaks but never encouraged me to work full time. This time, she replied, “Why not? I would have been the happiest granny in the whole wide world. You know how much I adore children!” However, she continued, “But you know Narayani, had I done that, I would have deprived you off those divine pleasures of watching those cherubic smiles, happy gurgles, those tiny hands and legs paddling in the air, those adorably cute wailing and most importantly, experiencing the most beautiful sensation when your baby sleeps on your bosom wrapped in the aura of love and a sense of security, that only a mother can give. These are one-time moments in life. Once gone, they are gone! And, I wanted you to enjoy all that. So, I never volunteered, you know!”
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4 thoughts on “I am a SAHM, by choice!

  1. cI know what you mean. Completely. I took a break from work, although not as as daughter was born. I actually went back to work when she was 4.5 months because I got a really lucrative and exciting opportunity. But eventually took a break, because it made sense for me then. After about 5 years of being a SAHM I am now back at work and absolutely loving it. The important thing is to enjoy what we do, is what I feel. And what feels right for you as a person.

  2. Loved reading this! Both, as one time SAHM, & a late bloomer on the work front; I watch my DIL do all of what you write of (she’s a Navy wife!), with their I yr. old daughter, and l know she is having the best of times!

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