Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom
Stay at home mom. I’m not sure it’s something I ever thought I would be, but nonetheless I am. There are the obvious reasons, the crazy reasons, and financial reasons, so here we are, almost 7 years later.
Right before we got pregnant with our first baby, I quit my first and only professional job that I seriously loved. We moved “home”, back to Indiana to finish planning our wedding. I’d say the rest is history, it truly is, but the series of events that happened the Fall of 2012 after we were married that summer were every single emotion of low and high within a few months span.
I lost my grandpa, a man I love with every ounce of my being. After his passing, I began to help care for my grandma. Also during that time, we found out we were expecting our first baby.
Fast forward to present day, we now have 4 kids, ages 5 and under. We have 3 boys who are 5, 4 and almost 3, and finally a girl who is 1. Needless to say, sometimes things get a little crazy around here, but I honestly couldn’t of imagine my life any other way.
In high school English, we had a writing prompt about how we saw our life in the future. I vividly remember writing how I would have two children, 1 boy, 1 girl and that I would be teaching Social Studies at my hometown high school. I distinctly knew myself then, and even in college. I knew what I wanted out of life and how I wanted my life to be. Funny how life actually happens and how God guides you a different route than what you had planned.
The Flip Side
Being a stay at home mom is extremely rewarding. Some days I am in awe that this is my life, that I get to be with my babies daily and how grateful I am for this opportunity. The flip side to the extremely rewarding side is also the extremely hard side. I truly struggle with knowing who I am and having a true identity. The girl who once was confident, assertive in who she was, and thought she could conquer the world, in recent years is more lost, less confident and quite unsure of what she can do.
Staying home and constantly caring for my children has consumed me to the point that I struggle with knowing who I am anymore; I have lost myself. I also have struggled with resentment towards my husband because he does work outside the home. Even though that sounds so silly, shallow and whatever other commentary you’d like to place here, it is true.
In reality, I was upset my husband got to have work friends, lunch outings that included eating a hot meal and an adult conversation, going to the bathroom alone, and ultimately, he knew his purpose. His job defines him; it is who he is. He has an identity outside of just being a father. He has people who count on him, he proves that he is knowledgeable and needed in his field of work, and he also financial contributes to our family.
The Struggle is Real
He and I have had countless conversations about financial contributions. I struggled often because I don’t feel like I bring anything to the table financially. I often feel like I spend money like it’s my job, and let’s be honest, maybe I do. It doesn’t take long at Target to spend well over $100.00 especially since we have 2 kids in diapers or even well over $200.00 at Kroger on groceries for a week and a half to two weeks of food. Every time I leave the grocery I often joke with my husband telling him, “You’re going to ban me from the store.” Needless to say he usually says “well babe, I don’t expect anything less.”
I guess that is reassuring since he is accepting, but I often beat myself up over silly things. I think I can always do better and be better regardless of the situation. My husband is very supportive, has reassured me that I do contribute to our family more than I will ever know. He also is a numbers guy and reminds me that even if I had a job outside the home, it would basically only pay for childcare.
Let’s be honest, you don’t go into teaching for the pay, it is about passion. Currently, I’m not sure if I will ever teach in a school setting, but I am often reminded by those who are encouragers that I am teaching daily.
Owning Our Choices
In recent conversations with my husband about owning your choices, I was reminded that staying home is my choice. It was a slightly hard pill to swallow when I found myself always complaining about being home or upset with my husband because he was going to work. He told me if I wanted to work outside the home it was my choice, he just wanted me to be happy.
Happy, a word that means so much, but to me I couldn’t pinpoint my happy. I knew that being happy or finding my own happiness was my job. I knew I had to accept my choices and be happy with them. I often referred to my situation of staying at home with the kids as being in the trenches. To me it felt like I was always in a constant battle trying to take care of the kids and maintain the housekeeping along with the rest of daily life.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t drowning in laundry on a daily basis, or if my house was always clean and orderly or if my children didn’t fight and drive me crazy sometimes. But things aren’t always as awful as I thought they were. I’m slowly beginning to realize that there is only so much I can do along with maintaining my sanity. Instead of stressing out all the time about my to do list, I now do what I can do. If something doesn’t get done housework wise, I’ll just do it tomorrow.
I’ve realized that when I have high stress or anxiety I am not the best mom, wife or person I can be. Since we are being honest here, yes sometimes if my house looks like a tornado went through it, that spikes stress and anxiety. Sometimes letting go is a double-edged sword.
Even though it seems like most of the time things are chaotic and overwhelming there are tiny moments that it isn’t. In those tiny moments, you are reassured you aren’t a failure as a parent. I posted not long ago on Instagram that I wished I could bottle up all of the hugs, kisses, laughter and unconditional love my kids give not only to each other, but to myself and my husband. I am grateful for those moments. I also feel like I need someone to pinch me because sometimes I can’t believe this is my life.
Finding myself Again
Slowly I am finding myself again. I feel like I need attribute that to making mom friends. It is so hard to put yourself out there and become friends with other moms. It is slightly awkward. I don’t recall making friends prior being so hard but for me as an adult it has proven to be. It is reassuring though when you find other women you can connect with who are relatable to you, like in a similar life season, that you are not alone.
I love the fact that even though we are all different we are all the same in some way. The more we share our stories with each other, the more beneficial it is. The more we can begin to build friendships and connections. Most importantly we begin to find ourselves again and to find our identity again regardless of how that has changed with motherhood.
By: Brittany Menkedick, stay-at-home mama of four. You can connect with her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leave a comment below for Brittany if you’ve ever felt a the ups and downs of being a stay-at-home mom too!