Oh, motherhood, one of life’s great privileges. It’s tough. It’s messy. It’s exhausting. It’s beautiful. Books, movies and basically all of the programming on the Hallmark channel praise and lament the struggles that come with raising children. Before I had my first child and transitioned from young professional to stay at home mom, I had all kinds of ideas of what this new life would be like. But when life went from Dr. Dre to Dr. Seuss and I found myself needing to call Dr. Phil that’s when I realized that for a SAHM #thestruggleisreal.
I’m sure a lot of people will roll their eyes when they read the title of this article, “Oh great, another stay at home mom crying because she gets to be with her baby all day.” Yes, I know I’m lucky to be able to spend uninterrupted days, nights, weekends, mornings, afternoons, mealtimes, bathroom breaks, evenings and basically any other measure of time you can think of with my baby. I’m very blessed that my husband works his butt off defending our nation’s freedom to make this life possible for our family. However, I’ve discovered it’s actually really hard to be confined to 2000sq feet every day with a new baby literally attached to your breast. Most days I feel like I’ve been put on house arrest…
I got out of the house by myself for the first time in ten weeks over Mother’s Day weekend. I hadn’t been alone in TEN WEEKS. That’s 70 days. That’s 1,680 hours. That’s 100,800 minutes. It was only two hours entirely to myself, which was long enough for me to get my hair done while enjoying some wine, but it was a necessary two hours. Did I mention that said hair appointment was at 9 am and I asked for wine, not coffee? Clearly I needed to get out and stretch my adult legs.
I realized somewhere between the wash and deep conditioner how long it had actually been since I’d been alone. Not only did I order another glass of wine, but I’m ashamed to admit that I kind of freaked out. I revisited high school math class and began doing calculations in my head. “If a mom with impeccable hair leaves the salon driving exactly 100mph north at 9am how far will she get before her husband realizes she hasn’t returned with his credit card?” I began counting on my fingers, but then remembered I’m out of practice with math that doesn’t involve grocery budgets and bills, so I sighed and polished off glass of wine number two.
I didn’t anticipate staying home would be such a challenge. Not only is this stay at home mom thing completely exhausting, but it’s also kind of lonely despite literally NEVER being alone. I’ve been sequestered in my home with a tiny human that absorbs 96% of my mental and physical energy. Being a hermit was something I used to look forward to on occasion after a long week at work, but now when I get out of the house I feel like Jack Skellington discovering Christmas Town and basically run around screaming, “What’s this!” at everything in sight…and that’s just a trip to the store for milk.
I love my child, husband, cat and dog, but I also love me. I knew motherhood would be full of sacrifices. I have sacrificed my body, my bank account, my social life, my career, my independence and a lot of things that I thought made me who I am/was/might be again someday? I’m finding the adjustment challenging. My world has shrunk while my waistline has expanded… Remind me again why I spent thousands on a college education to become a dishwasher and cook?
Every day as I throw on my same sweats and do the same chores and try to tend to my child’s every whim I’m reminded of things I used to enjoy, things I used to have, things I used to care about, things I used to do before I became a SAHM. Some days it’s harder than others to find joy and fulfillment in activities like laundry and diaper changes, but there are moments in those tough days when my baby smiles at me or sighs contentedly in my arms and those things I’m missing seem superficial and then I remember why I’m at home…