SAHM I am. I am also a wife, writer, cook, chauffeur, social director, tutor, nurse, emergency services and . . . well you get the idea. However, no matter how much a stay at home mother does it seems that there are five myths that still manage to hang over her head.
We stay at home.
No, we don't stay at home. We may not go to work in the traditional sense of the word but we sure as heck don't "stay home." Maybe the term "stay in the car mom" may be more accurate. We drive to schools (hopefully carpooling but that is a subject for another time); to the library , to the store for groceries and last minute homework and project items, to the post office, doctor office, dentist office, park, play dates, and volunteering in the community, school or church. Add to that many of us also work from home, no matter if it is a pet sitter or a Mary Kay consultant but that still means we are not really at home.
We aren't allowed to say no.
This myth I am afraid is one that we bring upon ourselves. Because we stay home we find it hard to say, "No" to being everyone else's "go to" person. Need a volunteer to work at the school? "Ask Joanie; she stays home." Need someone to pick up your sick kid from school? "Ask Angela; she stays home." I have even been asked to take a neighbor's elderly mother to the Social Security office, which would require an entire day of just sitting there, but after all "I'm home." Moms, it is ok to say "No" and these tips can help you say "No" in the nicest possible way.
Our house should always look perfect, and we don't need any help getting it that way.
The worst part of this myth is that SAHMs don't need any help to get these jobs done. Even a SAHM needs help keeping up with the household cooking, cleaning, laundry, and yard work. After all, since we stay home, our house gets more use. In my house the children play in one room, and while I finish cleaning it up they move on to the next. By the end of the night it seems like all I did was follow them around the house making sure that everything was cleaned up after being used. With SAHMs more meals are made at home, which means more cooking and cleaning of the kitchen and trash. Some are fortunate enough to be able to hire that help in the form of a housekeeper or gardener, and others have to ask Dad to chip in, but no matter what we all need a little help now and then. If you know a SAHM that gets a little extra help, don't begrudge them that. After all, you clean the house and everyone leaves, you return it's still clean (unless the teens arrived home before you). I know because I miss the days of returning home to a clean house.
We have it easy.
Did you know that you have it "easy?" You get to sleep in (even though you were up before the children to make sure everyone got out the door) and you don't have to go to work (even though as soon as everyone leaves you start working on a project, the house or in the community). No, being a SAHM isn't easy but for many that choose to stay at home you can be sure we aren't sitting on the couch, eating chocolate and watching soap operas all day. After all, how could we be doing that if our house is supposed to be "perfect?"
We have "mommy brains."
It is true many of us will say the word "potty" when speaking to adults. Others may mention their child's eating or diaper habits far too often in conversation for comfort. But we do have another side to our brains. We stay up to date on current events. We aren't "wasting" our education, but hope to use our experiences and education in a new and better way. We organize book clubs, fitness dates and provide each other with a sounding board on new projects both in our home and community. Don't underestimate the power of the "mommy brain" because you never know exactly when that interest in our children, home and community may lead to the next great invention or influence the public.
So, lift the myth and the next time you meet a "SAHM I am," remember that she too has an important part to play in her home, her church, her children's lives and her community.
Read more from this contributor:Three Tips to Get You Back into Motherhood and Out of "Mom-petition"