Dear Edith

Dear Edith Response #3 – Catherine

Dear Edith finding meaning as a SAHM --

Read the original question here.

Dear Annemarie,

I felt a little envious when I first read of your plight to be quite honest.

Studying and working, newly married (TEN months before baby born), sick as a dog and incredibly busy, I was in denial about the realities for a good part of my first pregnancy. I winged it completely, cried at the birthing classes, couldn’t do the breathing, ran out of the birth video in horror.

With the hindsight of 25 years and 5 children, what would I do differently?

I sensed in your apparent feeling of guilt at being home that you perhaps felt guilty at not ‘contributing’ equally by earning money alongside your husband. This is not how it works, but it is understandable that you feel that way, especially having just left paid employment for the first time. We do tend to identify ourselves closely with our professions, and this is going to be a big adjustment for you, as it is for any first time parent.

God has already told you what he wants you to be – a mother – by blessing you both with a baby. So use the pre-birth time to begin to learn how.

The time you have now is a gift for both you and your husband to use to establish patterns for your new life as parents.

The time you have now is a gift for both you and your husband to use to establish patterns for your new life as parents.

Daily mass and prayer are terrific and are not just for you but for your family. Make sure you take your husband with you in your heart.

Take on board the many intensely practical lessons in our faith about love and service and motivations and humility.

Always pray for your practical needs and for your husband and child/ren. You won’t always be able to go to daily Mass, but you can pray anywhere, anytime.

Also read, relax and look after yourself at this time.

I would introduce your husband gently (if he is not already familiar with these ideas) to the concepts of doing the shopping, tidying up, cleaning, laundry, etc, and generally doing stuff round the house that needs to be done. Avoid letting him assume that these are ‘your’ jobs because you are at home.

Not only is this a pernicious untruth (you are not the help, you are an equal partner), but after the baby is born you will be shell-shocked for a while, and so busy and tired that you won’t have a lot of resources to devote to keeping a spotless home and waiting on another adult.

Help him establish habits and awareness of a mature adult that will free you up for baby duty without feeling that you are ‘neglecting’ him or need to organize him as well.

That being said, also put some (or lots of) time in now to organizing your home to function well with minimal effort. Plan, or learn to plan, a budget. Learn to cook quick and healthy meals, to plan your food shopping, get your kitchen organised for ease of use and of cleaning up after. Plan a four week cycle of easy and quick menus, with shopping lists ready to grab and hand to your husband. If you don’t have one, get a dishwasher.

Organize your home so it is easy to keep clean and tidy, ditto your nursery. Learn some cleaning hacks. Get in a large stock of newborn disposable diapers. If people ask what you need for the baby, have a list ready and tick it off as you request things, or have a registry.

Go to prenatal classes and try and make some friends with other pregnant ladies so you will have a bit of a support network afterwards. Check out local playgroups. Engage more with your extended family members as part of your support network.

make some friends with other pregnant ladies so you will have a bit of a support network afterwards.

Get some tops NOW that will make breastfeeding easy and tactful.

Prepare for the unexpected – birth may not go to plan and it is an arduous and messy physical process. Make a healthy baby your sole priority in your birth plan. AND you’ve got less than nine months to do all this, sister!

Do as much groundwork as you can now because you sure as heck won’t have time to do it afterwards. Being a SAHM is the most wonderful thing, but the rewards are unquantifiable and unexplainable and often reveal a certain wry humor in our Creator. You’ll find out.

Best of luck.


Catherine is a nother of five young adults 14-24. All gainfully employed and/or studying hard to become so. Married once, for 25 years, separated for six months. Working full time.

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