I’ve been a “stay-at-home-mom”, or a sahm, since March 2009. I know first hand that it’s hard to make the switch from full-time employment to full-time mothering. After working and socializing with other adults on a regular basis, the shock of suddenly being left alone at home with the children, housekeeping, and cooking can be depressing and isolating.
I’m happy to say that I haven’t withered away or become a reclusive hermit like I originally feared! I have kept mothering as my top priority, but I’ve also managed to find several projects that keep my brain working and help me stay in contact with the rest of the adult world. I even tend to forget that I’m a sahm because I’m so busy!
An important thing I’ve learned is that being a sahm doesn’t turn you into a cookie-cutter “Susie Homemaker”. Every sahm is still the unique person they were before they left the career world. They have the same talents that made them valuable to the outside world. Many women may fear that their education and experience is being wasted if they stay at home, but that’s never the case unless you plan to become a mute zombie mother. ( I have faith you won’t).
I recently attended a talk about how the skills of a sahm translates to work place skills. It was refreshing to be reminded that I’m still a valuable person and maybe even more so because I’m a sahm. Here’s some of the skills and experiences that a sahm has in professional terms:
- Adept at scheduling appointments and handling overlapping activities
- Excellent multitasker
- Experience organizing and maintaining records
- Annual budget management, checkbook balancing, diverse purchasing and regular financial decision making
- Meal planning and chore management for multiple people
- Educator, motivator, and moral advisor
Most likely, sahms are also highly involved community members and regular volunteers. Really, us sahms are very valuable people although most of us don’t realize it!
I’ve discovered a secret: you don’t have to work a 40-hour work week in an office to use your skills. If you use your imagination you’ll find ways to use your skills at home or in the community. You may not get paid for those skills, but you never know what will come down the road.
I have a new personal rule that I will only take on a job or project if I can do it with my daughter on my hip! You may roll your eyes because that sounds rather absurd, but you’d be surprised how successful I’ve been. You’d also be impressed how flexible an employer will be about your determination to work from home when they need your skills. I’m not getting rich this way, but I’m not useless or unappreciated either.
The woman who gave the talk I mentioned above volunteered in community organizations for many years and was then offered a paid position with a non-profit organization because of her experiences and connections in the non-profit sector. Basically, her lifestyle as a sahm led her to a career! Why not the rest of us?
Possibly the best advice I received from that speaker was that sahms should stay involved in the world outside their home. Volunteer. Raise your hand when someone asks “Who will do this?” Don’t shy away from new experiences. Take classes. Talk to people. The more you reach out, the more chances you’ll have to exercise your unique talents and be recognized for it. It may lead you someplace great!