I was at my all-time low recently.
Having stayed at home to look after the kids for more than four years now, I have reached a point in my life where I have been asking myself if it was all worth it. Whether all these years of staying home had been in vain. Whether I have made any positive difference in the lives of my kids by staying at home.
So I was recalling how I made the decision to leave my job to stay home for the kids.
And I remembered this post that I wrote in 2010, in my old blog.
This was why I stayed home… and now, I need this to remind myself that it has not been a mistake.
So, here goes…
Why I Stay Home
I have now joined the ranks of the Stay-At-Home-Mums, aka SAHMs. Being a SAHM is not a norm around my circle of relatives and friends. I don’t really have many personal friends who are SAHMs. The norm is to go back to work, continue with whatever you were doing before you gave birth, and get someone to babysit your kids.
So, I followed the norm for years. After giving birth to Zac, it had never occurred to me that maybe I should just stay home to look after him. So, I went back to work full-time after my maternity leave.
Throughout my 2nd pregnancy, I was still teaching full-time while my mom helped me babysit Zac.
It was not until when I was about to deliver Jay that the light came on and I thought why not take a year’s no pay leave to look after our 2 boys at home. That was what I did. But the weird thing was I did not extend my leave but went back to teach after a year’s break.
I would have continued to be a FTWM if not for what happened next.
I had been pondering for months if I should just stay home. We have discussed. But always with no conclusion.
One day, Zac came back from school with a brochure for a parenting seminar. I took a look at it and just left it lying on the table. I had no intention to go for it at all.
But my husband saw the brochure and said, “Let’s go for it.”
I was surprised and he added, “Ask your mom to help us with the kids for that morning. Let’s go for it!”
And THAT seminar was the turning point for me.
It was a seminar on parenting skills, some tips and methods for disciplining kids and so on…. but I can’t remember most of the points, except this…
At one point of the seminar, the speaker told us parents,
“If you can afford it, mothers, stay home for your kids.”
“If you can afford it, husbands, let your wife stay home for your kids.”
He went on to say that many parents in our society got it the other way round. Many pursue their careers and leave their babies and little ones with others, be it grandparents, babysitters, maids, childcare. Ten years later, the mothers start to resign from their job to stay home, because PSLE is coming, they’ve got to be there for their kids to make sure they do well for it!
“But by then it is too late,” he said, “If you can, stay home for your kids, especially during the early years.”
My husband and I turned to each other, gave a nod and made the decision there and then, right at that seminar, that I will stay home. Period.
So, first thing on Monday, I spoke to my principal, then to my supervisor and finally the VP.
On Tuesday, I submitted the application form for no-pay leave.
By Friday, they had gotten a teacher to replace me and my application was approved.
All in a week.
By the way, it was stated on the application form that applicants must submit the form one month in advance to be considered for approval.
One month! But mine was approved within ONE WEEK!
If you believe in God, this is divine.
If you don’t believe in God, well, this is still a miracle!
So here I am, offically a SAHM.
And I know this is what I need to do, for this season of my life.
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So, that was my story… more than four years ago.
If you are a SAHM, can you share with me, what made you decide to stay home?