To the people who will never fully understand what it’s like to be a stay at home mom.
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had....physically, emotionally and mentally, and I receive no payment, recognition or sometimes even acknowledgement for my efforts.
If a stay at home mom was paid, they say my salary would be $162k a year, but instead, the occasional kiss, hug or I love you is my only payment. Lucky for me, those gestures are priceless.
When you are a stay at home mom (especially one that that used to make an income in your pre-mom days) it’s really hard to not make your own money, and to feel like you have little impact into the finances. And every time I spend, I feel a little guilty. Even if it’s just a $19.99 shirt from Target, that makes me feel a little bit better about myself. A purchase that was likely inspired by me searching through my closet to find something cute, but to only find over-worn loungewear, or styles from my pre-mom days that probably don’t fit me anymore.
I take on a side hustle with the little extra time I have. I do this because I want to feel like I’m contributing financially to the household, and also doing something for myself. Because when you are a mom, you feel like you don’t have much for yourself anymore, including time. I sometimes ache to feel like a functioning adult in society. And while doing something for me feels good, it also sometimes makes me feel bad, because it takes some of my attention away from my kids.
Which contributes to my mom guilt. It’s real and haunts me every day. Am I doing enough to for them? Am I feeding them the right foods? Are they being exposed to too many pesticides. GMOs, dyes or chemicals? Are they having too much tablet or tv time, when I feel incredibly overwhelmed, and need a break? Am I not creating enough activities for them...or am I doing too much? It’s a constant struggle, and all I can do is hope and believe that I’m doing what’s best for them.
And as a stay at home mom, I secretly feel like my significant other thinks that I don’t do much of anything at home. After all, the house is always messy from the kids and not as clean as I would like, even though I spent the whole day picking up after them. Laundry is sometimes piled higher than I thought possible. Sometimes dinner isn’t ready when my spouse gets home, and all I can manage to scrape together is a pre-made roaster chicken, quick cook rice and a steamer bag of veggies. I sometimes feel like I’m failing as a wife, as I eat my cold dinner after serving everyone before myself. And on many evenings, I feel self conscious that I’m still in my pajamas, with messy hair, because getting showered and fixed up wasn’t on my priority list that day.
Don’t misunderstand me. I know I’m incredibly lucky to be at home with my kids, and to have my spouses salary support our family. For that I’m grateful. But it’s also a hard job, and one that I cannot walk away from when it gets too hard and I'm feeling totally overwhelmed. It has taught me to be resilient and stronger than I sometimes thought possible.
And I know my spouses job is stressful, and being the financial support for the family is incredibly hard. But please remember that each and every one of us is struggling and feeling the pressure of life in our own way.
We try to keep it all smiles and good times as much as we can, but please know that being a stay at home mom is the toughest challenge we have ever faced, and a job that we don't take lightly.