Dear Stay-at-home mommy,
Thank you for all the sacrifices you made when you thought nobody is looking. You put your career and dreams on hold so that you can nurture your little one so that he or she can be a better person.
Nobody taught you how to love and care for your child 24/7. You allow your motherly instincts to take over and you do the best you can to teach and guide with love, the way no other stranger can do. While other kids can attend daycare and learn from teachers and kids of their age, you provide one to one attention if it means sacrificing your time to pursue your own hobbies.
On top of taking care of your little one, there are floors to be swept, laundry to be hanged, clothes to be washed even toys to be kept. Nobody knows when you wake up in the early morning at 5am just because your little one wakes up at the same time. Often, you are given the advice of ‘sleep while your baby naps’, it sounds easier than to execute. Every naptime, you hurried to make up for lost time, whether it is to catch up on housework or prepping for tonight’s dinner or making purée for baby’s next meal. Even when the chores are done, sleep is overrated, it’s the only time you get to take a long bath, listen to music and finished off that chapter.
The only way you get in touch to the outside world is through Facebook where you quickly browse through as the little one feeds himself. Your friends have now split into two camps. The ones who are childless can’t wrap their minds why you can’t join them for a 9pm supper or a midnight movie. And the ones who have children can only meet up for a short hour just because there is just not enough time for everybody. The phone conversation will often start with “Oh gosh, I’m so tired.” and ends with your “I think I hear the baby crying. Got to go!”
The phone conversation will often start with “Oh gosh, I’m so tired.” and ends with your “I think I hear the baby crying. Got to go!”
Speaking of tiredness, when the whole family is asleep, you are awake feeding the little one. Night feeds never seem to end. It’s been a year (and still counting) that you haven’t had the luxury of sleeping 8 hours straight – a luxury that many of us take for granted. You practically can sleepwalk into the kitchen to mix milk formula or speed-change his diaper blindfolded. You probably are so sleep deprived that you kept calling your little one the wrong name (I know I called my cat my daughter’s name and vice versa).
When everyone depends on you, you are the supermom.
“Mom! Where are my socks?”
“In the third drawer.”
“Honey, did you remember to buy paper for the printer?”
“Yes, it is in your study.”
You juggle groceries with your strong right arm while carrying a wiggling baby with your strong left arm. All the while, you do sometimes think wistfully about your previous life – seems so long ago, you had a career, a killer little black dress and manicures every other week. Now it is replaced with chores, a food-stained old t-shirt with track pants and short bitten down nails. You used to be known as Sally or Mrs Jackson but now you are known as Jamie’s mom as if that is the only identity you have. Fearful of losing yourself along with your sanity, sleep deprivation you are teetering on borderline depression.
Identity is not the only thing you missed. If you can write a list, it probably will never end. Movies in a cinema, mojito in a bar, dancing in a club, shopping without a stroller, 3 hours of massages, facials and hair treatments are all a thing of the past.
Stay-at-home mommy, I feel you. Everyone’s been going how great you are, sacrificing your career and your life for your family. Sometimes you just wish you can trade roles. But you persevere on through the food fights and poop explosions and nonstop yelling. You know that you can never resign from being a mother, never have an off day, can’t take an annual leave to escape but you know you made the right choice because it is your choice.
You get to witness all your little one’s first – first smile, first laugh, first steps. You are rewarded when your baby beams his brightest smile when you walked into the room because you are his most favourite person in the world. You also get to wipe his tears, hug him when he fell, whiff his baby smell before it is all gone. Trust me, in time to come, he’ll have to leave the nest like we all do. All these are worth the lost dreams and career when his first words are Mama when he gives you his favourite toy when he cries for you when you leave him in school.
Mommy, thank you. Thank you for everything you have done and gave up so that you can nurture our next generation to make this a better world for a better tomorrow.
*Stay tuned for my letter to a working mom.
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