That I should become a stay at home mum was never a question. Our circumstances pretty much dictated that it should be so. And of course, I am grateful that we can manage well enough on just one income. We might not have much to spare at the end of each month, but we’re hardly penny pinching either. Yet what looks like an ideal arrangement in theory has of course some snags in reality.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was in the finishing stages of my PhD. The next eight months were rough. Going through the highly stressful process of finalising a dissertation, while being hormonal, first nauseous and then increasingly round and uncomfortable. With six weeks to go before my due date, I submitted my dissertation and was able to spend a month and a half relaxing and actually enjoying thinking about how life was going to be like with my baby.
Researching and writing my dissertation had been my job for the previous four years. So following submission, I was pretty much out of a job. Of course, I didn’t mind. It really was perfect timing. Unlike so many of my peers who finished their PhD and found themselves not having a clue what to do next, I had a baby to look after.
Academic jobs, especially in the arts, are thin on the ground. I was offered some hours tutoring, but the childcare I would have required would’ve cost more than the job would actually pay, so I turned it down. I do want to go back to my academic career, but I’m happy to just take a break from it for the next few years. As an historian, my expertise is not going out of date in a hurry, and I can keep doing some work independently, while staying in touch with the world of academia. In other words, I can keep my name out there even if I’m not working.
For the first half year after my daughter was born, I was happy being ‘just’ a stay-at-home-mum. It is incredibly satisfying looking after a little person. Eventually, however, I was becoming restless. I felt I needed an outlet for my creativity and something to exercise my brain. Moreover, I found it more difficult than I expected to be financially completely dependent on my husband.
The obvious answer was to find something to do which would challenge me [i]and[/i] provide me with a small income. In other words, to go from being a SAHM to a WAHM (work-at-home-mum) This, however, proved easier said then done.
To be continued with the story of my journey from SAHM to WAHM…