NB: This post was originally authored by me and published on bellanaija.com, an online lifestyle blogging site.
Hmm, you have time o…”
Those were her exact words on my Facebook post.
You see, it was my 5th wedding anniversary and we had gone all out in our family photo shoot. I shared a bit about how stressful it was to pull the Fulani outfits together and then getting 2 boys, 1 and 3 years old, to cooperate through many cloth changing sessions.
Everyone had a positive comment to make on our pictures, and then this lady comes in and implies that I had to be jobless to put in so much time into something that really isn’t that much of a big deal.
“Hmm, you have time ooo…”
I responded to her, “Yes, my sister, I have plenty of time, because I create time for what matters. In fact, when it comes to my family, I am literally jobless.”
You see, a statement like this would in the past have hurt me like crazy. I mean, she just told me that if I had a ’regular job’ outside the home, I would not have time to be combing Bolade and Oshodi for Fulani attires and accessories. I mean, she just implied that I needed to put my time to better use. That would hurt, especially if being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t exactly my first choice. But not anymore. I am wiser now and I have come to understand that as a stay at home mom, I truly have time, and so it is nothing to be ashamed or shamed about if I choose to be extra for my family.
I have learned that people will always have opinions about your life, even though they barely know you. But what they think must never affect me. Listen, girl, you need to fully embrace this season as a stay-at-home mom, and guard your joy from statements like that.
Find activities and be extra about them, whether about your home or your kids. If you want to do a Jupiter-themed photo shoot to celebrate 100 days of being married, or the cutting of your baby’s first tooth, go for it.
Coordinate your outfits every Sunday? I don’t see why not.
Change your kids’ hairstyles every 3 days? Of course.
Renovate your home monthly? Sure.
Have a garden and plant your own vegetables and cucumbers? Super you!
Put up your Christmas decorations by November 15? I am with you.
Workout out twice a day, 6 days a week? Hey, bessfren!
Join three units in church, or even the neighbourhood volunteer team? Go for it.
Homeschool your kids? Perfect.
Research and cook only healthy meals for your household? Yes, please.
Pack your hubby’s lunch daily. Oshey. (Just make it healthy so he doesn’t sport a pot-belly).
Anything that makes you happy, falls within your budget and capabilities, while increasing the quality of your life, my sister, go for it. So long as you are not spending that extra time joining the neighbourhood or compound gossip, watching back to back telenovelas, or just lazying the day away. Don’t let anyone put you down because you are being extra about your family. Don’t let anyone impose their idea of what you should be doing with your time and life, and then attempt to shame you for not complying.
And side note to the working moms reading this: don’t be this kind of person. This stay-at-home mommy gig is no joke, and even though you don’t dress up daily to go out and don’t get a salary every end of the month, the work and sacrifice you are putting in to keep the home going and your kids sane is no less important. Whether you work within the home or outside the home, we are all actively playing a part in making the world a better place.
You may ask, what use is all the extra? Well, for one, the time you spend creating memories for and with your family can never be wasted whether or not they yield financial returns.
Plus, with an investment of that time in family related activities, you get to spot patterns in your kids that either need watering and uprooting, and then you do the needful. Finally, since you are a stay-at-home mom in this season, shouldn’t you just immerse and fully rock it out, instead of wasting your days throwing a pity-party for one?
I have seen all kinds of shaming today in the world just because a woman is fully immersed in her role as a Domestic Queen and homemaker. It almost feels like nothing you do amounts to anything if you have not gotten a ‘regular job’ and made your own money, no matter what. But it’s not your place to argue with or try to convince anyone. It is time wasted when you even try to explain and justify your actions. You just do you, but make sure that in doing you, you are engaging in fruitful, useful and ultimately rewarding activities that fall well within your budget without trying to impress anyone or keeping up with the Joneses. Or in this case, Instagram.
Even though I run my business from home, I do have flexible work hours, maybe more than the average woman who works in the corporate world, so whether I choose to comb the streets of Bolade market, or knit my children’s outfits from scratch, it is my time, my hours and my home. I have permission to be extra. And so do you.