It’s the 21st Century, women who are working outside of the home is not an unexpected trend to society anymore. Many households with children have two full-time working parents - it’s not uncommon. However, what did become more uncommon (at first) were women choosing to stay home AND work. Since home-based business became more popular during the late 80’s and into the 90’s, gathering women together to have parties and sell goods, was the thing to do!
It was convenient, it got housewives and stay at home moms out to socialize, and women earned money doing these parties. So, with all the perks of staying home with the kids and having the opportunity to earn money without leaving them, I decided to start my own business.
So, why did I feel so alone and quite frankly… single; even though I was married?
My husband had a full-time job and mine was a full-time job at home with the kids and now a way to earn money from home working in my business. The same responsibilities apply whether or not we both work away from home or one chooses to stay home. There’s food to be made, kids to bathe, a house to clean, and time to spend together. Of course, I thought it’d be a joint effort, but as the years went by, I felt belittled about my role as a “Stay At Home Mom” with a “hobby”.
A hobby? According to the business plan, it wasn’t a hobby. Sure, it took a financial investment in the beginning, unlike a traditional job, however, it’s intention was to bring in income like a job. But I didn’t feel like my “job” was as significant, taken seriously, or even supported by my husband. I asked for his support and he undeniably said he did. However, I didn’t feel it.
This on again, off again, back and forth argument about what ‘support’ meant didn’t help the issue on the home front. After he was “done” with work, he stopped ‘working’. It’s like once he’s home, there’s nothing to do but relax and wait for the next ‘work’ day. But for me, I’m still cooking till it’s dark; I’m still corralling kids into the bath and bed well after 10 pm at night after fighting with them to pick up their messes. Then, I’m on call from midnight to 7 am when my ‘work day’ begins yet again. When is my “work” done?
But I didn’t say anything. I was casually asked,
What did you DO all day? Nothing seems to have changed.
Which I took as meaning: Why isn’t the house cleaned up? Why isn’t dinner ready within the next 5-10 minutes? Why is the baby getting into the cupboards if you are supposed to be watching him?
I answered… I took some time to work on my business. Which usually ended up with something like, well, if you can’t keep up with the kids and the house, you probably should quit. You’re not making money anyway, it’s just costing money.
So, where’s the help I need as if I was working outside of the home as well? Where’s the joint effort? Why am I married if I’m doing everything myself?
I felt as though I might as well be a single mom without the condescending “home life” I’m supposed to be happy in.
Here’s what I learned over the years: Not very many women are willing to share their feelings about the busy-balancing act we face when we take on kids, marriage, the home, and a business we desire to grow. We can talk and complain about the woes of motherhood and the uncooperative children who suck the life out of our days limiting our ability to get the business off the ground.
But what I found that I could not talk about was my strained marriage relationship and the deeper emotional struggles I was going through. Which lead me to think about life without my husband. Our disconnect with how we wanted to raise our children together, and my struggle with sharing how I felt about not ‘handling’ everything on my plate was just too much.
You see, I had the assumption that if I can’t “do it all” then I have to give up something and obviously, it’s not the kids, cleaning, or cooking. Though, I secretly DID have moments of I wish I didn’t have to “MOM” all the time. Assuming that if I shared how I felt, needing his physical help with everything, then I wouldn’t be ‘cut out’ to handle the home, kids, and business, and I should just ‘quit’.
And there were times… yeah, he concluded, I shouldn’t do anything else, I’m “busy” enough.
Not very encouraging from the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and live out your dreams with.
I shifted my mindset, he became my #1 fan, supporter, and lover.
Now with nine kids in the mix and number ten on the way…he couldn’t be more prouder, honored, and blessed to have my business as part of my life. And I'm HAPPY to do this "mom" thang!
No, it’s not because of the financial gains that he changed his attitude about it. It’s because I stopped assuming he wouldn’t understand, and I stood my ground on my desires for my life that was not tailored around solely our children. And, I didn’t give up on US.
I may have felt like a single mom, but it doesn’t mean I actually was.
You see, many of us moms can so easily get caught up in the lies and misconceptions that if we don’t put our home, husbands, and especially our kids ahead of our own desires we’re being selfish busy-body women. So, we make up for it by being at EVERY sporting event. Giving in to EVERY new device and technology they want. Submit to EVERY little whim they ask for. Because if you ‘balance’ the scale of what you want and what they get… it seems equal… right?
No… it’s really not. Because at the end of the day, you’re still burnt out, feeling unappreciated, and your family still demands even more of you.
Hence… trying to get rid of the mom-guilt feeling because you’d rather work than play Candyland. “Here honey, play on your phone.”
I got caught up in that lifestyle and I was miserable trying to prove myself based upon what I assumed he would never accept: my human inability & sanity to handle everything.
I gave up that mindset and just stopped living my life based upon my kids.
- I left the house messy and didn’t apologize for it. Rather I pointed to the kid responsible for that task.
- I assigned chores that I wouldn’t do and those that I would.
- I asked what my husband would do on his days off or what days during the week he would assist with the kids and home.
- I asked anyway and told him I needed that kind of support because we have a lot of freakin’ kids and I don’t have to do it all myself.
I don’t HAVE TO do it all myself. There’s nothing to PROVE.
I became thankful for every little task that I didn’t have to do. I didn’t think – well it’s about time. I just felt grateful.
Jeff became more aware and grateful. He became more aware of my desires and why I had these passions to grow a business.
He became aware of who his wife was…not the stay-at-home-mom he married.
He loves that woman and serves me like I serve him as we raise our children together.
Being single… is the day ALL of our kids finally fly the coop and live their own lives. That’s when I'll feel "single" as a couple (and on date nights!).
Photo Credits: AndiL.