Year One as a Stay Home Mom Was Much Harder Than I Thought It Would Be
Some of you may know that about a year ago, I became a full time stay-at-home Mom. I quit my six figure salary job selling multi-million dollar pieces of medical equipment to hospital executives. It has been quite a transition, and I'm sorry I didn't write about it on my blog. The truth is that it was harder than I thought it was going to be and I couldn't bring myself to document what I perceived as my failure. I was failing at being a stay at home Mom.
The first month I went through a honeymoon period. We went to the pool all the time, and I would sit in the sun and think, "Ahh, I love this! I love not have to answer emails from customers and rush home for conference calls. I love watching them enjoy their day and I love not having massive guilt every time I leave them with the nanny."
But then we made a cross-country move, away from all friends and family and things started to change. I began to crave time away from the kids during the day. I began to resent doing two loads of laundry every day. I began to feel the steam come out of my ears as they fought over the stupid stuffed dog from Christmas that no one has played with in eight months. I missed my big business deals and the sense of accomplishment that went with them. I even missed getting dressed up for work.
By mid-year I was full-on depressed. The weather was crummy, the kids were driving me crazy, my husband was working all the time, and I began to fantasize about going back to work. But then something amazing happened.
I had to drive 8 hours by myself with the kids to visit family, and I happened to turn on the Dr. Laura show. She was having a special on stay at home Moms. Her views on it are pretty severe (she thinks leaving your kids with nannies or daycare is child neglect), but I started to cry when I really let her message set in. Being home with my kids is the most important thing I will ever do in my life. While it's hard, it's SO important to their happiness. I can nurture their self-esteem, I can give them a happy, warm house where they (and their Dad) feel loved. I alone can do this. In fact, it's my job to do this and doing laundry isn't a waste of time. Picking up dog poop in the yard isn't a waste of time. Teaching my kids to do chores and clean up their rooms isn't a waste of time. It's all part of their journey, and mine, to create amazing kids and an amazing life.
After this, things began to shift again. I embraced cooking so our house could be filled with yummy smells. I embraced getting down on the floor with the kids, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. Especially when it was the last thing I wanted to do. I made a New Year's Resolution to play more games with my kids. I learned that when they kids are fighting with each other and I want to scream or run out the door, that taking deep breaths and saying, "Thank you God for my healthy children. Thanks for letting them fight and kick each other instead of being in the hospital with leukemia like my cousin was at age 5." That might sound extreme to you, but it really helped me. Once I remembered how lucky I was to have two healthy kids, they didn't seem to irritate me so much.
I learned that sometimes when you want more alone time, what you really need is less alone time, because you really need to give in to being a Mom. You need to give in to tickling and chasing and singing songs and laughing when they laugh. It helps fill that void because I know I'm doing my job. Every time I laugh at their jokes, I'm contributing to their happiness and self-esteem. Every time I patiently wait while they do something for the first time and allow them to fail, I'm teaching them to survive in a world without me. Every time I cook a yummy meal for my husband, I'm doing my job. Every time I listen to him talk about his day, I'm creating a warm, loving house for him.
Most of all though, I learned that I was meant to have this time with my kids. I still crave my old job sometimes and I may go back someday, but I know that God led me down this path for a reason. My kids needed me and I needed them. Every day isn't perfect, but I remember to give thanks whenever I am least thankful, and I do my best to remember that and try not to scream every time my daughter shoves my son's face into the carpet and he starts crying. Because that's what moms do. We defy all odds by not putting our children up for adoption when they pester each other to death day in and day out.
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