Every time my brother comes to visit, he calls on his way home to tell me how much he enjoyed how “full of life” our house is. To me it is chaos, but it seems to stave off the boredom.
You see, I’m a reluctant Stay At Home Mom…but after a decade I’m learning how to make it work for me.
Being a Stay At Home Mom is not a decision everyone arrives at easily. For me, I was completely in the other camp until I had my first kiddo. And once I was home it felt like the right thing for my son, but I became incredibly resentful. I felt like my brain was shriveling up and dying. My witty, smart personality was floating away like a snowflake in the breeze. I medicated with busyness. I would constantly rearrange furniture, start new projects, take the kids on adventures. Don’t even get me started on the number of pets we’ve had! (Four dogs, five cats, countless fish/snails/frogs…)
Flash back to 10+ years ago when my first son was born. I had my first anniversary at my dream job and then went into labor. My husband and I were planning to send our son to daycare but during maternity leave we realized that we just couldn’t have it all. I was a director at a non-profit but it was a no-brainer. My salary barely would cover daycare costs for one kid, let alone any future kiddos. Thus began my reluctant new role: Stay At Home Mom.
I’ll admit it; the first nine years were rough! I’m not exactly what you would call a ‘sit-and-relax’ type of gal! I was used to going a million miles a minute and now was sitting with a newborn…nursing and watching the dust bunnies roll across my floor like tumbleweeds. Sometimes I get nostalgic for the mall in that little college town we first lived in. I spent a few days a week wandering there just to get out of the house.
Flash forward to two more sons, two more moves across two more time-zones, two more dogs, two new cats…get the picture? Life got crazy – which kept me occupied! Then I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. At the end of last summer I called my hubby at work and said that I was DONE. I was going BACK TO WORK ASAP! He was very sweet and completely supportive. Why that didn’t work out and the reasons why it’s partially my fault are for another discussion. Needless to say, I’ve come full-circle from a year ago. I now see the value of being the family anchor…the value of being there for everyone to count on, to make sure I’m raising successful boys who will become great men…being the anchor for my husband to keep growing his career and providing a great life for us.
I know I’m betraying my mother’s generation who fought so hard to “bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan.” Please withhold all your comments on that subject. I see now that my job is making my family successful in whatever way works for us. That is NOT because I think every woman should stay home. Absolutely not! I have some great examples in my own family and friends who are doing it differently than me. And their families are beautifully happy!
The point is you need to find what works to keep your mind, your soul happy and engaged. To find that you, too, can find a way to find value in yourself beyond wiping butts, cleaning house, helping with homework, driving to soccer practice, etc. That just because you’re a Stay At Home Mom you can still be more!