Tuesday, 9 June 2009

More than a Mummy.

I've added an edit at the bottom...
I was thinking this would be something that I just stash away in the drafts as therapy but my bloggy friend Lisa over at Boondock Ramblings has started a "thing" called Chime In. I have no idea what to call it coz I'm not up with the bloggy lingo thus I dub it a "thing". I'm not sure this is exactly what she had in mind but it was half written and seemed to fit close enough with her theme of "Stay at home Versus Working mums" no, it's not a showdown, or a no holds barred fight, just a bloggy conversation of sorts.

I've been mulling this over in my head for ages... Is there more to life than being a Mummy? Should I want more than to "just" be a mummy?

A friend said she wants to be more than her kids mum. I figured it was normal, I am sure some people felt that way, I didn't. Then at bible study it came up and someone without kids asked if it's normal to want to be more than just a mummy. Everyone nodded their heads and made comments along the lines of "yeah, I think everyone feels that way at some point". Well, I guess if that's the way it is then I'm just not at that point yet... and I have found that there are a few others out there who aren't either.

So some women go back to work, I can see how you can miss work (really I can, I have on occasions but always figured that going back to work wouldn't even pay for the childcare so we'd be worse off and what I am doing at home is WAY more important that any job I could have). Some women want to study, some call it craving knowledge and some call it bettering themselves or something else, I can see how that is attractive too, but it's not for me at the moment. I do Tupperware, but it was for a purpose and now that that purpose is not achievable anymore I will probably drop it (or drop back to the minimum sales because as Wolf said he knows that I will still buy Tupperware and it'll be cheaper if I can keep my discount).

This is why I am happy being "Lion and Dragon's Mummy" (yes, I secretly love it when I get called that)... Let me just drivel on about my thoughts on this for a bit.

When we were talking about getting pregnant the first time we discussed what our options would be post birth. Would I stay home for a time then go back to work, would I work from home if possible, would I be a stay at home mum and not return to work for the foreseeable future, would Wolf be a stay at home dad???? So many options and questions and different things to weigh up before we made a decision. I realise that things are different in Australia to other countries so our benefits for single income families are really pretty good, our "free" health care system means that we won't miss out on needed health care if we need to drop our private cover, all this is personal stuff for our family at the moment, not a judgement on what is right or wrong.

We decided that the most important thing was that we were the ones raising our child. We would have to make sacrifices to do this but if God was making us responsible for one of his precious children then we needed to do our best. Then Lion was born... I REALLY understood how some women could want to go back to work, this mummy thing was hard. Work was a breeze compared to being a mummy. Thankfully I knew how to do Wolf's job and could step in for him if he needed me to. Some Saturdays I would go to work and let Wolf be the stay at home dad. I only needed one week to know I couldn't do this full time but it was a little break for both of us. Sometimes if he had a really tough week we would switch roles on the Saturday so that he could spend time with his "little man" and I could go and relieve the pressure at work (Saturdays can attract all the crazies). Some weekends we would all go to work and Lion would sit in a plastic crate on a trolley and watch us work or he would sleep (yep, in the plastic crate) and make me wish I was at home asleep too but we got family time amongst the books and music and customers and stuff. Thankfully work settled down eventually so Wolf didn't need to work 6 days a week and could share the Saturdays with other available staff and we got some weekends to spend together at home.

Even through all the rough stuff at the start with Lion's reflux, 2 hours of broken sleep a night (on a good night), nappies like you would not believe (caused by an intolerance we hadn't found out about yet) and other such excitement I still didn't want to be anything more than "Lion's Mummy". I had a job offer that was still standing and was great money, I could have gone back at any time to my old job too but weighing up the sacrifice of our family versus sacrifice for our family we always came back to sacrificing for our family. There were comments from the big boss "when mummy McT comes back to work..." but we made it clear over and over again that this would not be our only child so it wasn't a case of "wait till he's in kindy and she'll be back", it was a long term commitment to our family and raising our children the way that we felt God wanted us to.

Now back to being "just a mummy"... I am not "just" a mummy. I am their teacher, their first-aid administrator, their private chef, their voice of reason, their self esteem builder, their mediator, their feminine influence, their construction site foreman, their daddy liaison (yes, they need him to be their mummy liaison too sometimes), their interpreter, their comforter. I explain the way the world works to them and I soften the blow with a cuddle and gentle words when they find out that it's not quite as wonderful as they thought. I get the joy of reminding them to talk to God about anything and everything. I get the frustration of watching them forget that as brothers they need to have each others back. I am learning as they learn (who knew a catalytic converter cleans the waste gasses coming out of a car???), and I am working, oh boy am I working. I am not just a mummy, I am Lion and Dragon and Peach Blossom's Mummy and frankly, they probably could have done a lot better than me but God thought that I was best for this job so I am going to give it my all.

We don't want the values our children learn coming from a daycare centre. We don't want them to learn right and wrong from someone else. We don't want them to feel like they don't know when we are working/studying/whatever because the line between home and work is so blurred. We want them to come to us when someone hurts their feelings, we want to be there when the just want a hug for no reason at all, we want to be raising our boys to be men that we can be proud to call ours and that are godly husbands to some lucky women some day.

I have so little time with them. I know I am with them all day every day but really, they are going to start forming their own opinions soon (well, they already are actually but nothing big yet) and I want those opinions to be shaped by what they have been taught in our home.

I have so much more to say but I don't want to go on forever... I have repeated myself and I have left stuff out... It's all in my brain but getting it out on "paper" is harder than I expected.

I'm not saying that you can't have a job and still do these things or you cant do more study and still turn out a morally upstanding child or you can't want more for yourself without wanting less for your child. I'm just saying that I don't need those things, I don't know if it's right now or if I'll be fine being mummy forever, but I am Mummy McTavish and I am a very proud stay at home Mummy!
My little men of God "testing the water"

Comment if you wish but like I said, this was going to be left in the drafts just for me but I decided to share it for Lisa's Chime In post this week. I am not after assurance that I am doing the right thing or to be chastised for doing the wrong thing, this is a post for me. If you agree, that's wonderful that we share a common passion, if you disagree, then we may just have to agree to disagree, I hope that doesn't disappoint you.

Edited June 11th to add: I knew Lisa's Chime In was supposed to be about Stay at Home VS Working Mums and the main point I originally wanted to make was not so I fiddled with what I had to make it better fit the theme. The point I originally wanted to make was...

I am happy being JUST a Mummy. So please, Society, stop telling me that I should want "more" for myself than to be just a mummy. What more is there? What can you offer me through education, vocation, etc that is worth more than the lives of my little boys? My "life" may be on hold in your eyes while I wipe noses and make peanut butter sandwiches but to me this is THE LIFE. I am fortunate to be living this life, I will not crave for your approval. Society, please move on, harrass someone else and leave mummies alone, you need not bother us anymore. Thank you.

That one paragraph was probably more the therapy I needed than the rest of the post. I don't care much what path anyone else takes (working vs stay at home) and I wont try to change anyones mind because I don't know what their lives are like. I just don't think we need all the pressure that we get from society.

This edit has not come from any of the comments written, just from me mulling over what I had written and reading other blogs and articles on the subject and realising that I lost my main point along the way.


  1. Very beautifully put! It just boils down to everyone doing what is right for their family, doesn't it? I, too, stay home with my littles ones. I feel very blessed, but it has not been without sacrifice.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Mrs. Nurse Boy

  2. It's kind of funny that you just wrote this because I've been mulling around a somewhat similar post in my mind for the last week as I contemplate the fact that I need to find a job soon :(

  3. BTW, you have been tagged!

    Mrs. Nurse Boy

  4. I was chiming in with my own thoughts on this, but it was turning into a whole post! I echo an earlier comment about doing what's right for your family. For some, it may mean working outside the home. I personally think having one parent stay home is the best thing for children, even though both my husband and I continued to work outside the home. I did take a part-time job seven years ago, so I could be home in the afternoons. Now I teach. Although it still demands hours and hours of my time, I have the summer at home, which is wonderful and gives me precious time with my daughter.


  5. If only we could cut through the financial pressure and the social pressures and the false perceptions of the much of the community. Then Mums could gauge their own true feelings about parenting without any external noise confusing the issue. Maybe a lot more women would find they can really enjoy bringing up kids.

  6. I completely agree that it's a family by family thing... and then for some families on top of that it's a month by month or year by year thing as the ecomomy and family dynamics allow. I also agree that the world view of "you must be working or studying to be worth anything as a person" makes it hard for mums to know what they really feel, and some will still feel that they need to work or study and some would be released from that and feel free to stay at home and be a mum.

    I'm pretty sure that if we lived in the US on whatever the comparable wage to what we live on here is we would never be able to be in our own home and I would be forced back to work in some capacity just to make ends meet. It's the way our different ecomomies and health and welfare systems work. Then again, I shared at Bible study this morning about God's provision for us even when our budget said we couldnt make it.

    Now I've written another whole post here in the comments.

  7. Great post! I love being a SAHM and wouldn't trade it for the world! Yes, there are days it is down right tough and exhausting, but I am so thankful to be at home!
    I love what you said about having so little time with them! Boy, have I been seeing that lately!

    Thanks for sharing! :-)

  8. This is a great post. So sorry it took me awhile to get back over to comment. I started to read it, then finished it but things have been crazy with home and work stuff. Last night I lost my phone, Jonathan wouldn't go to bed and .... well, there ya' go. Life is crazy working outside the home or working as a mama at home. then there are moms who work outside the home and keep right on working when they get home, working for their family. Dang, though, I'm tired just reading all that you and Wolf do. And I think it is great that you are doing what you feel God wants you to do. I don't feel God is ready to move me from where I am now, but I know one thing -- if we have a second child, we will not be able to afford child care even with two jobs, so staying home might be the better option.

    Also, you are linked up for tomorrow! :-) Thanks for Chiming In. I think you did a great job explaining your personal experience!

  9. "I do Tupperware, but it was for a purpose...."

    I would think most working women feel they are doing it for a purpose.

    I take my hat off of mums who work outside the home and still come home and work more, or those who run a business from home. I don't know how they do it and keep their sanity, and I am so glad I don't have too.

  10. @Mum-me - I thought that sounded a bit confusing when I wrote it. My meaning was that it wasn't to make me feel more useful or for personal reasons like bettering myself or anything. It was an economic decision as a cheap way to get the bigger/second car we needed but now the company cars are harder for the small-time demonstrators to achieve I doubt it's worth having that goal anymore. I know that lots of women work solely for the economic reasons and would love to quit today and never go back.

    I love all the creative ways mums come up with to have that 'best of both worlds' income plus home with the kids scenario, I love it that they all seem to want to share it too. I'm taking my hat off along with you to all the mums that work in and out of the home it's a full time job on top of a full time job! I praise God that I don't have to either and that Wolf sees the value of a stay at home mum. That's another thing I didn't put in the post, quite a few of my friends have been told by their husbands to return to work even when they don't want or need to.

  11. I think you nailed the point! God has given you the gift of children, but with that gift comes responsibility. You, their parents, are responsible for their lives, their choices, their morals and their relationship with God.
    And sacrifice isn't a word this generation is used to. Keep on bucking society's model for women! Feminisim hasn't done the family many favours!
    Love your work!!
    Jillian. =)

  12. I think this is of course a family by family decision. But it's true that you have them for such a little time. And parenting is a full time job that is best done by the child's carer - be that mum/dad/grandparent etc.
    We are fortunate enough that Brett and I both work part-time so one of us is always around for the boys. I don't think I would be as comfortable working if Brett wasn't available. I work for the intellectual stimulation and that me working part-time allows Brett to work part-time in a low paying job that is close to home and has flexible times.
    That said there is lots to find stimulating with kids and caring for them.
    I think my work benefits from me being a mum. The mums certainly like being scanned by someone who has children themselves. And work places are often better off for females influences.
    Things change and the kids are certainly the first priority.
    I really appreciated your post.
    God bless your little family!

  13. I have just added an extra bit to the bottom of this post:)

    Thanks for all your comments!!!

  14. Yay for mummies!

    I'm glad I am in a position to stay home full time. Some women legitimately aren't (other's just think they aren't).
    Though some days, like yesterday, I can understand why some women want to go back to work. I swear some days 26 grade eights would be a walk in the park compared to one two-year-old WHO NEVER SHUTS UP. (though i should be thankful, we get a lot less tantrums because he talks so well.)
    My brain won't stay still enough not to do "non-mummy" things. That's why I 'attempt' to write music, challenge myself on the piano, teach piano, read copious amounts of books/articles, and am trying to write a book. We're all different, that's just me.

  15. I'm much the same as you - I couldn't imagine being anything else but a stay-at-home mum - I love it!! I did find it really difficult after Zai to stay at home full time (I even went back to work p/t after my 12 months maternity leave was up). It was just too difficult leaving my gorgous boy even for that time. I guess everyones different, so even though I know some people can't understand why I would want to stay at home & not pursue my professional career - I can't understand their decisions. - you sure have some interesting comments (I just read them above) - great topic!

  16. Your post was well said.

    I don't struggle with being discontent just being a mommy, but I do sometimes slip into defining myself by my children. That is wrong thinking. I am who I am in Christ alone.


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