Musings from a SAHM on a Journey

I used to be fun. I use to have more good days, filled with belly-laughter than bad days. Most of the time nowadays, I’m unhappy. I feel like I’m suffocating in my life right now, the kind of suffocation where you rip your shirt off because you simply cannot breathe while wearing it. I feel trapped by motherhood and the monotone noise of being a stay-at-home-mom.

I live mostly on Facebook as it’s pretty much my only connection with the world outside of my home, and I cannot explain the punch-in-the-gut-soul-crushing-irrational-jealousy and sadness I feel when I see other people’s summer pictures and adventures. Somehow, referring who gets the pink plate vs the orange one just doesn’t seem to fulfill me when I’m staring at pictures of people swimming with whale sharks or having a drink with friends. I love going on adventures and meeting new people. There was once a time when I was fearless and outgoing. Now I’m too concerned if someone liked me enough to make a playdate again.

I used to be funny and I used to lose my voice from yelling with joy, not with frustration. I feel drained and incomplete, half of a human and taken for granted. I feel overlooked, under loved and unappreciated. I feel a tide of rage washing over me when I spend my days cleaning the house only to turn around and see my kids spreading yogurt all over the newly mopped floor. Or taking the pile of clothes I just folded and literally throwing them on the bed while they look for their specific shirt they must have. Call me crazy, but I don’t find the joy in scraping poop out from under my fingernail after my hand slipped when I was wiping what turns out to be insanely slippery poop on a tiny baby butt.

Then I have the rock-in-my-stomach, wearing-a-100-pound-vest feeling of the mom guilt and shame I feel when I see other parents enjoy their kids and their lives (speaking of which, has anyone seen my vest? I misplaced it and after writing this article, it’s imperative that I wear it).

What is wrong with me?! Why do I need more than my already bountiful life?

I think as wives, mothers and women, we need to be ok with knowing that is ok to not be ok. I think we get so wrapped up in what we thought motherhood would be like that we forget that it’s hard as hell and sometimes it just doesn’t work out for the mama to stay home.

I want to travel and go swimming with whale sharks, I want to experience different cultures and make new friends, I want to take a picture that shows how free my soul is, and I don’t feel bad for wanting those things.

It’s so hard for me to say that I don’t love staying home at this junction of my life. I feel like saying that is akin to saying I don’t love my kids, even though that’s not what I mean or my intention. It’s BECAUSE I love them that I need this for me. It’ll make me a better mama. It’ll demonstrate self-love. I don’t want to be a full-time worker, but I need some adult time and some adventures in my life. Something more to look forward to other than the next load of laundry.

Image by Rae Vision Photography

There is this cultural push that tells us that if we don’t find a continuous fountain of joy in these motherly things, that we are somehow missing the point and have failed in this parenting journey. My journey doesn’t end or hinge on being a stay-at-home-mom; I think my journey takes a new path when I begin a career. The journey changes directions when I start developing and discovering myself outside of these four walls; outside of motherhood.

You know how animals at the zoo pace back and forth, anxiously in their cage? That’s my mind. I love my kids, I love my husband, but they don’t define me. I am a person apart from them. I need personal fulfillment apart from them, and it’s ok that I need that. Do I want to spend all my days away from my family? No, not at all! I love them and want to be near them. Why do I feel the need to add caveats to every wish or yearning I have? So I can reiterate, many times, the depth of my love for my family.

Image by Rae Vision Photography

I have a fear (that is not imagined thanks to holier-than-thou viral blog articles and commentators) that if I don’t, I’m going to be criticized and told that I should have never become a mother and wife. This is all because of pressure and expectations that we put on mothers, that if we feel this way, we open ourselves to judgement and must not love our families as deeply as we should.

I have an irrational fear that Blake will wean and forget all about me if I go back to work. I constantly want to be number one in his life right now. I worry that I won’t be there when the school nurse calls saying Mae is having an asthma attack, or that Jasmine punched someone for talking sass to her and I need to pick her up (which hasn’t happened yet, but the time is coming when my tiger child will avenge a perceived injustice that has befallen her). I fear losing my bond with them. Why am I so concerned that these things won’t get handled as well as they could be handled if I don’t do them? My husband, Marshall, is perfectly capable of doing these things and is an excellent father (though if he could lactate, I’d enthusiastically let him have some of the night-time feedings).

It’s because we are told it’s a mama’s job to do these things, that no one can do them as well as me. I think it’s doing Marshall a disservice actually. While it places an incredible burden on me, at the same time this notion is saying that he can never be as good as me. He is. In some areas he’s better…except for that lactation thing. I’m pretty sure that I’ve got the upper hand on that one. He’s so patient and understanding, he’s fun and relates to the kids in a way that I don’t. I don’t think that either one of us are better than the other at parenting overall, we each bring unique abilities to the table. What I’m trying to say is that it will not be the determent of the kids to have him at home taking care of them.

It’s not even that I don’t like staying home; it’s that I feel myself getting lost. I’ve forgotten who I am. I enjoy spending time with my kids but am I really the best mom I can be when I don’t even have an identity away from them? I’m getting to a place where I need to be selfish in some areas. I need to carve out some time that is just for me and I need to relish in it. I want my world to expand beyond grocery shopping and cleaning, I’m anxious for it.

I loved being a stay-at-home mom for many years; those are years and memories I’ll never, ever regret. I got to spend so much time with my kids, bonding with them and learning about them-just being near them. I’m truly thankful for that opportunity. I was able to witness, first hand, the sweet smell of their hair after baths and their first laughs. I saw their first steps, heard their first joke, and have watched in awe as they somehow hacked into a webpage and were able to alter the html code. They poop themselves but somehow how they were able to hack a webpage.

Image by Rae Vision Photography

My readiness for the next phase of life, or a wanting of adventures and things just for me, the yearning to define myself outside of the home, does not negate the love and appreciation I have for my family or for staying home. A very good friend of mine said so simply, “motherhood for you has been part of the journey, NOT the destination.” She is beyond right. The opportunity to stay home has allowed me to open myself up and analyze what is important to me, what I need in life and how to go about getting those needs satisfied. Being a mother has taught me how to demonstrate loving myself enough, so that I can love my family better. I hope that I am modeling self-love enough to my kids so they will grow up confident in their abilities.

My need to go on a vacation and get out of the house is not unacceptable; my kids and family are an enormous majority of my world, but they are not my entire world. And that’s ok.

4 Responses to Musings from a SAHM on a Journey

  1. This is refreshing to see. Too many women are scared to say this… And it’s very true. Thanks for not being afraid.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this. Even though I am a working mom, I can really relate as I too would like to swim with whale sharks and have a girls day/night instead of taking care of the kids before and after work, on all my days off, and every hour on weekends.

  3. Thank you ladies, for the love and solidarity.

  4. Your honesty is so refreshing and wonderful to read. It’s reassuring to know that we aren’t alone with these feelings and that it’s perfectly okay to share them. Thank you Cassie!

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