All this time. For nearly 5 years I’ve been struggling with being a stay-at-home mom. I have had battles with anxiety and depression and just self-loathing about the fact that I don’t have a career. That I can’t both be a working mom and a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to be able to do both.
Maybe it has to do with societal pressures. Or maybe just personal pressure I put on myself. I started babysitting as soon as I could at age 11 or 12. I had a few different gigs prior to going into the workforce. Then I had a couple under the table jobs at small mom and pop local restaurants in NY. Then in high school I worked two jobs. And in college I worked full-time and attended college full-time and in between when taking breaks I had two jobs at times as well. So, I have always been a “worker”.
Come to find out being a stay-at -home mom you are a non-stop do-all worker. I had this hard time realizing that my “job” as a SAHM is actually a job.
Most people try to convince you that you’re lucky or that they wish they could do it. The fact is, I had no choice. It was either work to be able to pay for someone else to watch my child (dren) or do it myself and sacrifice a career, my identity as a woman, and having more than one income for our family. It’s not the cake-walk everyone envisions. It’s also very much appreciated and comes with a great amount of gratefulness that I am in the position to do it but it is not without sacrifice. I don’t get to splurge on myself, like ever. A splurge for me is a find on a cheap website or a thrift store. I rarely buy anything for myself or do anything for myself for that matter. And that’s partly my fault but also due to circumstances. We just can’t afford those extra things.
So as I am sitting here in my kitchen, scheduling appointments, and planning out my day of running errands, doing laundry, dishes, feeding animals and children, and getting my baby boy set-up to start kindergarten it dawned on me that this is my job/career. I’ve been fighting it for these years and thinking that I needed more but what I needed was to just focus on and appreciate what was right in front of me. Not to say that I didn’t or that I took it for granted completely because I didn’t. We’ve had a lot of fun practicing letters and numbers, making slime, art, science projects, planting, countless trips to the park and race track. I haven’t been completely negligent but at the same time during all of this I had always been searching for something else to fulfill me. I was looking for another career or place in the world when I should have just been putting my all in this.
Now that my son will be going to school soon I think it will be a little easier to manage one again. It was getting trickier with having kids at different stages and being able to entertain them both all of the time is exhausting. I’m trying my best but I’m human, and I’m not perfect.
The best thing is that every day is a new chance to learn, and become something new. To improve on yourself and be a better version than the you that you were yesterday. It’s funny how it just takes those epiphany/aha moments to really snap you into realization. Today was one of those for me.