I came across an article a while ago and I wanted to talk about it. The article addresses why so many special needs mums ‘don’t work’. That is, don’t work outside the home. We need to stop this stigma of stay at home mums, especially those of special needs children, being ‘lazy’ because I know for a fact I’m not. The work that goes on behind closed doors is something people that haven’t been in the situation probably don’t understand.
I’m sure there’s mums reading this, judging me already thinking “well I work and manage to look after my kids”
Good for you! Yes, I know it can be done, Super mums all over manage to do it. I have so much respect for those mothers, I’m incredibly lucky that I have Joel’s support to stay home but I do deserve respect for my choices as well.
So many times I have felt the need to justify why I never went back to work, or felt so much guilt for being ‘just a mum’. Before having Reece I was asked all the time when I would ‘go back to work’ and it’s just not that simple.
People want to judge, think I’m lazy for *not working* when the truth is not a day goes by I’m not doing paperwork, organising appointments, doing therapies, planning Ella’s next goal – the list goes on!
The nights we get no sleep because she’s woken up covered in vomit for seemingly no reason, and the extra loads of washing the next day because of it.
The random meltdowns because I’ve missed a cue and she can’t communicate what’s wrong, not to mention therapies, exercises, dressing, feeding, toileting, nappies, bathing, cleaning, washing her bedding at least twice a week, being constantly aware of the next ‘thing’.
I literally have a filing cabinet that is full of just Ella’s medical and therapy paperwork. Paperwork to get her the assistance she needs, for funding, for schooling, medical history from surgeries, treatment and Specialists, proof of diagnosis, referrals to different hospitals or doctors, therapists notes, keeping track of equipment.
Now that she’s at school I do have more time, but finding someone to employ me is another story – lets do the math.
This isn’t even factoring in Reece, the cost of day care 5 days a week, or days he would need off due to sickess etc.
Ella can’t just go to any occasional care, I can’t work holidays, so that leaves 190 (ish) school days in a year. Last year Ella had 32 days off either because she was sick or had appointments elsewhere. So that leaves 158 days of the year I’m available to work, oh, only between the hours of 9 and 3:30 only. Joel works most Saturdays and I don’t have anyone else that can look after Ella, I don’t have anyone that I can call to pick her up from the bus if I’m held up. I just don’t have that support.
I would need to find a very flexible employer that only needs me during those times, and wont sack me for the month or so of days I would have to call in sick, or leave early if the school calls. Any takers? anyone?
On top of that, I get people judging our choice for me to stay home.
I hate the amount of times I get asked “so when are you going back to work?” – and ‘the look’ I get when I say I’m not and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Women these days are expected to juggle everything, work, mum, keeping up a house and for some, like me, t’s just not worth it.
I know I’m a complete hypocrite. I wanted this to be about why I don’t think anyone should have to explain their parenting choices, and yet, I just spent 3 paragraphs explaining myself to a bunch of strangers on the internet, and why?
I do have guilt, I think no matter the choice all mums question if they’re doing the right thing. There’s endless guilt of if I should be working, or how can I do more.
At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter why I don’t work outside the home, or why another mother does because guess what!?
It’s nobody else’s business!
We make the choices that are right for us and that’s all anybody needs to know.
Putting all the ‘excuses’ for why I don’t work aside, I love being a stay at home mum, and I fucking rock at it. I can just feel feminists shock horror at the thought but that’s my choice.
I (mostly) love being there for my kids, day in and day out.
Is it incredibly hard? Yep!
Are there days where I don’t speak to another adult and go stir crazy? sure!
Are there times I wish I could drop them off and go to work just to get out of the house for a while? you bet!
But for the most part, I like being suzie fucking homemaker.
I enjoy making Joel’s and Ella’s lunches, and being the one to pick Ella up from the bus stop, and greeting Joel when he gets home.
I enjoy meal planning dinners each week, I feel proud when Joel tells me he appreciates the effort I put into our home, making it spotless. I feel really good when Joel walks in the door and smells that I’ve been baking so he goes looking for cookies or cake lol
I feel accomplished when all the washing is washed, dried and put away all on the same day.
So yes, I’m just a mum, but I’m also so much more, and I’m damn proud of it.
Motherhood isn’t ‘one size fits all’
If you stay at home, if you work, or somewhere in between it doesn’t matter, you rock.
If we could let go of the guilt and judgement and just support each other we’d all be a hell of a lot happier.