I’m a stay at home mom

I am a stay at home mom.

3 years ago I left a well paying corporate position with a good company.
I also had a 6 month old and a 2.5 year old, and I only saw them awake for about two hours a day.

This wasn’t completely the company’s fault. I am terrible at saying no. I want to be the best at what I do, and that meant more hours. I like to be in control, and it was a high stress job, especially when you do too much yourself.

My husband was relocated to Colorado. One of us had to quit our job. I made more money. I had been working longer. It made more sense for us to stay in Nebraska.
We made the choice to go. I quit my job and interviewed for several other positions. I ultimately turned everything down. The jobs that paid enough to cover the cost of daycare for two kids in Denver would’ve required a similar hourly commitment to my previous position.

Now, 3 years later, I am almost to a point where I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m a stay at home mom.
While working in an office for six years, I heard comments like, “it’s fine if women stay home, I just couldn’t do it, I would go crazy”.
In college, I remember the negative comments about girls who wanted to get married and have babies.

Most of the stay at home moms I knew also worked from home in some capacity- lularoe, customer service, etsy, or in home daycare.

When someone asks, “what do you do”- it’s so hard to say, “I’m a stay at home mom”.

The words make me feel lazy.

I know that I’m not lazy.

I also feel…dare I say it…overqualified.

I almost completed a masters degree program.

I am smart.

I should be doing more with my life.

These are the ideas I battle every single day.

I know that dedicating my time to my family and home is worthwhile and good and so on. That doesn’t mean it feels that way.

My entire life was defined by what I did. My grades, my good behavior, my college degree, my career, my future career aspirations.

I had a job where everything was measured- it matched up with everything else previously in my life.
Then, in one day, all the measurements were gone.
There’s no checklist for how to be a good mom. There’s not a list of things that create a good home. I couldn’t create, “SMART” goals for my household. I tried to create my own goals- stay on top of laundry, take care of dishes, create weekly meal plans, keep house clean, keep children clean, be loving and consistent. The list continued to grow.

I couldn’t keep up with the laundry. There were always dishes in the sink.

No matter what I did, it felt like someone was always crying.

I missed my office. I missed feeling important. I wanted a specific measurable goal to tell me I was at least on track to possibly succeed.
I still miss those goals. I miss having my expectations clearly defined and outlined. I miss brainstorming sessions to determine how to achieve those goals.

Being a stay at home mom knocked down my ever growing ego.
I have been good at most things I tried. School was always easy for me. Corporate life made sense to me. I had lists and expectations and adults.

No matter how prepared I am, how calm, or how caffeinated- I cannot get through a single day without the battle to let go of my own desires.
I recently read “zen mama” and she has a line in the beginning that basically says, “I used to think I was zen, but really I had control over everything in my life”.
My children knocked the crap out my pre child zen. They do not care at all about my lists. They don’t care about feeling productive or successful. They just exist. I have no idea how to do that. I don’t know how to be “present” or “in the moment”. I can’t sit in quiet and stillness for any length of time.

So here I am.  I’m struggling to live without lists to prove a successful day. I’m trying to focus on people over action items.  I’m a stay at home mom.

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4 Responses

  1. Ahava says:

    Love this post. It’s honest and open and doesn’t gloss over some of the details of being a stay at home mum that are difficult to come to terms with.

  2. Agent X says:

    I left my job recently to stay at home with the foster babies. I suppose this is a trial basis, and so far it seems to be working, but not without its stigma and so forth. And I am a bit crazy from it, but mostly I am blessed.

    I am the husband. Mr. Mom (caught the end of that old movie on TV the other day… hadn’t seen it in 30 years.) My wife makes more money than I do. This is really her dream, but it is her income that affords it. She is able to be home 3 days a week, some weeks 4, and that helps too or she would be jealous.

    But then there are the kids. And that is the part that counts. We are taking in these kids that need a home… born hooked on drugs, neglected, abused… It is HUGE , and providing them a HOME is such a blessing.


  3. I relate to so much of this. Work was always a place that made sense to me. My kids are now 9 & 7 and in school so I took a couple of freelance writing jobs & a part-time tennis teaching gig. My ego loves being able to answer the “what do you do?” question with an actual job. In other words, I still am not all that comfortable with referring to myself as a stay-home mom. Still, doing it has taught me more about myself than anything I’ve ever done. I loved everything you wrote here. Thank you!

  4. Ruth says:

    How I wish i had read something like this in the early eighties. Experiencing all those feelings plus the comments, looks and questions about my life choices from everyone was hard. Economically it made sense at the time. Now, over thirty years later, I see that as the best use of time ever. Time spent with a child is never wasted.

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