I used to be a social worker. I always wanted to go into Social Work. I have always had a heart to serve and help the community. It was something that I dreamed of doing as a child. It was a big deal for me when I decided to leave my career behind (at least for now) and stay at home with my children. In the course of working in the field of adoption, I realized the importance of being a mother. I wanted to give my own children what the children that I worked with each day did not have.
When I decided to stay at home, I had a romantic notion of what it would be like. Picture Leave It Beaver….. The house was going to be spotless each day, the children of course would obey perfectly, a perfect dinner would be on the table each night. I am not sure what planet I was living on when I actually thought this would be what life was like, but reality soon followed, and so did the yoga pants. My house is not perfectly clean, in fact it is usually the opposite. I get one room clean and feel pretty excited, just to walk in to the next room and discover my sweet darling children have messed it up! I am doing good to just maintain things. Dinner is generally on the table each night, but I confess sometimes it is pizza or chicken nuggets. Coming into reality was difficult.
I would say the hardest thing for me is this feeling that I have no idea what I accomplished today. I was ending each day and I wouldn’t have the first clue what I did that day. I was busy, but what did I actually accomplish? I cleaned the dishes but thirty minutes later it looks like I haven’t done them in a week. I would clean the living room and thirty minutes later there are toys out as far as the eye can see (this is improving as my kids are getting older). The stuff I had to do each day was painfully mundane. I also struggled with a distinct feeling of isolation. I didn’t really talk to adults. The extent of my conversation was at a two year old level. I struggled emotionally a lot! There was the part of me that was incredibly thankful for getting to spend so much time with my children and there was the other part of me that was fighting off depression. Then as ridiculous as this sounds, I would feel horribly guilty for feeling depressed (I should be happy, I am with my babies) that I would actually get more depressed. I really felt trapped. My entire life now revolved around the kids and cleaning house, to the point that I could hardly remember who I was and what I enjoyed. I some how gave up every hobby and interest that I had, outside of Jesus and my family.
I read articles that would knock Stay at Home Mom’s for complaining. These articles did not help me when I was struggling. In fact, they did the opposite. I started to pray and as I prayed I started to realize more and more that I was not trapped at all. I started to see that I needed to have stuff in my life that had nothing to do with my kids or the dishes. Things that I do just out of sheer enjoyment. I gradually started putting things back into my life that I enjoy. I found as I did that, the emotional struggles went away. I am happy to be a mother, but I needed something that was mine.
I have this to say to you Stay at Home Moms that might be having a similar issue and to those mom’s considering becoming a SAHM. Make sure you keep things in your life that are yours! I don’t know what those things are, only you know what they are. For me, I write this blog, I run my own small business, I get together with friends and I am involved with my church family. For you, it may be different but you need to have those things for yourself. Those things you can go to for a rest. When you have little ones in your home, it is really easy to allow all of your attention and energy to go to your kids. Your primary job does not stop, you are a mommy 24/7, being this fact it is all the more important to keep those things in your life that brings you joy and rest.