There are times in one’s life as a stay-at-home mother, where one is faced with sudden bouts of self reflection and worrisome contemplation about one’s future.

The experience is not unlike finding and trying an old pair of your favourite jeans you know may be too small.

You sit on your bed, jeans in hand, daring yourself to put them on. Sometimes, you’d chicken out, stuffing them hastily back into the closet. Sometimes, you’d actually do it, only to be stubbornly refused somewhere along the thighs area. Defeated, you return them to their rightful place, in the box marked “old clothes”, before going downstairs for a lunch of two tomatoes and a peanut.

Did I tell you that I was once a journalist? 

I’d started my career writing about supermarkets and hotels and food. And then I began taking an interest in computers and technology and the Internet. Before I knew it, I was playing video games and writing about them.

It was a glorious time, which culminated in my helping to organise the first ever international game development conference in Malaysia in 2005. I got to meet my idol, Chris Avellone, the lead designer of Neverwinter Nights 2. And that was my swan song, before embarking on my journey to the US as a stay-at-home mom.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that life. Sometimes, it hits like a punch to the stomache, to realise that that chapter is now over and that I may never be a journalist again. Not until my kids go off to college anyway. And as much as I console myself with blogging and my experiments with creative writing, and the fact that I am doing the most important job of my life today, I know that part of my life is closed. Greyed out. Dead.

It does NOT feel like a noble job, being an at-home mom. It is not fulfilling, not all of the time. And God knows it ain’t easy. Most moms who do it often ask themselves when the day would come where they’d go off the deep end. Most of the time, it isn’t even because your child is sick or that they’ve somehow found paint and poured it all over the TV. It can be as harmless as the prospect of facing another day of the same old shit.

Waking up and making breakfast. Bathing the kids. Breastfeeding. Going to the playground. Cooking dinner. Doing laundry. Cleaning up messes.

Every. Single. Day. No ifs. No buts. No breaks.

I often wonder if my husband understands what a big deal this is, and why he should worship the ground I walk on for the rest of my life and let me win every fight we will ever have. I wonder if the husbands of other stay-at-home moms who could’ve had huge careers of their own – husbands who will NEVER quit their jobs because they’re, well, men -understand what a HUGE fucking deal this is, and do the same.

Why?

It’s simple. Ask yourself: If the both of you have the same earning power, will you quit your job and be a stay-at-home dad?

No?

Then you must understand that what you do will never be the same as what we do.

Unless you clean pig sties or work in a daycare or fight fires.

 

Yes, it’s another one of those days that I’ve tried on the jeans, knowing I will never be able to get into them again.

And wonder perhaps if it’s time to throw them out.