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View as: GRID LIST

SECRETS OF A STAY-AT-HOME-MUM

1
”Whatever happens, I don’t want to end up sitting alone at home with the baby all day while you’re out working,” I said to my husband soon after we found out I was pregnant. ”Can you imagine? That would be so awful.”
It’s not that I looked down on women who stay at home. My mum stayed at home with my sisters and me, and both my sisters stayed at home with their kids. But I always looked at their lives and thought, ”Holy shit, I cannot do that. It’s too hard. It would break me.”
I also really enjoy working. I thrive on setting goals for
SelfishMother.com
2
myself and achieving them. I got my first job at a burger shop as soon as I was legally able to and have been employed ever since. I worked full time while getting my MBA. And when I graduated, my husband and I opened our own restaurant and I still worked 50-60 hours a week in my day job. My work defined me.

Becoming pregnant didn’t change anything. I continued to work my full time job. And I continued to work dinner and weekend services at our restaurant. I secretly loved the challenge of being pregnant and still working 80-90 hour weeks. I felt

SelfishMother.com
3
like superwoman. My ankles were so swollen I had to cut my kitchen clogs open to stuff my feet in, but goddamnit I was coming to work.
It was only after the arrival of our baby that things became tricky.

My employer generously offered eight weeks paid leave, which I took. But when I went back I was miserable. The two mornings I agreed to go in, I would sit down to get some work done, and immediately it would be time to pump. While pumping, I would look at pictures of my daughter and cry. My heart hurt being away from her. So with my husband’s

SelfishMother.com
4
encouragement, I handed in my notice. I felt relieved. I told myself that now I could focus all my energy on our restaurant. It would be the three of us together. A family.
Only, it didn’t quite work out this way. You see, it turns out you can’t bring a baby to a restaurant. Not for long anyway. There are a lot of sharp things and funnily enough, our customers don’t appreciate paying to listen to a baby cry. We can’t leave her at home because getting a babysitter is financially impossible now that we don’t have my salary. So most days I am at home,
SelfishMother.com
5
alone with my baby, from noon until midnight. I am that thing I never wanted to be. I am a stay-at-home-mum.
I wish I could say that it is so much better than I ever thought it would be. I wish I could say that the sparkle in my daughter’s eye makes it all worth it. Well, it isn’t and it doesn’t. I love my daughter so much it makes me choke up to even write it down. She is so incredible and funny and beautiful and exciting. I love being with her and watching her grow and learn.
However, being at home has done to me exactly what I suspected it
SelfishMother.com
6
would: it has broken me. I am not me. I am some other bored, unfulfilled, spiteful, resentful, crying thing. As I write this I am sitting under a sleeping baby watching TV on mute because I’m terrified of waking her up. I am still wearing the pyjamas I woke up in. I showered, but saw no point in putting on new clothes because I just couldn’t be sure I’d get a moment to take them off and I couldn’t bear the idea of wearing jeans to bed later.
I am confused. I am not a power woman. I am a woman who waits all day for the 20-minute visit I make to the
SelfishMother.com
7
restaurant to eat a staff meal and who tries not to cry when it’s over because it means I have to go back home by myself.
I try to take it all a day at a time. I still tell myself that this is only temporary, and I never, ever refer to myself as a stay-at-home-mum. I do what I can to turn mothering into a ”job” by breaking it down into smaller projects that I can complete to help me feel accomplished.
I’ve met a few other women who feel similarly and who can commiserate. I don’t speak to my working, single friends as much because I can’t handle
SelfishMother.com
8
the look that I imagine seeing in their eyes as they think ”What happened to her? I never thought she would leave work to raise a baby.” I don’t spend very much time thinking about what the future looks like. Right now I just have to get through today.
This week I did get to work my first dinner service at the restuarant in seven months (we got a babysitter). I was rusty and not super helpful, but I had a blast. I still don’t know what we’re going to do, but I do know that my daughter deserves more than a mum who resents staying at home, and it’s
SelfishMother.com
9
up to me to figure out a solution. Wish me luck.
Motherhood is different for all of us… if you’d like to share your thoughts, why not join our Network & start posting?
SelfishMother.com
Alex Pemoulie

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- 11 Feb 15

“Whatever happens, I don’t want to end up sitting alone at home with the baby all day while you’re out working,” I said to my husband soon after we found out I was pregnant. “Can you imagine? That would be so awful.”

It’s not that I looked down on women who stay at home. My mum stayed at home with my sisters and me, and both my sisters stayed at home with their kids. But I always looked at their lives and thought, “Holy shit, I cannot do that. It’s too hard. It would break me.”

I also really enjoy working. I thrive on setting goals for myself and achieving them. I got my first job at a burger shop as soon as I was legally able to and have been employed ever since. I worked full time while getting my MBA. And when I graduated, my husband and I opened our own restaurant and I still worked 50-60 hours a week in my day job. My work defined me.

Becoming pregnant didn’t change anything. I continued to work my full time job. And I continued to work dinner and weekend services at our restaurant. I secretly loved the challenge of being pregnant and still working 80-90 hour weeks. I felt like superwoman. My ankles were so swollen I had to cut my kitchen clogs open to stuff my feet in, but goddamnit I was coming to work.

It was only after the arrival of our baby that things became tricky.

My employer generously offered eight weeks paid leave, which I took. But when I went back I was miserable. The two mornings I agreed to go in, I would sit down to get some work done, and immediately it would be time to pump. While pumping, I would look at pictures of my daughter and cry. My heart hurt being away from her. So with my husband’s encouragement, I handed in my notice. I felt relieved. I told myself that now I could focus all my energy on our restaurant. It would be the three of us together. A family.

Only, it didn’t quite work out this way. You see, it turns out you can’t bring a baby to a restaurant. Not for long anyway. There are a lot of sharp things and funnily enough, our customers don’t appreciate paying to listen to a baby cry. We can’t leave her at home because getting a babysitter is financially impossible now that we don’t have my salary. So most days I am at home, alone with my baby, from noon until midnight. I am that thing I never wanted to be. I am a stay-at-home-mum.

I wish I could say that it is so much better than I ever thought it would be. I wish I could say that the sparkle in my daughter’s eye makes it all worth it. Well, it isn’t and it doesn’t. I love my daughter so much it makes me choke up to even write it down. She is so incredible and funny and beautiful and exciting. I love being with her and watching her grow and learn.

However, being at home has done to me exactly what I suspected it would: it has broken me. I am not me. I am some other bored, unfulfilled, spiteful, resentful, crying thing. As I write this I am sitting under a sleeping baby watching TV on mute because I’m terrified of waking her up. I am still wearing the pyjamas I woke up in. I showered, but saw no point in putting on new clothes because I just couldn’t be sure I’d get a moment to take them off and I couldn’t bear the idea of wearing jeans to bed later.

I am confused. I am not a power woman. I am a woman who waits all day for the 20-minute visit I make to the restaurant to eat a staff meal and who tries not to cry when it’s over because it means I have to go back home by myself.

I try to take it all a day at a time. I still tell myself that this is only temporary, and I never, ever refer to myself as a stay-at-home-mum. I do what I can to turn mothering into a “job” by breaking it down into smaller projects that I can complete to help me feel accomplished.

I’ve met a few other women who feel similarly and who can commiserate. I don’t speak to my working, single friends as much because I can’t handle the look that I imagine seeing in their eyes as they think “What happened to her? I never thought she would leave work to raise a baby.” I don’t spend very much time thinking about what the future looks like. Right now I just have to get through today.

This week I did get to work my first dinner service at the restuarant in seven months (we got a babysitter). I was rusty and not super helpful, but I had a blast. I still don’t know what we’re going to do, but I do know that my daughter deserves more than a mum who resents staying at home, and it’s up to me to figure out a solution. Wish me luck.

Motherhood is different for all of us… if you’d like to share your thoughts, why not join our Network & start posting?

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Alex Pemoulie

After 7 years working in NYC restaurant industry, Alex Pemoulie left it all behind to open a small restaurant with her chef husband. 2 years in, they decided to add a baby to the mix, and are still trying to figure out how to make it all work.

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