It’s time to get real… like really real. I have a confession for you guys and let me tell ya, it’s a doozy. Are you ready? I don’t like being a stay at home mom. I mean, I love my kids, but I don’t like being a stay at home mom. There. I said it!
Before you go all crazy and “how dare she” on me, hear me out!
Before I had kids I always dreamed of being a stay at home mom. I wanted to be the quintessential house wife and mom. I wanted to bake all the things, cook all the things and clean all the things… all with flawless hair and makeup while my husband brought home the bacon. (*Insert hair flip!) I mean, that’s what a stay at home mom is supposed to do, right? Hasn’t anyone ever seen The Dick Van Dyke Show?
Wellllllll, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you how skewed that viewpoint was, right? I got my dream of being a stay at home mom almost by default (check out the story of my motherhood journey here!) because we simply couldn’t afford to pay for childcare. After the first whirlwind of a year in motherhood, I thought to myself… is this what I thought I wanted all these years? Where is the happiness, where is the bliss? Is this IT?
BACK TO REALITY
Let me preface this by saying I LOVE LOVE LOVE my kids and I wouldn’t trade them for the world… but, I hated being pregnant. HATED it! I was puffy and achy and I just felt downright fat. That was the first shock back to reality I got. Why couldn’t I be one of those flawlessly pregnant women who enjoyed every second of it?
The second came after about a year into raising my son when I realized my life looked absolutely NOTHING like I thought it should. For one, I was NOT exactly a good house keeper. The idea of spending my time, day in and day out, doing dishes, laundry and dusting made me want to cringe. (I’m definitely not type A.) I’m a college educated woman and I have so much more to offer the world, right!? RIGHT!? I mean, I’ll sit on the couch and rock and feed a baby all day long, but you can have the rest of that stay at home mom life, okay?
I wasn’t the only one who had an opinion about my choice to be a stay at home mom. My husband, as understanding and appreciative as he is now, did not understand how I could fill an entire day caring for a baby and a toddler and not have time to vacuum the floors. And this caused resentment, too.
I LOST MY IDENTITY
Pre-motherhood I had ambition… maybe even pride. I didn’t know how but I wanted to make a difference—a BIG one! I’m a dreamer and man, did I have some far-out dreams. Honestly, I didn’t think motherhood would interfere much with that. Boy, was I wrong! Nothing can knock you down a few rungs like being a new mom. Sure, from the outside moms look like super heroes. Unstoppable forces of women who can do so many hard things and rise above it all.
While that may be true, its hard to feel like a superwoman when you’re waking up at 2 am with a milk-stained shirt to feed an infant that won’t sleep through the night. Superpowers don’t feel so super when you’ve been wearing them for 4 days straight without a shower because the baby cries when you walk away.
I know, I know… all these things are so… temporary. Babies get bigger, kids grow up and life moves on. Sour milk shirts are in the past and a full nights sleep is now a nightly occurrence. Still, somewhere between the baby bottles and the school lunches, identities can be forgotten. We can forget what we used to love, what made us tick in the first place. THAT is not a good place to be, my friend.
RECLAIMING MY PURPOSE AS A STAY AT HOME MOM
As the years have gone by, I’ve wrestled with feelings of dissatisfaction. I just didn’t like being a stay at home mom but I felt like a terrible mom for even admitting it. How can I not want to spend my time with my children? How can I not enjoy teaching, laughing and playing with them all day. Why does that not fulfill me… isn’t that my highest calling as a mother?
Maybe… just maybe I had it all wrong. Maybe being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean every second of my life is devoted to caring for my children directly. Could it be that cultivating my own life and interests is just as important as my time spent cooking dinner for the family or playing Candy Land on the floor?
YOU NEED TO CARE FOR YOURSELF, TOO
Honestly, the best thing I ever did as a stay at home mom is decide to take my own life back. I take the time to be by myself, to cultivate my own desires and hobbies. I also started professionally blogging… without feeling guilty about it! Does it take up a lot of my time during the day? Yes, but I think that’s okay. They need to see that my life has purpose outside of them alone and they need to see me work hard to chase my dreams.
TALK TO YOUR SPOUSE
Not only should you convince yourself of your worth outside of motherhood, you should tell your spouse, too. I didn’t realize how much resentment I was harboring from our early years of parenthood when my husband wasn’t completely supportive of me staying home. I can tell you, that makes it so much harder.
After having honest discussions about it, he understands so much better now what it’s really like to stay home with the kids and he is so good about taking them out for a couple of hours so I can have time to work. He also actively steps into the parenting role more while we are all at home together instead of letting it always default to me. These tiny changes have made all the difference in our marriage and in how I view my worth as a mother and as a woman and all it took was some honest communication! He has helped me climb out of that box I put myself in.
It was my pride and arrogance that kept me in this stay at home mom box all of these years. I just didn’t think I could do both… be a good mom and have a purpose outside of motherhood. These are lies the enemy tries to tell us. Setting boundaries for myself has made my intentional time with my kids so much more meaningful… not to mention I have much more patience with them! I finally feel like I can follow a passion God has placed in me without the guilt that I am slacking on motherhood. And THAT, my friend, is a good place to be.
How do you maintain your identity as a woman who is also a stay at home mom? Share with us in the comments below!
- Check out these 7 Ways to Combat Stay at Home Mom Depression and take you joy back!
- Find out how to get the most out of your UN quiet time with the Lord!
- See these 25+ children’s books about diversity you should add to your bookshelf today!