One of the most important parts of being a stay-at-home Mum (SAHM) is the need to have something personal for yourself and yourself only. It might be a hobby you enjoy or just personal quiet time where you can think and be able to hear your own thoughts for a change (as opposed to having, “Mummy, Mummy! Pay attention to me!” screaming in the background).
Regardless of what it is, it has to be something you enjoy that gives something back to you, and have nothing to do with your children or your husband. Depending on what you feel you are lacking most as a stay-at-home Mum, the activity should reflect your needs and fulfill them. For instance, if you are often feeling worn out and tired, you might require an activity you find relaxing which helps you unwind. If it is your confidence or self-worth in question (something that commonly occurs especially for mothers who have been professional high-flyers before turning SAHM) it might be something that boosts your confidence and self-worth. In other words, an activity that helps your achieve self-actualisation.
One of the reasons why I believe it is important for SAHMs to have some means of achieving self-actualisation is to avoid the possibility of living vicariously through our childrens’ achievements. As parents, we want to encourage our children to reach their full potential – yes – but not to live their lives as we would have liked to live ours given the chance to re-live our youth. There is a huge difference between encouraging your child to develop a healthy interest in music and forcing your child to take piano lessons because it was something you always wanted to do as a child but never had the opportunity for.
As parents we all want the best for our children, however, the lines can be a little blurred when our own personal desires get in the way. I have stated before that the aim of this blog is to raise a successful child. What I should have added is “in his or her own right”. What we do not want to do is raise a child who is successful in our own mould.
I think a common example where parents can get confused in their desire to raise a successful child lies in a child’s future career. This is especially common among the Asian parents of the older generation who often want their children to study specific professions, such as law or medicine. A child that grows up to become a lawyer or a doctor might be viewed as successful, however, it does not necessarily follow that the child will be happy in that profession.
When I feel proud of my son’s achievements, I often ask myself, “Am I proud of him for his sake or am I proud of him because of how he reflects upon me?” It is a very fine line and one might even question whether the different is significant. Perhaps not so much while your child is young, but I think the differences begin to have a more significant effect as your child grows older. If you allow your child to become too much a reflection of yourself, there is a possibility that as your child grows older and elects to do things that you disagree with, it may be mistaken as an act of defiance against your authority as a parent when it is merely an expression of individualism and self.
To eliminate or reduce the need to feel worth through my child, I must first be proud of who I am and what I have personally achieved in my life. For this reason, I have continued to persist with personal activities that define me, even at the expense of my sleep.