As a blogger, I read a lot of blogs, and am on Facebook a lot to promote my work. I love to see how other moms are spending their days as a way to find people facing the same things I do from day to day. But there is one big thing a lot of people don’t talk about.
They talk about their perfect decor, the fabulous developmental activities for kids, how perfect their hair looks, or how beautiful their cookies are. They show smiling faces, never have clutter in the background, and are seemingly perfect at… EVERYTHING.
Oh, and their kids are angels, they sit down for dinner, are doing long division in preschool and wear perfectly pressed outfits because they are the BEST. MOTHERS. EVER.
If I’ve ever given you that impression, I am very sorry.
The truth is, I love my family, I love that I can be home with my kids and help them grow, because I am truly blessed to be in a position to do so when not every mom can- and I don’t really know that being a stay at home mom is really meeting my best potential or that frankly, I am any good at it. I have often thought that the thing I yearned for (having children), dreamed about, and frankly always wanted (even more than being married), I am absolutely not built for. I manage, my kids are happy, healthy, thriving and I couldn’t possibly love them more or want to be around them more- but I don’t think it comes naturally for me.
I yell, I cry, I lose my temper, I sit them in front of the tv more than I should, I don’t feel like I absorb any information I read about child development in a way that I could put into practical use, I struggle with finding a parenting/discipline style that works well for my kids, and I am even worse as a homemaker, and frankly… I just care way too much about my damn self.
For me, at-home motherhood is a weird cycle.
I love my kids more than anything in the world. I stop breathing just at the thought of something happening to them. The (very few) times I am away from them, I miss them like crazy. I want to know what they are doing. I want to know they are ok. I know that my son is really hard to understand but I know his “language” and worry he’s unable to communicate without me. I know my daughter is a complete mommy’s girl and I worry she is sad not being by my side. I know they are fine (especially since their only babysitters are ever my parents or my inlaws, who my kids love so much they often cry for them and want to be with them nonstop). But **I** am attached to them.
I would never, ever chose anything than to be with them. Not that going back to work isn’t a valid option for many women (and one I dream about more than I care to admit)- I just can’t do it. I had actually planned on returning to work my entire pregnancy. I never, ever thought I would be a stay at home mom. I always thought I would continue to work in politics, and make my way to working in the white house someday.
Except, two weeks before I was supposed to go back to work from maternity leave, I couldn’t.
I couldn’t leave my baby boy with anyone else. Not only did I think he would be missing the love and support from his mom, but I felt I’d be missing a huge part of my heart. Add another baby to the mix and I feel the same way 100 times over.
And I still feel that way- even as he is in preschool (which he love, love, loves and his teachers are the sweetest, most loving women I’ve met…) I miss him and wish I was with him.
(and it’s a big but…)
I also really struggle with being a stay at home mom. I am sure 90% of moms don’t feel like a great mother 100% of the time (or heck, even 50% of the time) but I do wish we’d talk more about it.
It has nothing to do with our kids- whom we love unfailingly- but more with balancing our own expectations and remembering most of what we see from other moms is the “pretty” picture they want us to see. Not the piles of laundry in the corner, timeouts after timeouts, toy avalanches, and to-do lists that go completely ignored for months and years on end so that our kids constantly feel loved and cared for. Yea- my “real picture” is kind of a sh*tstorm.
My blog has helped because it has allowed me to combine my hobby interests (which every mom needs to have and set aside time for) with my interest in contributing to our family’s finances as well as build my own business. People often ask me how I do it all, and I tell them I don’t. Really- I don’t.
There are piles of laundry sitting to be done. My loft/craft room is horrifying. It literally gives my husband and I nightmares. We’re slowly decorating our home (only, you know, after 4 1/2 years of living in it) but it feels like everything takes forever (because when you get pregnant basically on your honeymoon and your hubby JUST moved in, it kind of kills your energy).
Seriously people- we JUST go our downstairs to a point of not looking like a frat house. Our upstairs is about 70% de-frat-ized. But I keep up with my blog because it is keeping me sane and actually nourishing the part of me that has been left in the cold- the part that wants to contribute, work at something that I can see tangible results from, and build a business.
Most people who see me in real life know that I tend to be a hot mess. Aside from struggling to find a good solution to some horrible pain from recently discovered (but long suffered) Rheumatoid/Spondylitic Arthritis, I just have a hard time holding my family together well. We stay home a lot, we always seem to be running late, we cancel on things often, and get sick just about every other day. It takes me about 4 1/2 hours to do something that should take five minutes. Everytime I sit down to post/paint/glue/cook/type- there’s a poopy diaper. There’s a fight over a toy neither kid actually wants but only wants because the other has it. There’s a need to sit on my lap, pounding on the keyboard as I type. There is a kid forcing my laptop shut… nonstop. And there is not enough medicine or booze in the world or hours to sleep at night to stop the headache of it all.
It’s getting better as my kids get older, but man- it is tough, and I want everyone to know I am flouncing. Because I am pretty sure there are a ton of other mothers out there who feel like they are the only ones feeling this way….. but…. WE AREN’T. Say that again with me, we aren’t alone.
Being a mom is awesome. It’s also incredibly difficult (whether you stay at home, work away from home, or work at home. They are all hard, all amazing, and all exhausting). And I hope it’s ok that I shared my frustrations with you, and that you share some of yours so we can all commiserate together!
My hubby and I have had some long talks, and given how horrible my health is lately, its probably time to get someone a few hours a week to help while I work from home to try to find some kind of balance. We’ve come to really rely on the income my blog and web design has provided to save and get out of debt, and it seems like a perfect mix since I WANT to be with my kids, but I simply cannot do it all.
YES. I read so many blog posts about women who are struggling with this. I’m in the thick of it too, and now watching my infant niece several days a week, exhausted, house a disaster. BUT! I get to watch my nineteen year old daughter on stage or the younger kids (7&9) set a personal best time during a swim meet and I remember it is ALL WORTH IT. Hang tight, fight the good fight and remember that your kids don’t care about dishes being done, laundry that gets worn before it gets folded or a sandwich made from homemade bread, freshly ground peanut butter and artisinal jam.
There is no way to do it all, fake the small stuff. I’ve been know to run the dish washer twice because I was to tired to rinse plates or chocolate milk in the bottom of cups from 10 hours earlier. Sometimes clothes got washed twice because they had been left in the washer a couple of days, and the dryer is an iron — right?! Because no matter how loud the dryer buzzes it can not be loud enough to be heard over screaming children. I was a working mom for years stayed home for four with my youngest, just in time to become a single mom for eight years. During those eight years I raised three boys 10, 8 & 5 plus a Scottish terrier. I worked full time and had a second job every other weekend, I would get home in time to throw a waiting kid or two in the car to make it just in time for practice of one sport or the other, we often ate late and in the car, home work was done on the way to school more than once, and once a month I was at the ER with one of them – not really once a month but it felt like is sometimes. There where times when someone was waiting on me with a coach more than once because no one had practiced on the same fields or even the same side of town. There where days when I wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing but knew I had no choice but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My Mom time was every other weekend when the boys were at their fathers, even with a second job I had me time, after two weeks of laundry and bed sheets where washed, I’d fill the dogs bowl with plenty of water and food give him extra treats and go to a friend’s, ride horses, out with friends or to the lake. I learnt how to change my own oil (all over again) to save money, I had to learn how to fix things around the house (with advise from my dad or my uncle’s). I yelled and screamed and fought with my boys. I was the loudest cheerleader they had, usually to their embarrassment, I was their worst enemy and best friend. Only by the grace of God ‘they’ survivied my trip through motherhood. It wasn’t always pretty or fun but it was always rewarding. Today I have three grown men, one a former Aireman, one a single father and one in college. Now days I get to spoil my grandson an I often hear his father or a uncle say, ‘we would have been in trouble for that’, truer words where never spoken. Lol … Now days I get to stay at home putting my remodeling skills to work on the farm I share with the man that stepped into my life when I was a teenager and again eight years ago, who loves my boys almost as much as I do; and I his girls, son in-laws and grandkids. So when you are ready to pull out your hair or maybe thinking your ready for a rubber room, just know motherhood is not for sissies, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and one day they will move out!!! Good Luck ladies!
I found your blog through a pin someone shared on Pinterest and I just have to ask. . . .Where’ve you been all my life? 😉 I too am a mother who loves her kids but doesn’t love Motherhood. This post spoke to me in ways that made me want to cry because, FINALLY, somebody gets it! I’m not alone in this insane journey. I recently started my own blog to express my thoughts on what it’s like to be a Mommy who doesn’t always want to be one. . . .I’ve seen so many news reports of Mom’s trying to or actually killing themselves and their children and I just want to scream! We aren’t capable of being perfect and putting that much pressure on yourself just isn’t worth it. I want other Mom’s to know that there are others out there who struggle and that it’s okay. I think my favorite part of this post was when you said “I think the thing I yearned most for, I am not built for”. I understand that sentiment 100% and have said as much to my friends and family. It is so nice to find someone else who understands where I’m at and is willing to say so!
Beth Jenkins Sowell
How absolutely refreshing! I guess i read this blog post at the exact right time in my life. Honestly, especially after the ongoing Mother’s Day posts on Facebook this past weekend. Yes I love my son, more than anything else in the world, but I admit that being a parent wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be. It’s so much harder, less rewarding and utterly exhausting than I ever imagined and my son is 9 years old now. I thought it would be easier as he got older, but you only give up diapers and whining in exchange for “arguing and knowing everything” and fighting over getting homework done, etc.
And most of the time I feel like an utter failure, especially when I have to say, “your shoes and backpack do NOT belong in the foyer floor” every. single. day. We should probably form a support group of Mother’s who don’t think life is all perfect and give each other a chance to be completely honest about it’s challenges so that we can support and learn from each other. I have that plethora of friends who seem to have PERFECT children and PERFECT homes and PERFECT lives as well. I don’t even pretend mine is perfect, I know I’d be lying.
I wouldn’t choose any other kid or any other life, I love my son, but it’s not candy-coated and diamond encrusted. 🙂 Thanks for being honest and please don’t feel alone out there.
Made my day! Thanks for the laugh! We are 10 yrs into our home and still don’t have all the remodeling done. But I love all the time I get to invest in my girl. Thanks for keeping it real!
This is sooo true. It made me laugh out loud several times. I had to stop reading it twice to play referee. I have chronic migraines and somedays wonder if the piles of laundry will actually start to come up the stairs to take over. However, the kids would probably start a fight with them too. Thank you for this article.
Thank You for this !! I appreciate your honesty and you brightened my day 🙂
Just stumbled across this post, and, though I’m usually a lurker on blogs, I just had to post to say Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!