Courage Is Feeling Proud Of Being A Stay At Home Mom
| Daniela Gomez Castro, 30
I always felt I was a free-spirited woman: self-employed, an active traveler and financially independent. That was my life until I became a stay at home mom. It wasn’t something that happened to me, it was a choice, one that scared the heck out of me, but I decided I wanted to be present for my daughter during her first years.
Becoming a mother as an immigrant.
When I got pregnant I decided to move from my home in Venezuela to Costa Rica, so becoming a mom in a new country left me without my support network, my familiar places and the comfort of my house. The idea of leaving my daughter with a stranger when we were in need of two incomes was just not an option. So my husband took over financially – despite knowing that just one job might not be enough to support our family – and I did what I thought wouldn’t be so hard: taking care of my daughter. Full time. Like 24/7 full time.
Sometimes people think that those who get to stay home are so lucky because there’s someone else taking care of the expenses. But they don’t know how it actually is stretching out the budget, buying less food at the supermarket or going out walking because public transportation feels so expensive. So no, this choice wasn’t about being comfortable and just sitting around watching my kid grow up by herself with nothing but smiles and giggles.
Being a stay at home mom implies working very hard and feeling an alien from the rest of society, but at the same time, it’s a privilege to be able to take charge on what goes on with your children’s lives all the time and not having to ask others how was your kid’s day.
Not being recognized was the most difficult part to accept.
My biggest fear, the huge monster behind living this stay at home mom life was the lack of social recognition. It was very awkward when I heard from friends, family or acquaintances things like “So, what do you do?” and when I answered I was taking care of my daughter they would say “Yes, but what else?”.
Being a full-time mom and a Housewife (God, I hate the semantics of this word) made me feel like I was somehow small. Filling out papers at the bank or just answering to the question “occupation” was very difficult for me to answer, saying or writing “Housewife” didn’t (and still doesn’t) feel good, it didn’t make me feel proud as when I would answer “Teacher” for example. So for a long time, I felt like I wasn’t enough. I felt ashamed and sometimes felt like my life was boring or that my every day was meaningless.
I think this comes from the way our society is built and the pressure we feel to be “someone” in this world. I know it now, I’m important, I’m a silent pillar of humanity, as are many others. We just have to embrace it and be certain that raising kids is just a phase and that we can go back to our careers and professional lives with a blink of an eye. But only if we are patient and loving to ourselves in the process.
Getting informed as a way to be at peace with my decision.
I found some allies: new friends, books, articles, even social media accounts that would help me understand how important this job is. For example, neuroscience suggests that the first years in humans are crucial for brain development, and being close to the mother is fundamental to developing healthy neural connections in the brain.
The tools I learned studying Anthropology gave me the ability to research about every single thing I wanted to know regarding human development. It helped me understand that the way humanity was constructed thousands of years before, is actually the reason we still exist today. We survived because of how ancient cultures were, not because of how we are now, not because of how we’re being now, so distanced from each other from early childhood.
The reward for assuming motherhood as a full-time job.
I’m so glad that in these three years I’ve never lost a tooth that had popped out, my daughter’s first smile, or her first steps. I was able to see her face every time she tried a new food, I can be with her when she feels sick, and I don’t feel any guilt about taking her to kindergarten as I use those four hours to take care of the things around the house, work in my personal projects and grow a new baby in my belly!
Facing my fear of becoming a stay at home mom not only changed my life, it changed the way I see and understand the world. It boosted my self-esteem (after a deep personal growth era). It made me reconsider my whole belief system. It changed my values and cleared my perspectives on the small things I like and want in life.
I respect and admire full time working moms and the work they do, the freelancers, the bloggers and so on… because all of them work so hard and some might not have been able to take the choice I took. But for those having the opportunity and wanting to spend more time with their children, I would say go ahead and do it. Maybe you’ll find a new passion in life, maybe your willingness to be present for your kids will push you to create a business, to become an influencer. Who knows?
The only thing for sure is that the years go by and your children are babies only once.