Okay, friends, I’m just going to dive right in and admit it: I struggle with being a stay-at-home mom. I’m not fulfilled. It’s not enough. I feel diluted in who I am. Like I’m a shell of the person I used to be. I’m lonely. And, I don’t think I provide enough for our family or to society.
I was a nurse for twelve years before walking away from my career two years ago to become a full-time stay-at-home mom. My husband is a Lieutenant for the Milwaukee Fire Department and is gone 24-48 hours at a time. Also, he travels to umpire college, fast-pitch softball and referees for soccer. On top of all of that, he works part-time for a restoration company. To say he is gone a lot providing for our family is an understatement.
Despite my husband’s jobs, our family still took a hit financially when I left my career. But, given the opportunity to stay at home with my babies and not having to juggle my career with raising three small children, or feeling inadequate about providing consistency, not having to stress about calling in sick when our kiddos became ill, or constantly missing the middle of the day programs, we felt it was best for our family if I quit my job. I don’t regret it, but I do have uncomfortable feelings about it.
Let me be clear; I’m lucky to be able to stay at home while my husband sacrifices his time away from our family to support us financially. However, I struggle with it—a lot. I struggle with feeling like I serve a purpose. And I’m incredibly lonely. I know how confusing that may sound. Of course, I have a purpose and am not alone–I’m raising three children, but if I’m going to be honest with myself and all of you, I don’t feel fulfilled. Staying at home doesn’t feel enough.
I probably sound ungrateful, even whiny. It’s a dark and controversial secret to share, but I’m spilling it in hopes of finding solidarity with other parents out there. I think it’s important to have these authentic and honest discussions without being judged. I already feel guilty. I know many parents would LOVE to be at home with their kids and can’t, yet, here I am saying I’m not fulfilled, that it isn’t enough for me.
So, now what? What should I do about it? How can I feel less lonely and more fulfilled?
Well, I’m taking the first step by admitting these unpleasant feelings. Next, I need to take a hard look at my life. There is a lack of balance. I am in mommy-mode all of the time, which is zapping my energy. Also, I’ve stopped doing the things I love, no longer viewing them as a priority. I don’t see my friends or former co-workers nearly as much as I used to. It’s like I’ve started living in a cocoon. I desperately need to expand and explore this new world I’m in.
Things definitely need to change, and I need to be the one to change them.
By continuously putting myself on the back-burner, I’m starting to become restless, even resentful. I must schedule time for things that are just for me. Mark them on the calendar and consider that time non-negotiable. Also, I need to force myself to reach out to my friends and make plans and keep them. Host our outings, if I have to, and not use the lack of babysitters as an excuse. Maybe these simple changes will start to help me feel less lonely and a lot more fulfilled.
Now that I shared this with all of you, am I the only one that feels this way? If not, what do you do to change it? I’m looking for all sorts of recommendations. Being a mom is hard. Let’s lean on each other and talk about it, especially the unpopular and unpleasantness of motherhood. In doing so, we won’t feel so alone.