[This post is written by Tharini of Winkie's Way.]
I never knew much about or thought too much about the terms SAHM and WM, before I came into the blogging world. And never have I thought so deeply about my own choices in this matter until I started to understand what a complicated decision it tends to be in many of our minds.
I love being at home. I l.o.v.e it. It is really as simple as that. I am qualified as an accountant, and have worked in consulting before I was married, and after coming here, I was lucky enough to secure a job with a small business firm, as a full time staff accountant. I worked full time, until Akhil was born. That was 4 years ago. And then, predictably, I took the next year and 1/2 off. I took a long holiday to India, and just generally got into the groove of being a mother. And I didn't miss my job one bit. That's when my boss called and asked me to come back. I wanted to work only part-time. He was ok with that. If my son was sick, I wanted days off. Fine, he said. And so I started working again. And Akhil started part-time babysitting. It was the perfect age for him too. At close to 2 years, he needed little periods of separation from me and interaction with the outside world. He got a bit of both, in a home environment. His babysitter even potty trained him for me, as a bonus. :)
When he was 2 and 1/2, he started Montessori, again part-time. It was the perfect arrangement for us. I had some time away from home and kid and got to use my mind in a professional capacity, and then I got the remainder of the time to spend like I wanted catching up with my son and his life. But even thru all this, there was always this yearning to be at home (sounds crazy I know!) and just be in my own space and do my own thing. That's just how I am. I love to just be. By myself. Being alone with my own thoughts does not bore or frighten me. I don't crave for external stimulation. I can always find loads of things to keep me busy in my space. So many new things to learn and discover....for instance...I took up sewing on my own once I had a chance to be home, I learnt a lot of new softwares, photo editing, home video editing, dabbled in a bit of craft work, began to write (my biggest love), caught up on my reading (second only to writing), and ultimately discovered that I have a interest in children's books and would love to try my hand at it. So even when I went to work and enjoyed it, I always looked forward to the times I could be home and do all these things that kept me happy.
So when I got pregnant with Sathya, it was the perfect opportunity to once again break free from those obligations and commit myself to a home life once more. I worked until my 8th month and then enjoyed my 4 walls the rest of the time. Now, he's 6 months old and I am still riding on that high wave of being free to be. I love having the time to actually go to the gym and allow myself a peaceful workout, rather than cramming it into an already packed day. I love cooking fresh meals 3 times a day and feeling satisfied that I am doing something that nurtures my family. I love trying to get better organised in keeping house, and having a clean home at any given point of time, such that if a guest were to drop in unexpectedly I wudnt have to scramble to tidy up. I love having a few uninterrupted hours with Sathya in the mornings, the way I used to with his brother. I would have hated to miss any chunk of his baby days. They're too precious, this is my last baby and time is flying already. I love making myself a hot cup of tea on a rainy day and just watch the raindrops, if I feel like it. And I love that I can just switch on the TV and watch a movie if that's what I felt like doing.
In essence, I just love these little freedoms that you have when you are on your own turf. I think its part of my Saggitarian tendency to not feel bound to anything, else there is the violent need to break free. Work always felt like a restriction of my impulses. I know that sounds utterly selfish, but this is what I have figured out to be the reasons why I do what I do. Sure, the money is tight on a single income. And with 2 home loans to support (here and back in India), we barely manage to get substantial savings. Perhaps that ought to bother me more, but somehow it doesn't. We live simply. As simply as we can and try everyday to be even more basic. Its like what Sheela said in her post....we curtail containable expenses like not subscribing to cable TV, having a very basic phone connection with no extra services, buy only the seasonal veggies and fruits which happen to be cheaper, don't go overboard buying things to do up the house, but instead work towards keeping it clean and clutter free, and in loads of other ways.
My husband is very very supportive. He is not an ambitious person either. In that way we have found ourselves very compatible. We like to drift along with the current, putting our trust in nature and our faith in our spiritual quest. And for my part, since I have learnt to be more and more organised with more and more time at home, he doesn't have much household duties. I see to that. But he is still a very involved and hands on father. And when I ask for help, he gives it without question. And I try to keep things stress free and pleasant for him at home. This works for both of us. I am happy in my element, and he is happy when I am happy, and when he can relax at home. Of course, the day he feels that he would find it helpful if I worked too, I will jump in to help. It will require a lot of sacrifice on my part but I will do it.
In any case, I don't see my SAH position as a permanent one. It is just something that I want to do right now. As time goes by and should my needs change, I would love to take up something of my own. Maybe a home business, or working in the non-profit sector, or getting involved in a cause, I would love to give my time and effort to something that I see would make a tangible difference to things that matter on this earth. I don't know what those things are yet for me....but I have faith that when the time comes, I will recognise my calling. Right now, I am cherishing this time I have for myself, this time to dedicate to nurturing my family in full...and to just be within, in peace.
On a final note...I think what is of value is to be happy today...whether we work outside for a pay or work at home for ourselves. Find contentment....find bliss. And learn to empathise sincerely with all other women and people. As women, we are amazingly resilient and when I see the sheer diversity of all the various choices we make in our lives, and try and balance everything to the best of our human abilities, I feel s.o i.m.m.e.n.s.e.l.y p.r.o.u.d of all of us. I read all the posts on this topic and just marvel at what a range of thoughts there is, and how they all lead ultimately, to the same simple end.....to find happiness, to do our best by our children and family, to be at peace. May we all get there, in this life, without too much heartache....bless everyone!