I’ve been both. A working mom and obviously now I am a stay at home mom. There was a time when I worked as a nurse and I only worked night shifts so that I could spend my days with my baby. That’s a whole other kind of hard. We made the decision for me to stay home full time almost a year ago. In that time I have gotten all kinds of comments from family, friends, strangers even. Conversations usually go something like this.
“So what are you doing these days, Tiffany?”
me – “I’m staying home with my girls”
“Oh, is that a temporary thing?”
me- “No, I plan to stay home with them as long as we can afford it”
“But you’re a nurse right?”
“Don’t you feel bad not contributing or bringing in money, you know, a real job?.”
At which point I feign a smile and choke back what I would really like to say. I don’t know if you moms have figured this out yet but people are REALLY opinionated when it comes to parenting in general. Perfect strangers feel the need to give their 2 cents on your choices. I can’t for the life of me figure out why. Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I have learned in my year of being a full-time stay at home mom that it is not easy. And here are 5 reasons why.
1. Seclusion. Staying home can give you the feeling of extreme seclusion. Think about it. You can go 1 weeks, 2 weeks even without seeing or talking to anyone other than say.. at the grocery store or gas station. It’s like suddenly you realize, I haven’t had an adult conversation with anyone outside of my home in a very long time. When that happens you know it’s time to call a friend or go out with your sister shopping. Anything!
2. No Personal Time. Having little people, especially when there are more than one , can be all-consuming of your time. They come to the bathroom with you, they eat with you, sit in your lap , walk to get the mail with you, “help” clean with you….you catch my drift. And while I LOVE having their company I think it’s good to be alone sometime. It doesn’t have to be for long. A few minutes here, a few hours there. I know when I need to be alone I’ll leave the girls with my husband and go run errands alone. After an hour or so I’m ready to have a bathroom buddy again.
3. Guilt. Of course, when the person at the grocery store alludes to the fact that I don’t have a real job my first instinct is to poke them in the eye. In the quiet of my heart though, sometimes I struggle with guilt and insecurities. Maybe I should be working, maybe I need to contribute to bringing in money. When money gets tight its easy to feel guilt. When I start to feel this way I have a good talk with my husband. He reminds me of how important my job is and my heart settles.
4. Who Am I? I think it is so easy to get lost when you are a stay at home mom. So easy to forget yourself and who you are. Of course being a mom is a HUGE part of who we are, but I mean the other stuff. What do you enjoy, what makes you laugh. What kind of music do you like? What is your opinion on political issues? Don’t lose yourself in the day-to-day menial tasks. You are still a unique, personable individual!
5. Frump. That’s the only way I know to describe it and maybe its just me wallowing in her frumpiness over here.When I worked I showered , dressed and applied makeup regularly. I didn’t really even think about it. Now, staying home it is a battle to make myself do those things. I mean. I do take a shower when I have time but the other things are optional. Why is this so hard? Maybe I am the only one.
Let me end by saying that this is not one of those “mom wars” type of post. This is not a woe is me post. This is not a working mom -vs stay at home mom post. It just is what it is. A post about why being a Stay at home mom is not easy. I could just as easily write one about why being a working mom is not easy. Got it? Good. Glad we cleared that up .