The curse of the stay-at-home mom

Dear mama,

There is a good chance that if you are reading this you are probably beside yourself with exhaustion. There may be tears in your eyes and stains on your jeans because it has been “one of those days” so to speak, or weeks, or years. We wrangle the kids to and from the doctors, birthday parties, school, sports. We try to keep up on household work, the growing piles of dishes,  the mountain of laundry. Your hair is probably dirty and you may or may not have yesterdays mascara on if you were lucky enough to even wear mascara. Some research indicates that mothers often desire to go back to work, have higher levels of sadness and anger, and are socially isolated from spending time mostly with kids.

There’s limited downtime so we take every advantage to rest in some way shape or form. Whether that be scrolling on Instagram, hunting for pins on Pinterest, browsing on Amazon, or just sitting on the couch staring at the ceiling wondering what the hell we’re making for dinner. It’s discouraging… We endure not making money for all the work that we do. Worse yet is when we feel underappreciated for what we do every day. This type of thankless work is truly done from the heart. The reality is, being a stay-at-home mom is challenging. It is isolating and painfully lonely even though we are never physically alone. We share every meal and every moment with our gremlins, I mean sweethearts.

At times it feels as though there is an emptiness to the work, a desire to contribute more to society, or just to yourself. I would do almost anything to help make ends meet because it beats feeling helpless with the finances. When I find those time slots in my day I try and help generate income as do some of my mama friends. Working with a jewelry company, cleaning houses from time to time, selling a skin care line, running a blog, or even doing childcare… The list of “opportunities” goes on and on. To just cover the groceries would be amazing. I catch myself in the cycle of wanting to go back to work to help out financially. Whenever I consider this I come back to the same point: raising my children myself is more important.

If anyone is going to wreck these little guys it’s going to be me, not a daycare or school, but that’s just my personal preference. I mean what else is therapy for?

Guilt is my constant companion.
Especially when I don’t do the majority of the work that I’m supposed to do.
Or most of what is expected of me. Not in a misogynistic sort of way, I have a wonderful husband who helps me with the house simply by watching the kids so that I can do one chore uninterrupted, or sweeping after I vacuum so that we can mop. He’s great. But there’s a weight on me, a burden of all these things to-do on the never-ending to-do list…

Meal plan, shop for the groceries, meal prep, play date, sort the laundry, wash the laundry, fold the laundry, entertain, put away the laundry, clean the children, change the clothes, wrap the gift, wipe the noses, tie the shoes, dry the tears, attend the party, clean the lovey, read the books, tickle the backs, brush the teeth… Oh and don’t forget you need to also take a shower and brush your own teeth woman.

I am discouraged. I am exhausted emotionally and physically.

But here is the thing. You are the most fantastic creature ever to walk the earth. You’re doing amazing even on those bad days. Because that little one, or ones, are looking up to you. They know you from the inside out literally. No one else has heard your heart beat from the inside. It’s okay to feel out of control, like having those sweet babies caused you to lose your identity. It’s not just you feeling isolated. It’s teeming with irritability and rage when Mrs. Darling talks to you at the store about how blessed you are to stay home. At least you had an adult conversation? Sure you haven’t missed a milestone but this isn’t about the sunshine and whiskey of parenting.
You don’t feel blessed you feel suffocated.

It’s okay to not want the dishes to stack up and choose your house over the kids for once, I miss my stove top and counters. It’s okay to be annoyed at your significant other for having a life outside the house, like how dare you. It’s okay to skip the chores and just sit outside. It is okay to miss the woman you were. Whether you worked outside the house or not, your whole life changes when you become a mom, and when you stay at home it will feel like there is nothing to you aside from the title “mom”. It is normal to feel discouraged. There is someone out there who can relate, regardless of your experience. Just know there are other moms like you too. They will support you as much as you support them.

Maybe you love every single moment of motherhood and that is amazing. Please tell me what you put in your coffee because I would like to have some. Maybe you’re like me and some days it’s too much but you can’t quit. Here is the important part. It is crucial that every stay-at-home mom establish a support system. Find a way to go on regular outings with your mom friends. Mom groups are a thing, join one, Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) is an incredible way to network without being to far out of your comfort zone. Do a quick search on Facebook I promise you will find something. You require a much-needed break, this helps prevent and cure mommy burnout. Ask your spouse for a half hour of uninterrupted alone time, no physical contact. Take a shower, sit in the car and listen to the music you can’t sing around your babies as loud as you like it.

You are worth your own time. Even though it’s hard to find.

What would you like to know?


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