Contentment to resentment and back again: life as a stay-at-home mum

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Last Monday morning I stripped the beds, put out my first load of washing and loaded the second. I had a full day planned of shopping, cooking, and washing floors.

By the time I returned from dropping the kids off to school and preschool I’d done 2½ hours of work while Peter had put in an equivalent time at the office, counting his hour commute.

Sometimes I am tempted to daydream about swapping places with him.

Sometimes I’m downright annoyed that he gets to go to work and I have to stay at home, forgetting that ultimately this is a choice we’ve made.

I’ve been through the gamut of emotions about being a ‘stay-at-home’ mum from contentment to resentment and back again many times over the past several years.

But while circumstances can change and it’s possible that one day I might buy a suit and leave Peter home to keep the fires burning I know that I prefer not to have to.

The beauty of my lifestyle at the moment is its inherent fulfilling nature and its flexibility. I am in charge of making sure everyone is reasonably well fed and clothed and have the things they need.

I’m jointly in charge of the children’s spiritual and moral formation, and meeting their emotional needs.

But I can also make time to write, to read, to garden, and to see friends during the work-day week.

If we have a busy social weekend coming up I can do more laundry and cooking during the week which would be still possible but harder to do if I was working full time.

I satisfy my entrepreneurial bent by making a part time income, with the hope of growing a little business.

And I can even manage to do some volunteer things at times, and squeeze in a course which interests me.

Now if you’re working the 9-to-5 and your boss sends you on a course, it’s not always going to be something you’re particularly interested in!

The one I’m doing is called Home Traditions, run by the Kenvale College of Hospitality and Event Management at Randwick.

I can’t recommend it more highly to any woman who is feeling the strain of juggling several balls in the air at once, whether single or married, or a mother or not.

I really think this course should be renamed. I think of it as a whole-of-life makeover for busy women.

Since having the children I’ve read so many books on organisation, time management and personal finance management.

I’ve picked up a lot of tips along the way through my reading and observing other mums, but nothing has been as effective as doing this course, which impels me to keep things on track and keep building on improved habits each week.

My current assignment is to create a household budget, which is something we’ve never really done properly before but really needed to. And I’m working on time management, which I’m finding difficult but promises to be life-changing.

Little by little I’m still growing into the knowledge that it’s God who’s placed me here right now and that there is endless scope for joy and personal growth here.