Dear working mom, this one’s for you!
Today I finished a random library book that took me by surprise when it reeled me in like an over-zealous fish.
It was one of those books that I just grabbed while trying to keep my two year old from ripping off every single book in the two-story library. (The library has become a love-hate thing ever since she officially became a “twonager.”)
I didn’t get the chance to read the book jacket at all. I seriously just grabbed it off of one of the “New Arrivals” shelves because they’re the ones closest to the door.
The book was called, “Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink.” (Affiliate link)
And it’s making me rethink MY ENTIRE LIFE. Seriously.
You see, I’m a little ole’ stay at home mom here. I have one child (plus two steps).
I’m someone who, before having a child, was very happy only when I was so busy that I could spontaneously combust at any moment. Spare time meant I was failing. Spare time meant I could be working harder. I worked 30-40 hours per week, went to college full time, and had a social life.
I thrived on stress.
Even though procrastination was part of my productivity plan, being busy all of the time made me feel like I was accomplishing something. I was working towards something – moving up in the world with all of my hard work.
But then I became a VERY sick pregnant lady and quit working. I thought that I’d stay home with my baby for the first year. It was all part of my super-balanced master plan.
But then that year came and went (wtf!) and my baby is now that TWONAGER who is ripping library books and stabbing the dog with random kitchen utensils.
(Yep, that’s the one, the one peeing on the arm of the couch with a devilish look in her eye.)
And all of this time, I’ve just been LONGING for the life I once had. Of course I love my child. Of course I love to be able to dedicate my time to her. I’ve been lucky that it’s worked that way.
But as someone who had a very busy and stressful life before, making the big, contrasting change to jobless SAHM has been quite hard.
At first it was a relief when I quit my job. (Like, “SEE YA!”)
But then it started to get crazy lonely and boring. My friends haven’t had kids yet so we barely ever hang out. And I might lack a little bit of purpose. I just might feel a little useless sometimes, too. But mostly, I feel guilty.
Honestly, I’ve started to lose my mind a little.
Even as a stay-at-home mom, I feel guilty ALL the time. I feel like I don’t spend enough quality time with my kid (even though I’m always with her). I feel like I let her watch too much TV. I feel like she doesn’t get out enough. I feel like I’m STILL bad at keeping house. (The list goes on.) And I’ve felt this way for basically as long as I’ve been home.
It immediately interested me because I thought to myself, “Oh hey, I feel totally stressed and conflicted too!” But then as I read on, I began to realize how good I have it.
No, I don’t have the career I thought I’d have.
No, I don’t have this crazy-busy social life.
But I do have the means to be with my kid as much as I want. What the heck am I complaining for?
When I look at the grand scheme of things, being a mom is IT. My family and the memories we make are what I’ll look back on and be proud of. It’s not a career. It’s not friends that come and go. Why would I want to fill my life back up with busyness just to turn around and miss my family?
The point here is not to brag about being able to be a SAHM (because let’s face it, I suck at it and it’s not always glamourous.)
The point is not to belittle anyone else who is a SAHM, either.
I am just saying, THANK YOU to those working moms out there that make the world go ’round. Seriously, cheers to you!
All moms, no matter the work/family life dynamic, have feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Both types of moms (working and SAHM) are important. No matter what you are doing, as long as you feel like you’re doing what your family needs you to, you’re doing the right thing.
Because no one but you knows what your family needs.
Anyway, mom. Just thought I’d say, “HEY, YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB.”