Sunday, July 26, 2015

Bye Bye Super Mum

Ok, so I'm going to admit it.  I don't want to be a 'super mum'.  Phew!  What a relief to get that off my chest.  That's it, I've decided.  I'm going to stop feeling like I'm not achieving anything because I'm mostly 'just a mum' and start embracing the housewife tag.  Stop feeling like I'm lacking in some compartment of my life because I don't have a high flying career as well as kids, a gym membership and a large (but intimate) circle of friends.  This is the start of me trying to not 'be it all.'  So this is also my message to you, that you don't need to feel that you have to 'be everything.'

Women have come a long way over the decades, and thanks to our trail blazing sisters of the past we can be grateful that we are able to vote, have an education and hold a well paying job if we so desire.  But somewhere, in the last few decades, it has become almost excepted that you WILL go to university after school, you WILL settle in to a career, you WILL wait until you are almost past the point of child bearing age before you start trying to pop a few kiddies out and in no way will you EVER take on the surname of your husband.  Somewhere along the way women have almost turned the knife on themselves and now there can be feelings of guilt attached to a life that doesn't involve a 9 to 5 corporate job, guilt over being 'just a housewife' (with 'housewife' seeming to be a dirty word nowadays) and wanting to take care of your husband is met with a raised eyebrow and a look that tells you they are thinking your partner is a chauvinist pig.
I'm a bit old fashioned in my thinking that if you decide that you want to start a family and become a mother that it is time that you really start to be a mother and be at home with your children.  But...we are all different and some women really want to go back to work and this is fantastic.  Hopefully they can afford childcare, or have someone to care for their kids, or if they do pay for childcare they are actually earning enough to cover the cost of the care.  If I was to go back to work full time it probably wouldn't cover the cost of childcare, so this, for me, is also another reason I don't work.  There are others, however, that have no choice, and with the cost of living have to go back to work, and I feel sorry for these women...because there would be some who are happy to go back to work, but then there would be others who would really prefer to be at home raising their kids instead of paying someone else to do it for them.  I am lucky, and feel really grateful, that my husband works hard enough to earn enough for both of us...and not only that...wants me to be at home with the kids.
Anyway, having said all of that, I have decided to stop feeling guilty or undervalued or apologetic when I say "mostly I'm a stay at home mum"...('mostly' because I do occasional freelance work with a magazine that comes out four times a year.)  You would have no idea how much better I feel about myself!  Such a change in my attitude, and also a change in how I feel about my every day.  I was feeling bored and frustrated with being 'stuck at home with the kids', but now I have embraced the housewife tag (#housewife)!!!.....I feel happy.
As a side note it is interesting that a lot of the pressure to be a 'super mum' comes from other mothers.  You are probably familiar with what goes know, you feel guilty because you didn't breast feed for longer than a year, you child wasn't toilet trained at 6 months old (say what??) or whatever it is mothers can sometimes 'compete' about.  Feeling relaxed and confident in what you are doing in your own life is so important and being a little older (blergh) and I suppose wiser now, I have finally been able to find my place in life, within my role as a mum and yes, as a housewife.

I think the fast paced world that we live in, where you constantly have to be striving forward and working towards the next 'big' thing doesn't help us to be happy with our current circumstances.  This was what I was finding, so as I have mentioned before, I have decided to jump off the merry-go-round and live a more simple life.  I'm content now I've switched my thinking and making sure I'm enjoying the moment because before I know it the kids will be all grown up and I will wonder where my babies have gone.  For example, next year my five year old and four year old boys are starting school I will only have my little girl at home and three at school....where did that time go?
So having pointed out how important it is to embrace the housewife in you, if that is where you are right now (and feeling less than excited about it)....make sure you don't do what I did...which was forget about myself.  I have found that just by dressing a little nicer each day, and taking a bit more pride in my appearance, has strangely helped my days feel a lot better.  I am sure there are lots of things you can do, such as take time out to go for a walk, do a gym class, or learn to dance, but whatever it is, make sure that you don't get so caught up in the endless tasks of raising a family and running a household that you forget to take time out for yourself.  This is where I came in with the idea to dress up each day, rather than just do my usual boring jeans and shirt combo.  I'd just been not bothering about myself and starting to get more and more angry because I was starting to feel like I wasn't important to anyone....even myself.  You have to be important to yourself first...and respect yourself first and foremost....before you can go on to respect anyone else.  There is also the fact that looking after kids, a husband and running a household is not an easy job, and if you're anything like me you're at it from dawn to dusk and beyond, so you really need to learn to stop, slow down and take time out for yourself. 
The other thing I have done to help kick the 'super mum' tag is to go back to the more traditional idea of 'letting my husband wear the pants'...which I have used this phrase before in a previous post, but I think it best sums up how I like it to be in my household.  I have been married before and when he left me I was left to be both the mum and the dad, and frankly this double role I had was hard to shake after I re-married.  I had to stop and let him do know, like fixing things and mowing the lawn.  I was just used to doing it all.  I'm pretty strong willed too, so tend to stick to my guns if we ever disagree about anything, so I have found that by letting go the thought that I NEED to do everything has dramatically reduced my stress levels.  If you want to look at it in the most basic way possible....the male of our species is naturally stronger and more capable at certain things, which is something that is true for the animal kingdom too...but it is wired in to a mans DNA that they want to protect and care for their partners and their offspring and I think it is important to let your husband play the role that he was geared to do.  It's wrong that today's society makes out that it is bad if you let yourself be taken care of, but I have found over the last few weeks of accepting this mindset that it works really well.  I am happy and I feel protected and cared for and certainly way less stressed. 
So having established that I am no longer trying to be Super Mum (with or without the cape), what things can help pull you out of the 'bored housewife' rut?...... 
Attitude.  A positive attitude goes a long way.  I start my day with a half hour session of yoga (I have DVDs) and, as well as giving me a good all over stretch with the hope it will improve my sore back, it puts me in a good mood.  When I say attitude I also mean changing my attitude towards my role in the household as well as my husband's role as provider.  Don't think it's a bad thing...letting go the reins is a life saver, trust me.
Dressing up, including doing my hair and some makeup.  It sounds really weird, and I have been getting comments ..."'re wearing a SKIRT!!".  Yes, it's been kind of funny how knocked over people are (those that know me as ONLY ever wearing jeans), and the reactions I have been getting.  I mean, even the mailman who delivered a parcel to me this week was like...."You're in a always wear jeans...." But this little change has made a big difference.  I've had regular comments from various people on how nice I look, which it is lovely being complemented, and weirdly it makes my day kind of fun wearing something that IS fun.
Pride in the mundane.  So I'm talking about the normal things I do during the day at home.  For me I have taken up baking in a big way.  As mentioned in a previous post, this week I made pasta, cordial and ice cream, yesterday I made two banana cakes (because there was enough over ripe bananas for I froze one) and this morning I made scones and a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  My husband has finished shearing our sheep now so I hope I can organise for him to put in a vegetable garden for me so I can fiddle about outside, and I also plan on teaching myself to sew....which should be interesting to say the least.
Turning inwards.  Looking more in towards my home and myself, looking inwards rather than trying to find what it is I need on the outside.  Does that make sense?  For me it means shutting down a lot of social media, or certainly reducing it, limiting television, ignoring advertising and shutting out the disturbing parts of the world.
Embracing a simple life and the gentle attitude that comes with it.
Have you thought of making changes in your life?


  1. Embrace it Amber! I'd do anything to be a house wife, and maybe something we will financially be stable enough for me to do so. Simplicity is only going to make you happier in the long run. Stick to it, and be true to yourself. You may lose people over this, but then they weren't really ever there to begin with were they? Thank you for including us in this journey. (:

    I can always make changes to better my life. A friend of mine did a "No buy July." Where she cute out buying things she didn't need. Clothing, and such. I think I'm going to take August and do just that. (:

    1. No buy July sounds like a great idea! I've actually been selling all the clothes I don't wear on eBay recently and then plan on saving the money to revamp my wardrobe to things I want to wear now. Didn't want to spend more money, just sort of turn my old stuff in to new stuff!

  2. What an awesome direction this blog is turning. I really enjoy reading more of these writing-heavy and thought-provoking posts from you. I'm being honest when I say I "gobble" up your words. They are great!

    Thoughts; Very true that housewife is a "dirty" word, I hate that about our culture!! I don't judge someone for wanting to climb the corporate ladder, and neither should they judge a homemaker. One thing I'm still confused about which I don't think I'll ever understand, if you have that fancy 9-5 and are just planning to go back to it full-time after kids, why do you want kids TOO. The "pay someone else to raise them" aspect of it just doesn't make sense to me. I understand the money has to come from somewhere.. I suppose my question is not properly written out and explained. I'll work on that.. LOL.

    It's very important to take time for yourself. You deserve it and I'm glad you finally realized it, too! I think that everyone thinks every other mother is "super mom", and beats themselves down in the process. If you embrace simplicity, take care of yourself and stop worrying so much, you may just turn into that super mom without even realizing it!! No? ;)

    That's so funny that even the mailman noticed you were wearing a skirt. I think it's great though that you're really into this and it's helping with your mentality. I am happy to see deserving people feel better!!! I wish you luck with the sewing, LOL. I feel like I'd have a hard time too. Maybe I'll start with you? Wish we were closer!!

    As with the last post you've inspired me to reflect on my life and it's happenings. This time your writing leaves me with the wish to develop/maintain a hobby. I have had small hobbies every now and then (blogging included) and think it's time to grow my knowledge, start a new hobby and actually MAKE TIME FOR IT!!

    Much LOVE!!

    1. I'm glad you like it, it has made me enjoy blogging again! I'm actually thinking of writing a book of some description around the theme. Not sure yet! (although who knows if anyone would want to publish it) I totally agree with you, why do people want to have kids when they know that they won't be around to care for them. I wanted to write this in my post but wondered if it was too controversial. Perhaps not. I agree that sometimes people have no choice and that the money has to come from somewhere...but sometimes women just 'want it all' and maybe they shouldn't. This attitude of being so entitled to everything maybe has to stop, and I mean that in regards to everything. I'm glad I've started to find myself too because I've been so happy and days are fun now rather than a drag. Yes, it was hilarious that the mailman noticed the totally wasn't a pick up line too by the way(!) I'm so glad you are all inspired to start a hobby. I look forward to seeing what it is!!

  3. I kind of love these vintage photos