Why I Would Suck as a Stay At Home Mom
Why I Would Suck as a Stay at Home Mom
Last night I was doing a virtual group call with a bunch of photographer colleagues. We were doing just a basic check-in with each other about how we are all doing in quarantine right now. When it got to me, I was like, “You know, being a full-time mom is hard for me. I mean, I love spending time with my boys, but not having the time alone away from them out of the house is really wearing on me”.
Instantly, I regretted saying it and was overcome with shame. So, I said, “Ok, wait, I’m sorry. That probably sounded so selfish. There are so many people out there who are in horrible situations. Single parents, or kids in abusive situations, or people who aren’t able to have kids! I hope I didn’t sound ungrateful.”
One of the guys on the call who has 3 grown children was like, “Whoa, don’t ever apologize for saying that.” Then, one of the girls said she could totally relate to what I said and agreed that I didn’t need to feel bad for it.
The crazy thing is that I KNOW this. I know not to feel guilty or shameful for wanting some time for myself. It’s okay to want to work or to go away for a weekend without my kids. I mean, I teach this to women on a regular basis. So, it kind of hit me hard when I briefly went back to this place that it’s not okay to want it …..
Granted, what we are experiencing in the world right now absolutely puts things into perspective. It is so important to have gratitude for the things we do have, and compassion for people who are absolutely struggling. Just because people have it way worse than you, doesn’t mean what you are experiencing at this very moment isn’t real to you.
So, this morning I was reading some things on Facebook. One of my friends posted a list of things she has learned so far during quarantine. One of the things was that she is a better mom when she works. I can relate to this wholeheartedly. And, after how I reverted back to shame last night during the group call I was on, I decided it was time to do an episode about how it’s okay if you don’t feel like a good stay at home mom.
Let me start by saying that there are some moms and dads who LOVE being a full time stay at home parent. Some people thrive at this and, frankly, they are really good at it. I’m not in any way, shape, or form saying that there is a right way or wrong way. Or, that kids are better off with or without a stay at home parent. I’m just sharing my own feelings towards how I function best as a mom.
Sometimes I joke that I think I’ll peak as a mom once my kids are a little bit older. If you don’t know the ages of my kids, they are almost 4 and almost 2. I just know there is going to be at least one person out there who is going to message me and tell me that I need to cherish and enjoy every single moment right now. So let me just set the record straight about that.
I love my children more than life itself! There are many, many moments throughout every day of their lives that I have cataloged in my mind and will never forget. The things they do and say, the sounds of their giggles, the way their skin feels, and how their sweaty little head smells when they are so snuggled up with me because they fell asleep with me holding them.
I cherish most of the time with my children. And, I promise you that I’m not taking this time for granted. I’m doing my absolute best to enjoy it all. And, you know what? There are times when it is HARD. Times when I cry, and times when I yell at them and feel horrible about it later.
If you are one of the people who have tried to either shame me because you think I’m not enjoying every moment or lovingly reminded me to enjoy every moment, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you have clearly forgotten what it’s like.
Ok, so as I said, I know that we are all doing the best we can as parents. We are doing the best we can every day to try to appreciate every moment. And, on the days that I get to spend at least a tiny chunk of time doing something for myself, I’m a much better mom and don’t have as many hard moments.
For me, spending time working is one of those things. Yes, I work so hard to help provide for my family. I work so hard to create this really amazing life we have. I work to be able to travel the world with my kids, help them buy their first car, and hopefully help them financially start their first business (if that is something they want to do).
But, you know why else I work? Because it’s for ME. It’s something that I get to do because I love it. I love it not only because what I do is so fun for me, but also because I get some time away from my boys. They are at the ages when they need something from me every 2.2 seconds. There are days when I can’t even shower until they are in bed.
Work can be such a great outlet for parents mentally, creatively, and socially. There is no shame in that. There is no guilt or shame in wanting to do something that is not related to being a mom.
I find that when I don’t have breaks away from Van and Dre, I’m more irritable and I get frustrated so easily. This isn’t good for me, and it certainly isn’t good for them. So, in the end, I’m just a better mom when I work. Which is why I would suck as a stay at home mom.
I’m a better mom when I engage in self-care. Whether that means to go out to eat by myself, or get a pedicure, or go on a date with Dan. I feel healthier mentally when I do these things. And, in the end, I want my kids to have a mom who mentally is in a good place.
Now, when you are in a position that you can’t have time away from your kids, please please please, give yourself some grace. Know that you aren’t alone in thinking this is hard. And you are most certainly no less of a mom because of it.
Actually, my kids are home with me now, so I only had time to do a short episode while my youngest naps. I think once I get another chunk of time, I’ll record some suggestions on what to do when you are having to work at home while your kids are there and you don’t get the breaks you need. I was a school social worker for many years. I’ve got several tricks up my sleeve that have been lifesavers during this time. I absolutely want to share them with you. Okay, stay tuned and I’ll hopefully get that episode out in the next day or two.
I hope you enjoyed listening to/reading why I would suck as a stay at home mom. I hope some of you that can relate to the “I would suck as a stay at home mom” idea will walk away today feeling a little better about not being alone in this.
Stay safe and hang in there!
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Check out another blog entry: Can You Work at Home with Your Kids?