Inspired by a fellow writer, Lisa on one of her posts that were featured in MiddleMe awhile back, I was compelled to do a write up on Stay At Home Moms (SAHM). I wanted to create awareness of SAHM and the importance of this role contributing to our society. Especially n Asian countries, SAHM are often looked down upon by hiring managers, HR and employers alike and the moms find it super hard to obtain a job after a long period of unemployment.
However, as I begin the first paragraph, I felt I was sorely inadequate and in fact if I do write that article, I felt that I’m an imposter, trying to understand how it is like being a SAHM because I am not a mother yet. So instead of an interview, I came up with a brilliant idea to interview SAHMs and to give it a more dimension and different outlook, 3 lovely wonderful ladies had generously collaborated with me, with their time and effort to bring you the article below.
Enjoy the article and please, if you love what you are reading, join me in applauding their bravery, duty, and honor in being a SAHM.
Michelle of https://michnavs.wordpress.com/
Anumeha of https://enjoyingyourkids.wordpress.com
First of all, I am honored that you agreed to take the time to agree to an interview with me. A big thank you for everything! If this is a real face-to-face interview, I’ll invite you to my home with comfy chairs, cups of tea and plenty of cookies and cupcakes. So let’s jump right in, shall we?
Lisa: Thanks again for this opportunity to be the voice for so many women. I am honored that you value my opinion.
First, a little background: I’ve never worked in a formal corporate setting. I’ve always worked for small businesses and entrepreneurs, so my view may be a little different than what you want. But I hope you can use my answers anyways.
Prior to resignation, what job role were you doing? Please describe your job and what task it entails.
Michelle: I was a College Professor teaching Language and literature. Being in the academic world, I also handled several duties and responsibilities in school like the school paper and the debating society. I was also involved in coaching students in several competitions like impromptu speaking, declamation contests, and all writing competitions such as news writing, feature writing, editorial writing, copy reading and headline writing. (Journalism is my Baccalaureate course, that’s why). I started out as a pre – school teacher, then moved on the elementary and high school. When I finished my Masters Degree that was the time I worked in the tertiary level, and when I started with my Ph.D. I also started having classes in the Graduate School.
Anumeha: I completed the Post Graduate program in Communications (specializing in Brand Management) from a reputed college in India. My job was of a strategic planner in a reputed advertising firm after which I joined my father’s soap manufacturing business to take over the role of Marketing Director for our private label of soaps. It encompasses everything from maintaining stock in our godown to raising indent for stock on our manufacturing arm to managing the finances of the company to motivating and maintaining our sales team of 20 people to pitching to big supermarket giants to stock our products to working with our ad agency to design our television advertisements and creating the media plan to incentivize dealers to planning the complete brand strategy. In 7 years, I had increased annual sales from 25 Lacs to 375 Lacs.
Lisa: My last job was in customer service/sales and client management. I researched potential clients, initiated contact, usually with CEOs, CFOs, or VPs of Technology, and then responded to any leads or interest. I also maintained communication with our client base in a customer service role.
Please share with us what has led to you making the decision to be a SAHM? Why not chose to juggle work and family like a lot of women do?
Anumeha: I resumed work when my son was 1-year-old and quit when he was 3 years old as we moved to the US from India. When I was working, I came home to an unhappy child. My son used to be in a daycare or at home with a nanny. I found that he had a tantrum every night, went to bed crying and food became a HUGE battleground with him. I started fearing him and certainly did not enjoy motherhood. At the same time, my work was all-encompassing. I could never switch off my to-do list even at home and was never at peace with my child or with myself. I started feeling like I was trying to ride two boats simultaneously and could see myself drowning. I started regretting motherhood, as my work was more in my control than my child was!
Lisa: I’ve been a SAHM twice (after my first child was born, then went back to work when she was 1-year-old, then after my second child was born). It was a personal choice that I wanted to be there for my kids. I had always dreamed of being a mom, and not a corporate mogul. By not choosing to juggle on both ends, had a lot to do with money. After doing the math, my husband and I figured that my paycheck would be going almost entirely to childcare. So it made more sense for me to stay home, and just be on a tighter budget.
Michelle: I am been coaching students and making champions out of them. And it broke my heart when I can’t even coach my own daughter when it was their time to join a competition. That’s the first reason. Add to that, I am always, always worried leaving my kids to our helpers and driver who would bring them to school then pick them up after. They have been growing up beautifully and it scares me to death that I entrust them to a stranger.
At first I endured the idea of juggling both: work and kids. But as they grew, the demands of spending more quality time with them became bigger too. Not to mention my husband’s workplace is in another country which means he gets to go home every two months that left me with the option of being with my children full-time. Having four beautiful girls is a lot Kally. And I am sure you also heard of the many untoward incidents happening to young women around the world. Why not juggle? I can’t. I just knew and felt that I needed to be with them anytime, anywhere at any given moment. It wasn’t easy at first, but it was all worth it. It became a mutual agreement between me and my husband. I get to stop working and he gets to take care of the finances.
How long did you come to the final decision to handover your resignation letter? Who did you discuss with? What were the emotions involve then?
Lisa: As soon as I got pregnant (each time) I knew that I would be quitting, as I got closer to delivery. My husband and I discussed our options. It wasn’t really a struggle for me to go the route of SAHM, so my emotional resolve was fairly peaceful.
Anumeha: When I moved to the US, I had the option to work again but I thought of taking a break and adjusting to a new country first. No one was happy with the decision. No one supported me. My husband thought I would be unhappy at home and demand more time from him as I had more free time now and perhaps lead to more arguments. My parents thought I would be too dependent if I lost my financial independence and that would be detrimental to my feelings of security and confidence. But I was DONE with working. I didn’t want to go back to the black hole that my personal life was when I was working. I wanted to take a PAUSE and ENJOY and SAVOUR my child, when HE had the time for me. Also, I had met a stranger when I was leaving India that had an impact on me. She was at my dentist’s office holding her grandchild in her arms and she said very candidly to me ‘I worked all my life and never had time for my children. I am grateful to God that I can enjoy my grandchild at the very least! ‘. That’s when I thought that ‘I don’t want to wait for my grandchildren to enjoy them. That’s too far away in the future. I want to enjoy my OWN children! I did not discuss it with anyone. I just decided. My emotions were of utmost relief and peace. I felt like I got a gift from God way back, which I now got to open after 3 long years!
Michelle: Well, I worked for almost fifteen years and yes Kally, believe me in the course of 15 years there hasn’t been a time when I didn’t think of resigning especially when one of the kids gets sick and I can’t just leave my class to be there beside her. Well, technically 15 years in the making..hahahahah ..funny I know that. I am just probably one of those people who do not wallow so much on negative emotions. So when I resigned I didn’t get to feel much of its effect emotionally.
Did your company / boss / colleagues / friends / partner gives you any advice not to quit or give you encouragement to follow your heart? Did anyone say any disheartening things about you?
Anumeha: My immediate family still thinks I should work. They think I am wasting my education. But the people in the US give me courage. There are so many SAHM’s around me who loves doing what they do. They inspire me everyday! Also, now that I am at home suddenly I am more answerable to my partner for the children’s behavior, health, and happiness, which I was not solely responsible for when I was working. I am expected to keep the home clean, do the laundry and save money else I am not doing a good job as a Home Maker. Suddenly there are many more expectations from me than when I was working!
Michelle: People from the academic world called me “crazy” for resigning. It’s true. Well, I can’t blame them. I have all the academic qualifications to really make it big in the academe. I must say that even up to this writing, offers of going back to school, lectures, consultancies..etc are still flooding. My own family, on the other hand, supported my decision. My husband’s family wasn’t as supportive as those of my own simply because of the financial implications. My husband was the happiest, of course, he’d always want it. My children were very delighted. They always get to joke every time I drive them to school..” we have the best driver, with Master’s Degree and Ph.D.” It was rewarding Kally, because now, I am not only making champions out of my students but also I am making champions out of my own daughters. Their academic performances have skyrocketed from average students to excellent. They are now basically one of the best students in their school (modesty aside).
Lisa: No one really tried to influence me one way or the other. Most everyone was supportive, but I think it’s because they knew my resolve. I’m not sure if anyone said anything bad about me. If they did, I probably didn’t listen.
I guess after a long period of having your own financial freedom, you must have felt your hands are tied now together with your purse strings. Please describe the difficulty during your transition period and what you did to overcome this.
Michelle: Financially, I must honestly say it wasn’t hard nor was there ever a time I felt bad financially. I should give credit to my husband who’s been very supportive.
Anumeha: I found it very tough because I am a spontaneous shopper who loves gifting as well. Suddenly I felt very guilty in spending. Then someone told me that my partner and I are a team. While he supports the family financially, I support it structurally. So the money is as much mine as it’s his! From that day, my attitude changed towards the money. Am still a careful spender, but it’s guilt free spending 🙂
Lisa: My husband and I made sure we had enough money in savings for emergencies. Being a SAHM made me more aware of how we spent our money. The budget was tighter, and I had to be more creative with budgeting, especially when it came to grocery shopping. No more name brands and we only bought what we needed with carefully planned weekly meal plans. I learned to stretch a dollar further. I’m a bit of a bargain hunter anyways, so it wasn’t that hard of a transition for us.
Let’s take a break now and we’ll be back with Part 2 of the SAHM interview. Stay tuned!!
Disclaimer: These answers are purely of the ladies’ own opinions and expressing what they have gone through, their experience, their paths and in no way should be seen as being judgmental or generalizing.