You see, I too was a SAHM for a grand total of 6 and a half glorious months. I went back to work, simply because realistically, my family couldn’t afford to have one wage and my maternity pay had ended.
It was hard. I felt pretty much like a nanny, with a dwindling connection to my husband (and A). He’d grown accustomed to the routine I had formed, with weekends being a “slot yourself in but don’t fuck it up” in regards to his role in my domestic world. The laundry and washing up were done daily, the house was kept tidy and A was thriving.
However, we now both work. An interesting conversation between my and the mums of my NCT class (who I now live nowhere near) sparked this blog.
There were talks of “Treasure Boxes” which are, from what I can gather, sensory boxes of random things like wooden spoons, plastic cups, textured objects. I don’t have one. I’ve never had one. Should I have one?!
A typical family week in my house includes me and S (husband) working 9-5 everyday. A is at nursery 8-6. In the morning, A is on the floor alongside S who does a workout, then he comes upstairs and plays with his toys while we both get ready. After nursery, he comes home and we have playtime as a family, including lots of physical contact, cuddles, kisses, tickling etc, followed by dinnertime. S and I both bathe A and I get him ready for bed. S gives him a bedtime bottle and reads him a story and puts him to bed. Every. Night. Weekends are however completely different, once A has breakfast we’re up and out, whether it’s shopping or a trip to a park or some other child friendly outing, were there every Saturday. Sunday’s are more chilled out, usually reserved for crafting/painting, lots of tummy time, crawling encouragement etc.
I know at nursery, A has tonnes of sensory stimulation, at home he has a combination of toys with all sorts of sounds, shapes etc. I suppose my point here is that they’re all store bought.
Now my dream of being a SAHM would be to be able to make sensory rock shakers from plastic bottles and superglue, get my glitter on, or cut pieces of felt and carpet and glue them into frames for him to play with. Unfortunately I work. Is it unfortunate?
There is obviously a lot involved in the development of a child, of which sensory activity is obviously wonderful in helping out little people grow and learn. I appreciate this. I appreciate the back to basics approach, using things easily found and around the house. Anyone can do it, it’s something not restricted by income or ability. Instead of it being for the benefit of the child, its suddenly become a marker for parental ability (or so I feel anyway).
A has unlimited choice in my house. He has toys galore. The sound of the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo will forever be etched into my brain. Is it lazy parenting to put him in his jumperoo and let him be excited by the lights and sounds it makes as opposed to sit with him and shake glittery oil in a bottle?
Now my point, and the title. If I didn’t work, then yes, my home mightbe filled with glitter tubes and carpet frames. If I didn’t work, we would paint and do personalised cards and pictures every day. If I had my ideal, my dream of luxury, I would be a SAHM. I would get to watch my child grow and learn and progress every single day. I would get to be a part of his life 24/7/365. Instead, I work. I work to make sure that I can give him all the store bought flashing and singing toys that money can buy. So I can take him out on the weekend. So I can take him to soft play with a whole room of sensory stuff that I didn’t make.
I’d love to have the luxury of being a SAHM, but I don’t have that. For now, I hope for his sake that that’s okay.