Thursday, 14 April 2016

BEING A STAY AT HOME MUM

Being a stay at home mum was never a question for us when I was pregnant. It may sound old fashioned and dated, but Lewis and I both automatically assumed I would stay at home with Freya once she was born and he would go to work and bring home the bacon. I suppose it helped that I wasn't working anyway at the time I fell pregnant, so we didn't have to worry about finding childcare so I could go back to work or worry about how much maternity leave we could afford for me to take. I know I'm at risk of sounding anti-equality/anti-feminism/anti-a lot of things here, but to be honest, staying at home and looking after my babies is all I've ever wanted to do.

I remember being thirteen and in secondary school and we were all talking about what we'd like to be when we were older. I went to a grammar school so there was lots of talk about being a doctor or a lawyer, and all I could think was 'I want to be a mum'. I want to know what it feels like to carry a human life inside of my body. I want to experience those 2am wake up calls for milk and those snuggly back-to-sleep cuddles. I want to be able to call my partner over to feel my tummy when our baby is kicking, and watch a teeny tiny human grow into a wonderful person. I rarely said this out loud, of course. Being a mum was something we were made to think should become part of your life in your thirties, when we'd been to university and found a career path we love or spent the best part of our twenties travelling and bringing good to poorer parts of the world.

Being a stay at home mum is a luxury I know many mama's would love to have. I know I'm incredibly lucky being able to spend all day every day with my baby, and I love doing so. Even in those moments when Freya has been crying for thirty minutes straight and I need to set her down and take five minutes to myself, I know some working mums would love to be the one to sooth their unsettled babe. Admittedly though, I don't get much time to myself. I have to eat and drink as and when I can, a lot of the time I have to bring Freya to the toilet with me and I can't remember the last time I managed to drink a hot drink while it was still hot. But it really is such a blessing.
I've been able to witness my daughter hit every one of her milestones so far, and I get to see countless gummy grins every day. But I also get to hand her over to her daddy at 6pm every evening and cook dinner which I find extremely relaxing. I get to catch up on my housework when I have a spare few minutes and I get to spend all day in my pyjamas if that's what I choose to do.
 Don't get me wrong though, being a stay at home mum can be hard.

I have people asking me what I do all day when my washing pile is the same size as it was the day before, or why it's got to 7pm and I haven't managed to cook dinner yet. I have to plan any errands and the rest of my day around Freya's napping and feeding schedule, and I sometimes get it wrong which ends up in a Costa Coffee meltdown for the both of us. I have to expect the media occasionally representing me as a 'benefits scrounger' when I don't receive any benefits and I have to accept that some people will view me as having failed at achieving my goals because I'm 19 and stay at home with my baby. I've even had strangers tell me I've let down all those great women who burnt their bras so we could have the vote.
But who cares. Why should we care what other people think of how we live our lives? I don't care whether you breast or bottle feed your baby. I don't care whether you serve your children chicken nuggets every day or you prefer giving them kale, and I don't care whether you're a stay at home mum or a working mum. None of it matters. As long as our babies are all fed, clean and content who bloody cares. 
I can't change what people think about me and my lifestyle, and I can't change what people will think in the future. Live your life the way you want to and don't worry about what other people think. I know that's what I'm doing, and I also know I'm the happiest I've ever been. Can't be just a coincidence, can it? 

Keep doing what you're doing, mama's

Thanks for reading, 

Grace x