Some only dream and think about it but, it was unattainable because of finances. For others, the dream to be stay at home mums is unattainable because their spouses insisted that the the family would not have only one breadwinner.
Some women were advised by their female friends to not dare leave their jobs and stay at home because it did not go well for them. Such testimonies made them shelve the idea altogether.
There is, however, a lucky group that was able to actualize this dream and actually made it work for everyone involved.
Beth Atiavila Mudaki is one such mum and she tells us more in this exclusive interview with Afromum.com.
Beth got married on June 28, 2014, to an international school educator. Soon after, the couple was blessed with twin daughter. When asked if she always wanted to be a stay at home mum, she says it was something she would consider in her marriage.
So why would an upwardly mobile professional choose to stay at home and raise her child at the expense of her career?
“I am a teacher, caregiver and I devote all my time and attention to other people’s children. I wanted to accord my own children this luxury,” says Beth.
She did not make the decision on her own but involved her husband, who agreed to compensate her for as long as she chose to raise their children at home.
“It was a win-win arrangement for both of us,” she adds.
While some stay at home mums still hire househelps to help with house chores, Beth does not have one, after having a horrible experience the only time she tried to hire one.
“Secondly, I live outside my home country and because of cultural differences I didn’t feel comfortable having foreign help,” she tells us.
Being a stay at home mum comes with its own challenges and high on Beth’s list is attachment issues since you are used to be the one running the show.
“Since you are always in the house you also forget to take care of yourself or leave for a short time,” she says adding that there were times she felt that her spouse was not being as hands-on as she would have liked.
On the flipside, staying at home to take care of her children enabled the mother of two to give her babies the care she wanted them to have.
“You are accountable for everything and therefore, take the best care of them as you can. It’s a beautiful feeling and is quite natural. You also don’t miss out on major milestones of your children. You give your children a gift that can only benefit them and their further development under your job eye is very satisfying. Finally, you minimize expenses of paying for outside help and the stress that comes along with it.”
One of the problems that plague stay at home mums is lack of finances. Beth says while they were fortunate enough not to strain financially, they had to cut back on a lot of luxuries and to stay sensibly within their normal lifestyle. She has never wished to go back to work.
Beth has also had to deal with pressure from friends and family, who often feel like she is wasting her life by staying at home.
“I financially support quite a few people and they naturally felt I should have continued working. I did what was best for me and as a lesson of motherhood, one has to learn to care for themselves first, then others.
“Luckily those closest to me encouraged it and adjusted accordingly. I have never felt like I was left behind by peers. Progress is defined differently by different people. Staying at home to care for my children is a far more prestigious opportunity than a promotion at work to me, so, nothing someone can say would make me wish otherwise. It depends on priorities of an individual I suppose.”
A typical day for the homemaker entails waking up at 6 am, working out for an hour before preparing breakfast for her babies and husband. The children wake up at 7.20 and, by then, her husband has taken his breakfast and helps to feed them before leaving for work at 7.30.
Once he leaves, she clears the space, changes the babies and puts on their one hour a day TV time from 8.00am. They watch and dance and sing as she performs her morning chores (the babies are enclosed in a small, safe area during this time near the TV and within view from the kitchen.)
“At 9 am, TV goes off and I play with them for half an hour. I put them down for a nap at 9.30 and then continue with my other house chores. They wake up at 10.30 to 11 am and I spend this time doing my yoga practice (as part of a course I am undertaking) while they play around me and do their own things,” she explained
“I feed them at noon and then we play or read a book or do whatever we want. They take their milk at 2 pm and go for their second nap. I read a book, do some online work, respond to mail, watch some TV or nap. They wake up at about 4 pm. I give them a snack, water and put them in their play area while I go on to prepare their dinner and ours too, she continues.
Their dad comes home at about 4.40. He plays with them while the mum sets the table. The two of them have dinner at 5 pm while they play.
“He takes them out for their evening walk and playtime in the garden at 5.30. This gives me time to reset the house, put their toys away and put my feet up. They come back at 6.30. We feed them and play with them after that. We bathe them at 7.20 and read them a story then put them down at around 7.50 with their final bottle,” adds Beth.
My husband cleans up space as I rush to my yoga class or gym or dinner or a shower etc. I go to bed
So far the family does not have any regrets and plan to do it for subsequent kids.
Key lessons on being a stay at home mum from the Mudakis
- Assess your priorities. If your career has a stronger hold on you then don’t do it. If you would like to resume work after a certain time and feel that staying at home will stop you from doing that and maybe cause resentment, don’t do it.
- Have a balance and engage yourself with other things you like while being a stay at home mum, this will keep you sane.
- Make sure your spouse is supportive of the idea and willing to be as helpful as he can. I would highly recommend a written or verbal agreement of a monthly financial arrangement that ensures you have some money for yourself.
- Remember, this is a beautiful gift and can only make sense if you truly want to give it, otherwise, didn’t do it. It’s difficult and can be frustrating at times and if your desire to do it is weak, you’ll not survive the tough times and might end up creating problems for your children and other family members.
Advice to the husbands of stay at home mums
- Just because your wife is staying at home to care for the children doesn’t mean she doesn’t need help. You must be hands on.
- You must be supportive. Please compensate her financially if you can.
- She needs emotional help as well for she is foregoing all her needs for the well being of your children. Remember to give her off time (I get Saturday off) to be other things and spend time with herself and her passions.