SAHMthing different 

Some people have been contacting me and making enquiries because they’ve heard a part of a story from somewhere or other so I’m just putting this out there from the outset… I’ve applied for a further year off work. Leave without pay. 12 months only. I have not quit my job.

I have been loving the experience of motherhood so much and I’m so greedy for time with my darling daughter that I’m not prepared to give some stranger the pleasure of seeing her milestones while I miss out. Oh, and have to pay them for the privilege. No sir. That’s not what I want.

Me as a youngster in the front yard of my babysitter’s house circa 1977. (I mostly just loved the Pekingese)

This has not been an easy decision to make. Particularly now as we are in the position of having to sell our house and refinance. Two incomes would actually solve a great many issues. We have chosen to go without so that I can have this precious time with my daughter.

At this point I have to say just how grateful I am to my wonderful fiancé for making this choice with me. It means he is the sole provider for our family. It puts a greater stress on our family to do this but we both feel that it’s a worthwhile endeavour.

When I was a child both my parents worked, unlike many of the kids I went to school with. Their mothers were around for tuckshop duty or to come on excursions or attend class Masses. Not my mum. She was at work. I was dropped off to school around 8am (long before most kids arrived) and I was picked up by my babysitter and taken to her place until Mum could collect me around 5:30pm.

Mum’s sacrifice began long before my school years, however. I had the same babysitter since before I was a year old. She was the one who got to see me grow from baby to toddler to child and almost to adolescent (she looked after me until I was 10 years old). My mother had no choice but to work. And no choice but to entrust my care to a woman whose greatest asset was her availability and convenient location.

This woman was not my first babysitter. No, that honour went to an Italian lady who lived near us who had a son not much older than I was. It was an ideal setting. She was a nice lady and I would have a little playmate. However, my parents hadn’t factored in that the nice Italian lady spoke Italian in the home. It was all brought to an end when I was coming home from the babysitter with my first words in a language that nobody in my family spoke!

I know just how hard it was for my parents to hand me over to someone else to care for me and, in many ways, raise me. As I have grown older and been able to reflect on my upbringing I have come to know that the person entrusted with that role would not likely have been my parents’ first choice…had there been choices. There was only the choice to go to work and earn the income they did to keep the family fed and clothed. That was their sacrifice. They did all they could to make sure we had what we needed. I know that and I love them for that.

I am making a different choice. I am choosing to spend time with my daughter. To raise her as her father and I want her to be raised. To create a safe and happy environment so that she will have a sense of security and know that she is loved.

This will mean a very different sacrifice. I am sacrificing financial security certainly in the short term and probably in the long term (considering superannuation, etc). I could well be sacrificing my career…certainly the momentum of my career. Yet, I am happy to do this because I believe that the rewards far outweigh the costs. Life will be hard but I am both scared and energised by the challenges ahead.

I’m just going to end this by saying that in writing this post I have unearthed some feelings about my past and my future that I would like to explore in future posts. Right now, I’m just content to leave it at that. We can dig deeper into my soul some other time.

*SAHM = Stay At Home Mum

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5 Responses to SAHMthing different 

  1. Laurel says:

    Fi, this is a subject very close to my heart, hence the long reply here rather than on Facebook!

    I am not surprised to read this post, although I know what a big decision it must be for you. Every word and photo you have posted since Roisin’s birth has shown the total love you and Sean have for your daughter – I thought only the other week ” Fi is going to find it awfully hard to go back to work, I wonder if she will?” This is a hard choice for you in many ways, not only financially but probably also because the expectation these days seems to have moved so far towards going back to work and child care. I believe in choice for every family, and will back them even if that choice differs from mine, and as you point not everyone has a choice, we are lucky if we do. I do think it is sad that it almost seems to have to be justified to be a stay at home mum these days, but that’s another whole topic!

    I really just want to let you know that one of the things I am most grateful for in my life is that I could be at home with my kids as they grew up – yes, it meant very little money at times, especially when Rich started his own business when we had 2 little ones. It’s surprising how little you can get by on when you have the time to plan, shop, cook etc. It meant I did not follow a “paid” career path, and I know some people think I have wasted my degree and intelligence by not doing so – I disagree, but that’s also another story. But it also meant less stress and more time (for both of us), and the precious precious priceless time with my babies. As you already know, they grow up so fast. I am so happy for you both that you are following your hearts, I truly believe you will be glad of this all your life. Enjoy!

    • seanmurgatroyd says:

      Thank you Laurel. I haven’t found Fi to be any less brilliant since being at home with Ró. I suspect unfortunately some see things they don’t understand and decide they must be unintelligent things to do.

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