Regretting being a stay at home mum 3

The Tough Stuff


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BETH RANKIN | DAILY KENT STATER Marisa Beagle, a history major, and her daughter, Noelle, sit in the parking lot of the Salem Campus, where she attends school 45 minutes away from her home in East Palestine, near the Pennsylvania border. Marisa and Noelle, 18 months, live with Marisa's parents. A single parent, Beagle says it's tough to attend school and raise a daughter simultaneously, but with the support of her family, she's able to make it work.

Being a stay at home mum is arguably the toughest job a person can do. Despite the fact that women who choose to stay home with their children are often looked upon as ‘having it easy’, those who have done it know just how difficult it is.

There’s no sitting on the couch and enjoying a cuppa while the kids play quietly in their rooms; it’s loud, messy, chaotic and some times can push you to your breaking point.

Baby boomer parents were the first generation to really see women return to the workforce after having children.

Many women from this generation had careers before they had kids and returning to work was something that was important to them – whether it be for financial reasons or for their own personal satisfaction.

This saw millions of women around the world flooding the workforce after having babies and juggling the balance between career and family.

For those who quit their jobs and decided to stay home with their children, life was a little different.

The life you once had, which was devoted to fulfilling your own ambitions and passions, suddenly morphed into one that was devoted to changing nappies, doing school drops off and pick ups, and keeping the house running.

While many women found more happiness out of spending time with their children than any job ever gave them, others feel a little differently.

For many stay at home mums there is now a tinge of regret. After years of raising their family and focussing all their time and attention on the kids, their children have now grown up and moved out of home.

With no one to take care of there is a whole, like something is missing. These women devoted most of their adult life to looking after their children and now they are old enough to take care of themselves and don’t need you that way anymore.

Lisa Heffernan wrote about this in an article for The Huffington Post, where she said she felt like she had “narrowed her world” and slashed her confidence.

“During the years at home with my children I made the most wonderful friends, women I hope to know all of my life,” said.

“But living in the suburbs among women of shockingly similar backgrounds, interests and aspirations, narrowed the scope of people with whom I interacted. In the workplace my contacts and friends included both genders and people of every description, and I was better for it.

“But far and away my biggest regret about my years at home was that I lowered my sights for myself as I dimmed in my own mind what I thought I was capable of.”

He views have been echoed by plenty of other women, who say that although they are grateful they go to spend time with their kids, they regret pushing aside their opportunity to work.

“It made sense at the time but I wish I would’ve given it more thought … I’ve completely lost myself,” wrote another mother.

Can you relate to these feelings? Were you at stay at home mum? Did you ever feel torn between work and family?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I stayed at home until my youngest was 18 and didn’t need me to drive him around everywhere. I went to a business college and learned about computers (I already had typing skills) and eventually got a job as a medical secretary, which I was before kids. I worked for 17 years full time and retired at 63.

  2. Being a stay at home Mum – provided me with the most fertile time of my life for self growth/development. The organisations I became involved in gave me space to test skills & grow in confidence, while being there for & with my children. I went onto university confidently and am now at university on staff…my time at home helped realise my potential that I didn’t believe in. A special time that I have never had an ounce of regret but one of gratitude, because it has made me a more productive and effective person both personally & professionally. I’m 60 soon and going overseas on voluntary work for afew weeks and not looking at retiring anytime soon. Hallelujah! Time enough for that.

  3. I always say I was very lucky and privileged to be able to stay at home and spend all that valuable time with my children as they were growing up. I did have a few jobs over the years though. I have no regrets on not pursuing a career. Although I did find it hard to adjust when they finally left home. Then my beautiful granddaughter came along !

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