Moms are perhaps the busiest and most hard-working people in the world, not to mention the most self-sacrificing. Some of them had to put their lives on hold, let go of their careers (even personal goals) and stall trips to the salon all because the family’s needs must come first.
While a number of our nanays and mamas are used to staying at home doing the usual married woman or motherhood things, we know that they don’t just laze around the house all day long and wait for their husbands to bring in the buck.
Stay-at-home moms are not just at home because they can’t do anything except tending the kids and doing house chores. They’re at home because they know their family needs them the most – and meeting these needs can be a difficult, if not an impossible feat, even for the most talented supermom.
- Conforming to Someone Else’s Schedule
Stay-at-home mothers work round the clock, but usually to observe someone else’s schedule. It could be their child’s school schedule and/or their husband’s office schedule. They wake up early to get everybody ready and not be late. They prepare dinner just in time when everybody is home. it’s no longer about their personal schedule or time. That is why, it helps to give busy mothers some me-time or day-off.
- Losing Their Personal Identity
Stay-at-home mothers are Jane of all trades – yaya, cook, laundry lady, school bus driver, gardener, seamstress, carpenter, plumber, etc. Staying at home means wearing just about any hat under the sun, and somehow in the middle of all the chaos and wearing too many hats, stay-at-home moms lose their identity.
- Cutting Back on Socialization
Filipina mothers need and crave social connections. That’s why they can be very talkative or madaldal with other mothers or their neighbors. However, for some moms, quitting work and staying at home means not having office mates, team buildings, company trainings, business lunches, and after-work get-togethers. It’s normal for stay-at-home mothers to feel lonely and miss their old life perhaps as a career woman or a carefree person.
- Doing All the Chores, No Helper
Some mothers are forced to stay at home or quit their jobs because the yaya left too suddenly or are afraid to entrust their kids to a stranger. While the husband, in-laws and/or older family members can help with the never-ending chores, stay-at-home mothers take up most of the work while the kids are in school and the husband is in the office.
- Working in a Cluttered Home-Office
Some stay-at-home mothers work home-based or freelance. In lieu of everyday commute or travel to and from the office, their house is now also their workplace. This is convenient for the most part. But when the kids or pets are around or when there’s still a pile of dirty laundry, the conduciveness of the home office is compromised.
- Making the Necessary Financial Sacrifices
Some stay-at-home mothers have no regular work or income. Gone are the financial buffers they used to enjoy from corporate employers such as health insurance, bonuses, allowances, and other fringe benefits. Therefore, they need to make the necessary financial sacrifices and stretch the family’s budget further. This would mean fewer shopping sprees, dine outs, salon treatments, etc. especially when only one in the family is earning.
- Working as Both Homemaker & Wage Earner
Whether or not they have regular home-based jobs, stay-at-home Pinay moms are very entrepreneurial and ma-diskarte (resourceful). They may not have a definite job description, but they work beyond house chores. Some would do direct selling, make street food, offer laundry or cleaning services to supplement the family’s income.
- Having the So-Called Mommy Guilt
Mothers in general chronically assess their accomplishment for the day. But stay-at-home moms, even more so. Since they’re in the house most of the time, they’re prone to feel guilty whenever they can’t tick everything in their to-do list. At the same time, they feel guilty for just about everything they’re unable to do – doing exercise, learning to bake, overcooking the fried chicken, etc. In some cases, critical friends and relatives do the guilt-tripping, making matters worse for stay-at-home moms.
- Being Productive & Overcoming Laziness
For some mothers who are used to the 9 to 5 routine in the office, where the workday or workweek has been set, it can be very difficult to be productive absent the supervision of someone else. Now that they’re supposedly in control of their time, it’s easy to be unproductive and disorganized. Mornings and evenings may be pretty straightforward, but during the in-betweens (when the children and husband are out), stay-at-home moms face the challenge of overcoming laziness, especially when the couch or the bed is within reach.
- Falling into Personal Stagnation
Yes, being a mother and homemaker is a great challenge in itself and being successful at it is something that gives mothers a sense of pride. However, being stay-at-home mother for so many years can mean falling into some sort of stagnation as far as personal growth is concerned. Mothers are prone to do repetitive and mundane tasks. When all they do are the same things for very long, they become de-motivated, too lazy or too busy to challenge their mental and physical ability such as taking up a new sport or hobby.
Quitting from work and staying at home doesn’t mean paradise for stay-at-home mothers. There’s always a lot of things to do inside and outside the home. Why, it seems that no matter how frequent moms load the washing machine, there’s always a dirty sock or shirt somewhere. For moms who chose to stay (and work) at home, it’s living two lives or being in two worlds at the same time. Nothing could be more challenging than that.