Dear Stay At Home Mom,
And working moms too, don't read the title and roll your eyes. I know this season is long and hard, full of judgment, guilt, and sometimes sadness. Yes, we are lucky, aren't we? Being able to stay home with my kids has been my most rewarding experience, it's also been the hardest. Today I'm sharing *MY* SAHM / WAHM journey, and I hope you'll share yours with me as well.
I became a mom at 25. Before I was a Mom, I was social, active, earning consistent paycheques, eating out at nice restaurants, going for drinks with friends and actually being able to drink, weekend naps? You betcha. Spending stupid amounts of money on new shoes, booking random getaways for Anthony and I even though we had a house and were the only two living there. I'm sure some Moms are still able to maintain this life while raising kids, and if you do, congratulations, please let me know how you do it.
For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a mom when I was 9 or younger I would babysit the neighborhood kids. I LOVED taking care of just about anything, animals, people, kids. I've always been the "mother" in every group, one time on a trip to LCBO while staying at a friends cottage the cashier even looked at me and said, "you’re the mother of this group, aren't you?" Motherhood was my destiny, and I was going to love it, be perfect at it, and have everything tied up in a sweet little bow!
In 2010, I became a mother, and remember being so tired and emotional just wishing my baby would sleep so I could sleep, and it began, feeling guilty for admitting things weren't all they were cracked up to be. Did I love my baby, of course! But did I slowly feel pieces of myself floating away, absolutely! At times, I even felt jealous that Anthony got to leave for work. I had a hard time admitting to myself that I was feeling overwhelmed. When you first have a baby, everyone's over and gushing, bringing you food and sometimes gifts. After a few weeks friends stop calling or coming over because they have their own childless lives and people get over the novelty of the "new baby." So you're home alone in yoga pants almost all day, barely washing your hair. Napping when the baby naps? Yah right! The two times a week he did nap I used for laundry, washing bottles, and cleaning the house. I felt so much pressure to have a happy face, a clean house, dinner on the table for my working husband, and to be thankful, primarily because I was home all day. When Morgan was seven months old, we decided I wouldn't return to work, but we couldn't afford just one income, so I did home daycare. Most of the time I loved my little group, but there were also a lot of times when I felt sad, unappreciated, frustrated and resentful. When I had Kendall, Anthony Started traveling for work, and I decided I couldn't handle going back to home daycare. Anthony was supportive and encouraged my decision. He worked extra hard and made a lot of sacrifices to help me stay at home without bringing in money. Naturally, everyone else had an opinion about it, even though everyone else gets a year maternity leave in Ontario, people made me feel like I wasn't entitled to it like I was selfish because Anthony had to work more. The first few months were okay, but then I started to feel even more of myself floating away. Not earning my own money meant I felt like I needed permission to spend "his" even though he's NEVER made me feel that way and it's always been our money, I still felt like I didn't have the right. When Kendall was eight months old, we started Tesser Traditions, as a way for me to be creative and make some spending money. That brought on a new set of guilt and worry. Balancing the two was difficult for me, and at times I would cry and feel resentful because I couldn't put myself entirely into my new business. I had to stop halfway through something to get the kids up from a nap or make a snack, and it made me moody, and then filled me with guilt. When Morgan started school and Kendall was a bit older I had an easier time getting things finished but half the time Kendall would go and ruin what I worked on. I often felt defeated and overwhelmed. I felt very isolated as a work at home mom, I'm not one for Mom groups, and I don't really like big crowds or large social events...oh and I'm a bit of a germaphobe so no indoor parks for this family. I felt like I didn't have any interests or hobbies and all there was to life was making money, worrying about money, and robot raising my kids. I also felt like any skills I had in the workforce were diminished making me unemployable at only 29.
Then I decided to start a blog, and it changed my life. Writing made me feel free and inspired me to find new things, learn new ways to do things, and it got me to pick up my camera and start loving photography again. It put me in a community with other women just like me who have the twitch to switch furniture, recycle and repurpose, make new things, and share things I love with readers who genuinely care about me, my thoughts, and my family. I push myself to do better so that my social media family will be proud or impressed. If cookies didn't turn out six years ago, I would have trashed them and gone to pick up some Mr. Christie cookies, but now I'm like hmm, I wonder what went wrong, I have to figure it out, so my friends don't make that mistake.
The point of this Dear Diary Entry is that raising kids is hard, working from home is hard, working and leaving your kids is hard, you are always going to judge yourself, and when you don't others are going to do it for you. You are not alone Momma, and we've all felt or feel this way during this tornadic season of raising small children. Yes, those years are short but living through SOME of these days can be long and depressing. Find one thing you love, and do it, before long it will turn into the thing that changed your life.
Giving you all a big virtual hug for being my friends!!