3 years ago if I heard the words “stay-at-home mom” I’d think: easy and I’d never, ever be a stay-at-home mother. I probably also thought it was the ritzy moms who depended on their wealthy husbands. Me? Depend on anyone but myself? Uh huh..
not. I thought nice cars, nice house, trees made of money. What an easy life that is and something I’d make sure I’d never be!
And first, I want apologize to every mother (and father) who stays at home with their children instead of working for ever saying and thinking that. It’s not all roses and daisys and butterflies, and I understand that now. Still, I don’t understand how some stay-at-home mom’s make it seem that way!?!
If only I’d really known what it took to be a stay-at-home mother and wife!
It’s really true when people tell you (right before you’re about to have your first baby) that your life will never be the same.
Being a mother is a 24/7, 365 days a year with no paid holidays or vacation full time job. In other words, you never get a break! I also feel it is THE hardest job in the world.
The last month or so has been very challenging with the past couple of days really testing my strength. I figured I’d share with you some of my struggles as a way to vent and hopefully some people can relate and know they aren’t alone!
The biggest struggles I’ve dealt with, overcome and are still dealing with- SAHM = Stay-at-Home Mom
No Freedom/No “Me” Time: It’s true, once you become a SAHM (and wife) the time you have to spend on yourself becomes slim to none. And no, washing the dishes (for the fiftieth time that day) does not count as “me” time. For me it seems like as soon as I’m finished taking care of my son, my husband needs tending to (because you know they are big babies too… I love you Scott!) and vice versa. It’s so unbelievably easy to get caught up in taking care of everyone else that before you know it, you’ve gone all day not doing a simple thing for yourself! If I want to do something for myself it’s a whole process because I then have to figure out what I’m going to do with Andrew. Unfortunately since we moved we no longer have an “anytime, free of charge grandma babysitter.” This slight factor makes things extremely difficult to do and I end up not doing anything for myself.
No escape: It’s one of those (dreaded, everlasting) days. Your child is having multiple tantrums because he’s hit the toddler stage and has gained a new independence so the last thing he wants to hear out of your mouth is “no.” God forbid you try and redirect him politely! By the end of the day he’s hit you, bit you, screamed at you, thrown food at you (and on the ground), thrown himself on the ground, acted out (need I list more?). All day you’ve dealt with episode after episode with no one to help you or lessen the load. After a few days of that it can really break down a person (at least it does to me!). Through it all you’ve had to keep calm, be patient and not lose your cool even though all you want to do is hand him off to someone and run far, far away where you can sit in silence with no one to bother you. Then the worst happens (wait, it can get worse?)… that day turned into that week. Ugh. Every day you look forward to night time so you can finally get some peace and quiet. Your husband comes home to a frazzled wife and says, “Honey, it’s not that bad. You need to just try ‘____________'” Oi vay. *palm smack*
Through the ups and downs of your child’s emotions you have to be the rock and not lose it! You’ve got to be strong for the both of you even though you’re losing it on the inside.
The All-in One Profession: This is the best. You can now add professional mom, professional wife, professional vaccumer, professional dish washer, professional dinner thinker, professional diaper changer, professional laundry do-er, professional cook, professional bathroom cleaner, professional pet caretaker, professional errand runner, professional multi-tasker, professional baby entertainer, professional grocery shopper, professional banker, professional bed maker, professional toy picker-upper, professional miscellaneous things picker-upper, professional planner, professional spot cleaner, professional remember-er, professional baby calmer, professional pleaser to your resume. Have I missed any ladies? Not to mention most all these professions can be done in a single day! Who said SAHM’s don’t work? Sometimes you just want to be the professional do nothing-er.
“But I Work All Day”: I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one here that has encountered this phrase.. on more than one occasion. First I want to say that I understand it’s not their fault that they don’t realize how extremely demanding being a SAHM is. I have respect for my husband (and all the other working fathers/mothers) because I’m sure having the weight of knowing you’re the only provider for your family can be heavy and stressful. Although, even if they say they understand, they don’t. If they had to deal with a screaming baby tugging at their feet while trying to cook dinner and not burn it, they’d lose their mind! I know this from first-hand experience… on both occasions! Respectively, they deserve some time to wind down from their day at work but what about when you’ve been working all day and you don’t get any time to wind down?? What a balance it takes! You ask them to do something and they don’t want to do it because they’ve “been working all day.” Being a SAHM is hard work. I think every father should be a SAHM for 2 weeks so they can really appreciate the hard work a SAHM does. Don’t get me wrong, being a working mom is hard work and I have mad respect for them. It seems though, more gets plopped on the plate of the SAHM because they “don’t work.” I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who puts 50% in most of the time but every now and then I have to remind him what I deal with every day.
Independence turns to Dependence: I think some like being dependent on other people and find it securing. I, on the other hand grew up with my mother telling me to never depend on anyone (especially a man) but yourself. The thought of relying on someone for everything was daunting. She’d tell me to make my own money, buy my own things, go to school so I could take care of myself. So, that’s what I did. I didn’t depend on anyone for anything because things like that get kind of engrained in your mind. Enter marriage and baby. The money I would make working after Andrew came into this world would only be enough to pay for childcare so my husband and I decided it was best if I stayed at home. It was all around better for Andrew and I couldn’t bare the thought of putting him into a day care at only 6 weeks old. I had to really learn to trust my husband and realize that we were in it together.
Putting Your Life on Hold and Sacrifices: This is probably the biggest thing I continually struggle with. I’m 22 and never thought in my life I would be married and have a baby by this age. It just didn’t seem like the path I would be dealt. But, life has a way of surprising you and dealt I got. In the beginning it was really difficult to accept that I was at home all day and my husband was out making the money for both of us. It was hard to accept that I was putting my life on hold, that I was sacrificing what I loved to do in order to raise our son. I knew it was temporary and that my life was not over but I couldn’t help feel it. Only now, 16 months later, do I feel like I’ve accepted the path I’ve been dealt. It gets increasingly easier each day that Andrew grows and because I’ve discovered a new passion of mine it makes my life feel a lot more self-fulfilling. Being married brings it’s own sacrifices but bringing a new life into the world brings even more. It’s important to remind myself to keep moving on. To keep on working towards your dreams (or work towards finding it) despite the sacrifices you make for your family. My time to shine will come and if there are any SAHM’s reading this (and are dealing with this) your time to shine will come too. Just don’t give up, keep moving on and be the best you can be!
Through all the screaming, tears (on both ends), biting, tantrums, and sacrifices and all the times I’ve had my almost losing points, I’ve realized I’m so lucky and wouldn’t trade it for the world! It’s been an amazing, self-growing experience and I’m looking forward to the future and all the great things it’s going to bring myself and my family.
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul