Be a SAHM they said. You’ll be so relaxed they said. It’s like a walk in the park they said. It’s exactly like a walk in the park. If the aforementioned park has pockets of quicksand, is susceptible to drastic weather changes, and you’re not allowed any shoes; bare feet only.
That’s what Type A parenting is like. You love it. But then sometimes it drives you sorta crazy. My journey started about 2 and a half years ago . I left a stressful yet exciting career in advertising to take care of my daughter full time. Being a typical Type A, I was too nervous leaving my daughter with someone who was hired for that job, so I stepped in, fully confident that I would manage it with ease. But we had our ups and downs. The sleepless nights being the worst of the lot. Somehow staying up shooting TV commercials didn’t compare to waking up every hour with an infant (the latter being harder).
It’s when I fully realized the lack of kudos we give women sitting at home. Especially the Type A ones. It’s HARD. Going from having conversations with like-minded adults you go to being at the beck and call of a cooing baby. And it has it’s adorable moments but it can leave you feeling more exhausted. Because with parenthood, there’s no off button. With work, you come home from a tough day, you have a drink and you say to hell with it. With kids, you have a tough day, you go to the bathroom, you try and find zen in a minute and then you come out with a smile on your face because a little person is standing there with an eager look on hers.
And then throw another little baby into the mix. And it feels like instead of the occasional ride on the rollercoaster, you’re now strapped in constantly, with a season pass. Type A or not, juggling two under 2 can be tricky. There’s jealousy, there’s adjustment, there’s two sets of diapers to change! Suddenly your day goes from reading to your child and entertaining her, to breaking up fights between two mini individuals, snatching the same teddy. Suddenly, they’re growing up faster than you can blink, one is rapidly crawling to a sharp edge while you try to potty train the other. After all, nothing can slip right? You’re the Type A parent.
But things do, as they usually do, and then you beat yourself up. Like I do. It’s because staying at home to parent has been so trivialized that you don’t know how to justify dropping the ball. I find myself thinking ‘I‘m an honors grad from a good uni, why am I unable to make it through the day without one doubt/meltdown/issue?‘ ‘I worked for 12 years, why can’t I manage two mini humans?’
And thoughts like these never lead to anything positive. One minute you’re playing ringa ringa roses and the next you’re looking on LinkedIn for all the jobs you probably won’t get. But of course, if the general perception of being a SAHM was correct, we wouldn’t be killing ourselves. We would realize that just like any other job this one is HARD too. It requires patience, a strong will and working on 3 hours of sleep. And it’s definitely not a walk in a park. It’s being constantly torn because, at a certain age, your Type A self dreamed of being part of a cultural movement or creating work that would move millions. Yet you find yourself frustrated because it takes you 2 hours to leave the house for a play date and you STILL forget the blankie behind.
If the perceptions of SAHMs were adjusted it would be easier to accept that this is just a phase in one’s life. It would be easy to find peace, knowing that when the time is right, it will be relatively easy to go back to work, not an uphill struggle because people don’t appreciate a parenting sabbatical. It would be easy to accept that angst and irritation is part of the game. And that there will be days when playdates and playtimes just won’t seem appealing. We have a long way to go. But hey, if equal pay has become a reality for a country (Iceland), maybe were not far off from giving transiting SAHMs some acceptance.
Until next time. Temporary SAHM, permanent Type A, out.