Tuesday 31 January 2012

Being a SAHM does not mean I've lost my idenity

I'm not a SAHM through choice, our move to South Africa has forced it upon me, I can volunteer, I can continue with my studies...yeah I love jumping through hoops. I can blog, tidy up the photo albums, do crafts, paint my nails, go out for coffee, relax in/by the pool, tidy and rearrange the house within an inch of it's life....but it's not my thing...not really. But a year on, I'm starting to embrace it.

I've worked full time since 1988, minus 3 short breaks on maternity leave, periods of unemployment due to health/injuries at work, moving house and inheriting 2 step children, but when I've not been working, I've been studying.

But last year it all went, I became a SAHM, I'm not a yummy muumy or even a MILF (flattered by those over 18 that have called me one though) I'm not even sure I qualify as a SAHM as my kids were 12 & 16 when this happened, it's been years since I've labelled clothes, sent in spare pants to school, just in case, attended open evenings or gone within a 3 mile radius of a PTA without copious amounts of wine and only then because a friend has twisted my arm to help them as they've taken too much on 'you're so good at this, plurease'

I don't classify myself as a yummy mummy, I don't get my nails done, meet with the ladies for lunch, hold little charity events and being the owner of a Radley handbag and Birkenstocks does not elevate me into the ranks of a MILF.

So what am I?

According to the school information sheet I'm a Home Excutive...nah, that's not me either, I juggle time tables, lift shares, homework, but we don't have a maid, I do my own cleaning and ironing and to be honest the gardener we employ one day a week feels like I'm offering a community service.

I was saddened this week to read tweets and a blog by someone who thought being a SAHM was unimportant, having not signed up to it when they married/had children. I don't resent being at home all day, having given up a career lecturing and working in child welfare, stopping my studies, moving away from family and friends...I just worry about the future me, what becomes of me when the last child leaves home, if we return to the UK or move to another country, I'm 40 years of age, soon the world will have past me by and I'll not be fit for the workplace.

So what can I do about it?

Well, I still have to be here for the kids from school and run them to their various activities, cook clean, wash, iron and be chief bottle washer, but I can still broaden my horizons, I can read, I can study my area of expertise, I can keep up to date with current issues and I can use my skills to volunteer in a worthy area, I've been touting for 'work' (no one will pay me http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Economic_Empowerment ) I can build up a worthy CV of my time and experience in South Africa to put to use in the future.

But the one think I understand about being a SAHM, the one thing that gets to me, that causes me the most grief, is the isolation, the feeling of having no value and every day I fend the question 'So what does your husband do for work?'

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