Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Becoming Full Time Housewife/Mother: The Transition

A couple months ago, I have finally started living the role that I thought would not be playing so soon – a full time staying-at-home-wife (and soon-to-be Mom, for the time being). I knew that this phase will eventually happen to me but I thought it would come much later.

Another life transition for me.  

A little story about my dream

When I was younger, I have never envisaged the likelihood of assuming housewife title in my adult life. I was raised in an environment where married women with children somehow still managed to earn money and make significant financial contribution to their households while raising their children at the same time. My own grandmothers and mother are the perfect instances for this. I thought I could do the same.

My then grand visions (post-school graduation) were working in an office located in one of high-rise buildings in a metropolitan city, wearing business suit for work every day, doing OT as part of the job, travelling overseas for business trips, meeting high-profile individuals from around the world, becoming the company’s top performer, hitting my bonus target as often as I could, etc. Basically, leading eventful working life and becoming a true career woman, which I ultimately did when I lived in Singapore for 4 years. Married life and family life after marriage didn’t really come into the picture so vividly.

Who knew when I found my better half, I was willing to shatter all my dreams and voluntarily trade all the above to this entity called, (building) a family in a total new place? From a full time working executive in Singapore, I turned to a freelancer in Malaysia (when I first moved here until recently) and now slowly adjusting my life to fit a role as a full-time staying-at-home-wife and mother when my baby arrives.

Why becoming a stay-at-home- wife/mother?

My decision to becoming a full time housewife is a well thought and discussed choice. Other than the fact that it is challenging for me to find a suitable full-time job in a place where I reside now and working in an office out of town every day is out of question; my husband and I agree that we both want to be around our child as much as possible after she is born. I understand that being good parents is not an easy job and there is undeniably a lot of learning for my husband and I to do, but I’d very much love to watch our baby grow up in my care, particularly during her pivotal first few years. 

We have alternatives to hire nanny’s or day care’s services out there to look after our baby, but we have ruled this option out. We could even probably ask our parents to raise our baby, like what many young working parents in the current economy view as the most feasible and safest option – so both parents can continue earn a living. However, I don’t really want to miss my baby’s development milestones and personally don’t quite like the latter idea of having our parents (i.e. my parents and/or my husband’s parents) taking up the role as our child’s parents due to various reasons below.
  1. I think our parents have done their fair share in, to name a few, changing diapers, feeding babies, tending sick babies, checking in babies to clinics for their regular immunizations or enduring interrupted sleeps at night to calm crying babies - when they had us. Therefore, I consider it is only appropriate to let them enjoy their golden years by not doing those taxing child/baby-raising tasks in an extended period. I mean it is all right to rope in our parents' assistance to look after our child once in a while (and I am sure they’d be delighted to do it) but not every day, for few consecutive years.
  2. I want my child to have strong bond with us, her parents.
  3. I feel that the style and method in raising and educating children done by our parents’ generation maybe different from ours. This may promote unnecessary miscommunication or misunderstanding disputes between us and our parents – and we’d like to avoid those, especially since they are doing the favour in helping us raise our child.
  4. In most cases, I learnt that grandparents tend to over-spoil their grandchildren. This kind of upbringing can be quite a conflict of interest for me so I presume it’s better if my husband and I keep a healthy level of child spoiling business by raising our child on our own.

Another reason, my husband is not a believer in keeping a domestic helper in our home. He just doesn’t like the feeling of having a stranger stay in our home, with us. Hence, while one parent (husband) works hard to keep the household going, then the other parent (wife) has to do the job in raising the child and running the family’s home –  even though this path maybe monetarily burdening.

Once my baby grows a bit older, nonetheless, I still hope to take any freelance projects that I deem doable from being completed at home (like what I have been doing before) to keep my brain sharp, active and up-to-date.

What happens during the transition of becoming a stay-at-home- wife/mother?

Some popular beliefs say that it is easy to adapt to being a home full-time wife but actually I feel that it is not entirely true. I mean, yes, in the beginning everything was blissful as it felt like I was having a long holiday. I was freed from thinking about tomorrow’s work target, client’s reports and deadlines but after few weeks, the reality hit me. I am talking about new reality such as the following:
  • Much less income and no financial independence (for the woman). With full time job, clearly I did not have to worry about receiving steady income. With part-time job, although I could not ensure getting my payment regularly, I still earned my own money somehow. With no job at all, I receive nothing and have to try not to touch my personal savings, unless for emergencies.
  • No more luxury. I can’t do crazy impulsive shopping spree any more. I am not supposed to be so picky in eating my favourite food outside either. Since I currently still live with the in-laws, whatever my Mother-in-Law serves on the eating table, like it or not, I eat them.
  • Boredom. Suddenly, I have so much free time on my own now. After I am done with the house chores, I get to entertain myself doing all the stuff I enjoy such as blogging and baking. That’s why I have lots of baking posts in my blog these days. On some days, however, I get tired of dating myself all day long and don’t know what else I could do since my husband told me not to sweat about monetizing my hobbies at the moment.
  • Less confidence. Sometimes I feel insecure with how other people may view my current life as an unemployed woman, a full time housewife. I don’t know how much my own market worth should I get back to the working world in the near future. Am I wasting my double degree now?
  • Incomparable satisfaction in accomplishing day-to-day domesticity versus having a career outside. These two are not the same, apparently.
  • Paradigm shifts. I have to remind myself over and over again on why I am doing all this or living this current state of life. Yep, I am in practice of becoming a domestic goddess and trying to embrace my new status wholeheartedly.

What now?

Whilst waiting for our baby’s arrival in September, I try to soak every (boring and relaxing) moment I have now and treat this quiet period as a privilege for a pregnant woman. Sometimes I do miss my previous busy working life (and the receiving my routine salary part) but life has changed now as our family is expanding. Transition is always hard especially in the beginning but I will get past this as I know I’d be one busy woman again, receiving the unseen dollars as my monthly salary, once my little one has come to this world.

Another new chapter of life is indeed waiting for me. I am going with the flow.

11 comments:

  1. One day, eventually. When I have kids, I'd be a SAHM too ;) one day.

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    1. Yeah.. maybe it's a good choice and much rewarding at the end of the day.

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  2. I've been fortunate enough to work from home and enjoy all the glories of being a stay at home mom and now that my girls are older, I'm able to see the reward of raising two wonderful young ladies with amazing ethics and morals. Your decision is a good one!

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement. I hope I am doing the right thing. :D

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  3. Am thinking of resigning my job. My excellent nanny has to quit aftr 3 years because of family reasons. I want to pursue my PhD next year but lately I have been thinking about taking extended break to be more involved in my two boys's life. I don't want to sacrifice my kids for my career because even now I have very limited time with them and I am regretting every minute. It is december now, how is your life as a fulltime housewife now?

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    Replies
    1. Hello!

      Thank you for your question which inspires me to write a blog post on that. I have answered it on my latest blog post here: http://www.mywanderingstory.com/2012/12/an-update-life-as-full-stay-at-home.html

      Hope it helps.

      Cheers.

      Christine

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  4. Hi Christine, I had a question around your previous employer's reaction to your decision to leave FT work due to family commitments. I know that in SG, the law only mandates paid maternity leave for 3-4 mths and will not hold your job after that. In AU, the law allows 3 mths paid leave and the employer has to hold your jOb open for 12 mths meaning that you can elect to spend time with your kid and be safe in the knowledge that your job is secured for 12 mths. I'm curious as to whether your employer in Sg was open to the idea of part time or flexible work or allowing you to have more time off after the mandated 3 mths maternity leave? I'm considering moving to Sg for wk with a high stress professional career but am concerned that my SG boss will not support (1) maternity leave beyond 3 mths, or (2) a flexible part time role. I don't want to have my 3 mth old new baby being cared for by a helper (grandparents are not an option of I move to Sg as they are based in AU). It's a work life crisis!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi! I actually quit my full time job in SG because I wanted to move to Malaysia permanently and live with my husband. However, shortly after I settled in Malaysia, I was offered freelance projects from my ex-employer which I could do from home. I am not so sure about the flexible work scheme in Singapore after the 4 months maternity leave is due - but I guess every organization has different policy on this?

      It's indeed not an easy decision - But honestly, I can't imagine being separated from my baby all day long. I can really go crazy missing my bub. Salute to those working moms out there!

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  5. Hi, how r u doing? I've been a full-time mom/wife (but not much of a housewife/sahm) for more than a year now and I feel happier. Though less $$$ to spend, I feel better and contented bcos I get more time to experience lots of quality moments with the kids. Like you, I never thought that I would ever stop being a career woman but fate is wiser. :D

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  6. Hi there Christine, I came accross your blogpost when I tried to find out more about SAHM in Malaysia. I just recently moved back to Malaysia & still figuring out what to do with my life as a SAHM. Do you cope well? I love my son dearly & couldn't imagine going back to work. But I couldn't deny that I do sometime feel terribly lonely. Its interesting to read your point of view, more or less feeling the same way

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    1. Hi.. So far quite enjoying becoming SAHM and glad I don't have to go to work in an office so I can look after my daughter and be with her almost any time she needs me.. Hope you could feel the joy of becoming SAHM .. Perhaps doing some hobbies, part-time job or activities outside your daily routines would make your life of SAHM less mundane.

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