I want to start this by saying: As a mother who left the workforce and a job I loved to become a stay at home mom, who also has worked from home in the past- I want it to be clear motherhood is hard for ALL of us out here.
Has anyone else had emotional moments where they questioned their decision to become a SAHM? Anyone? Just me? Ok. lol
This thought ran through my mind last night, while my husband was at his part time job; I’d nursed our 9 month old 3 times in the last hour, she was crying in refusal to be put to bed…and I was crying too.
One of the best decisions I ever made was to stay home with our children, and its also the decision that invokes a lot of emotion at times as well. First of all, a major factor in my decision is how EXPENSIVE daycare is! Lets also face it , the U.S. doesn’t do that great of a job at supporting mothers compared to other countries.
I’d been at my job a few months shy of 2 years when me and my husband had the discussion on being home instead of working. Daycare costs for an infant here run anywhere between $1-1200 monthly. I would essentially be working to pay for daycare alone and that wasnt going to work for us. So I gave my boss 3 months notice just in case I needed to train my replacement and ultimately left my job at 35 weeks pregnant.
Fast forward 9 months post partum and some change. Some days I feel like I am absolutely losing it. While I love nothing more than to not miss any moments or milestones , and to be more involved with my oldest’s school ; I have recently found myself feeling like I have no clue to what I am doing or who I am outside of “mom.” I now understand the rants and vents I have read from other moms over the years on social media.
When I met my husband I was avidly practicing yoga and kickboxing. I had a social life with friends, I had ENERGY. Not to mention I’d recently lost the 60 lbs of baby weight from pregnancy with my then 4 year old (yes it took that long, dont judge me). Now I am rarely out of our home unless to run errands or attend the few and far in between functions we add to our calenders. I live in leggings and any shirt I can easily pop a boob out of to nurse; and I am living proof that breastfeeding doesnt help you lose weight. (With our daughter i actually lost all of the baby weight by 6 weeks post partum but fell victim to poor eating and tons of snacking because breastfeeding makes you feel like you can never get enough food).
Our now 7 year is in school most of the day as it assists best with his needs (more on that in my next post), but man is our daughter busy – what 9 month old is though , right? Some days I am lucky if I eat 2 meals, or even get half of my daily “to do” list done. I am most certain the stress I am accumulating is due to lack of sleep and feeling like I have a mundane daily routine of nurse, change diaper, soothe, “please dont touch that” and repeat. I barely see friends, though I can say it’s due to us all expanding our families and achieving goals.
The guilt of not having income to contribute has always been present but it has been hitting much harder this past month or so as well. I am so used to my independence and having something to bring to the table. Though my husband has never done anything short of supporting anything I do – I have been feeling like I dont have much to contribute as of late.
After I finally got our daughter to sleep, and emerged from our bathroom puffy eyed and red nosed from a much needed cry it dawned on me that perhaps my issue is the sense of loss I have been feeling. Yes I am a mom, but who am I outside of this? Also realizing as women its our duty to ourselves to maintain our identity outside of being a mother as well. Yes motherhood is a beautiful experience that I cherish (considering we have 2 children as a result of 4 pregnancies) – but it shouldnt replace our sense of self. Making sure I maintain my identity is a portion of what self love looks like to me. It dawned on me that I essentially stopped doing things I loved as a person because I felt it would take away from my duties as a mother. How false is that right?
So often we see all of these memes that joke about the coffee or wine addicted mom who has essentially lost her everlasting mind and we re-share because we can relate. We tend to however, not focus on what we can do to add some balance to our caffeine crazed days as well. Self love is so important and it breathes a certain life into a person that words cannot do justice.
As an ode to my self love and getting myself out of this rut I have committed to morning walks each morning – on days the sun aint shining, me and the baby will just walk around the mall. Fresh air is so important for the body and the mind, as is a change of scenery. Winter hasnt help much because I become a hermit of sorts since I hate being cold. I figured starting this self love challenge in Spring will have me in a good rhythm to withstand winter when it rears its annoying head again. We already enjoy our babies in bloom library meet up weekly, and I will be starting kickboxing next month.
I LOVE my kids, but I looking back over the past few years I find I was happiest when I wasnt engulfing myself solely into my motherhood, when I was also living for me as well. The initial feeling of not working was amazing but I definitely lost my way with navigating my transition without losing my self in the process.
I am CRAVING adult interaction, and some fun of sorts so its up to me to get out there and meet people, which is a journey within itself since I am what I call a ‘functioning introvert’ – I love social interactions but I also have social anxiety. Working through that with a few out of home extra curriculars can essentially kill two birds with one stone. (After all working through my social anxiety is how I met my husband so it works lol).
I’ll end my therapeutic rambling with : Motherhood is hard. While this catered to my experience as a SAHM it was just as hard even if in different manners when I had a job. Balance is so imperative to living a fruitful life. Its okay to do something for yourself, no matter how many moms scoff and chuckle at the thought of ever having 5-10min to themselves daily – its so critical. So while you may not have time or means to take up a class, or join a meet up group – atleast do yourselves a favor a take a few minutes each day to do something that makes you smile that isnt attached to anything other than you and your enjoyment. If you feel like you have no life outside of motherhood it may mean you need to create one 🙂