I always knew I would want to be at home with my kids for the first couple of years of their life. I also always knew I would eventually want to go back to work.
My husband and I have brought two smart, quirky, demanding, fierce, beautiful, and very interesting girls into our world. My daughters are everything I imagined my future kids to be and they are also so much more than I imagined. I am thankful and lucky to be able to stay home with them.
However, there are some moments where that ‘luck’ and ‘thankfulness’ doesn’t feel abundant. There are moments where being a SAHM feels heavy and have me questioning my sanity and my decision. I love my children and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Yet there are times when hearing my eldest daughter scream ‘mamamamamamama’ at the top of her lungs leaves me feeling defeated versus joyous. There are moments in our day where mama just has to step outside, lean over our deck banister and take some deep breaths.
I don’t want to debate whether or not being a SAHM is better or worse than being a mother who works outside of the home. There is no right or wrong answer. We must do what is best for our family and all of our families are different. What works for me, may not work for the next person or cannot work for the next person. I’m also highly aware that being able to stay home with my children is a fortunate thing and I am truly grateful for it. Yet despite popular opinion, someone can be thankful and also have critiques and dissatisfaction at times.
Being a SAHM manages to be both mundane and fast paced. It’s loving your children but realizing you don’t like them at all times (like when your two year old throws a plate across the room and it shatters and you wonder if your child is possessed). It’s repeating the same day every single day with a variation here or there. Sort of like Ground Hog Day except your not repeating the same day literally so you still age and so do your little rascals.
And boy do they grow! Being a SAHM is waiting not so patiently for your two year old to use the toilet ‘like a big girl’ while also desperately wishing her little toddler body could fit on your lap forever. It’s being excited that you were there to witness first hand all the big milestones but then the reality of childproofing and giving constant attention being such a daunting task. It’s being jealous your husband gets to leave for work and have interactions and conversations that aren’t about babies and toddlers or with babies and toddlers. It’s being slightly intimidated when he talks about his work and is excited about starting a new project or meeting with a new client because you’re worried that you’re being left behind in the fast paced world of having a career. It’s the middle of the day thought of “I’m looking for a job today and lining up 10 interviews before the month is over” after you’ve cleaned the kitchen for the fifth time and it’s not even noon and your toddler wants to watch Moana for the 20th time.
It’s the last thought before bed of “My babies are so beautiful. I wish they would wake up so we could cuddle. I never want to leave them.”
It’s the realization that you can be ‘over-touched’ and feel under-loved. It’s the disappointment that laundry won’t wash or dry and especially not fold itself. It’s the understanding that your weekend is no different than your week.
I know that in a few years, when I am working full time and my babies are in school and no longer want to spend every second of every day with me, I know I’ll look back at this time fondly. I know I’ll miss the days where putting on a bra was futile because my infant likes easy access to her food source. I’ll miss my toddler using my yoga pants as a hand towel and asking me to kiss every real and nonexistent ‘boo boo’. I’ll probably even miss the sounds of Paw Patrol and Mickie Mouse Clubhouse and I know I’ll miss the toddler giggles that ensues from them.
I’ll miss nap times and the groggy cuddles and kisses that result from a well rested kid. I’ll miss story time at the library. I’ll miss waking up and knowing that the day is going to be the same as yesterday with slight variations. I’ll miss the mundane and I’ll likely start to refer to the whole experience as ‘beautifully simple’. I’ll miss it just being ‘us’.
But I also know, when the time comes to work outside of the home, I’ll welcome it. And that’s okay. It’s okay to love what you do but to also be relieved by the fact that there will be an end point. A chance to start something new, better in some ways and harder in other ways. Something different.
Until then, I’ll wake up, meditate, count down to 5 when I feel impatient, remember my gratitude and excuse myself to my patio when none of that works and I need to catch my breath.
I’ll focus on enjoying the
mundane beautifully simple days and remembering that this time is short lived.