Before my husband and I decided that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom I had a few ideas that ran through my mind. Would I enjoy being home with our kids? What the heck would we do all day? Were my children going to miss out on social opportunities that a daycare setting would provide? Could we handle the hit to our family income with just one of us working?
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While I pondered the logistics of it all, I really didn’t give much thought to the changes that would occur to me as a person. After all I had been working in the child care field for the better part of ten years before becoming a parent – so how hard could this stay-at-home mom thing be? Plus, my own mother had done it with her three children for many years and she seemed to handle it alright.
Yet, here I am almost five years into this stay-at-home gig, now with two kids to care for all day and I have to tell you, it has changed me. In some ways it has changed me for the better and in some ways it has given me a few negative qualities that weren’t really present before:
1. I’ve become somewhat of a recluse. Since my days are spent with two kids under the age of five, I’m finding that my vocabulary is more limited than it was when I was a part of the workforce. Therefore, when I’m out in public or in a social situation I feel somewhat awkward and out of place. Not to mention I’ve become accustomed to just being home with my husband and tiny humans. There are some days I forget there is a whole other world outside of the confines of my home. I know I should get out more, but sometimes that’s just not possible.
I’m trying to find ways to interact with adults other than just my husband, whether that’s via a play date with a mom friend or packing the kids up and heading over to my sister’s in the evening. It’ll be good for all of us to get out of the house more often.
2. I don’t wear regular clothes anymore. When you are doing the laundry and notice that most of your clothes in the hamper are pajamas instead of “real clothes,” it might be time to reassess your life choices. Some days I literally take a shower and put clean pajamas on instead of jeans and a blouse or sweater. I actually can’t remember the last time I wore a skirt or a dress either. Although I’ve never been a shining example of trending fashion, I used to wear actual clothes that didn’t have the word yoga or the logo of some sports team on the front of it. With spring coming, I’m hoping to get out of my pajamas more and breaking out my cute sundresses and sandals because at least they qualify as acceptable public attire.
3. My health has somewhat fell by the wayside. When you are running around after your naked one-year-old that decided it was a good idea to remove all of his clothes, you don’t really have a ton of time to get a good workout in. I used to go to the gym regularly. I miss going to the gym. Yet, at the end of the day when my relief arrives in the form of my husband, I am too tired to go. I’m also not that person that will get up at 6:00 A.M. and workout. I’m just not.
I’m also finding that I’m eating more and more of the same food as my kids or simply picking off of their plates when they are done for the sack of time. From a person that used to eat nothing but salads and veggie burgers to this new version of me that primarily eats chicken nuggets and Gerber Puffs, let’s just say that my health isn’t what it was before kids. I really need to make this a priority though. Whether I have to wear the baby in a carrier while I do a Youtube workout or bring my older son to the gym with me, it has to become the norm.
4. My friendships have changed. I’ve never been a tremendous social butterfly. I have always had a few important people in my circle of friends and I’ve always been fine with that. I would say for the most part that’s still the same. Yet, some of the friendships have shifted. I’ve become closer to my friends that are also moms and somewhat distant from the ones that don’t have kids yet. It’s not a matter of not loving them; it’s just that they don’t quite understand how hard being a parent really can be.
They still have the luxury of coming and going as they please, so it’s easier for them to make plans. I have to coordinate child care and examine the bank account to make sure I even have the money to go out to eat before any serious plans can be made. I’m not complaining, I’m just stating that this fact has changed the dynamics of these friendships. I hope that one day I’ll be able to come and go more as my kids get a little older and more independent and that my friends stand by me in the meantime.
5. The social stigma of being a stay-at-home parent is sometimes overwhelming. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve heard a negative comment or a snide remark from someone that thinks they have their thumb on exactly it is I do all day. To some, they have this image of me sitting on my sofa popping candy while I read a magazine and let my kids wrestle with each other. In reality, that’s just not the case. While I’m not going to list off what exactly it is that I do all day, I have to tell you that these comments really do bother me.
They make me question my self-worth and the importance of the role I’m playing in my family right now. They make me wonder if I should be working outside of the home or be doing something different than this. Although I know that’s not true, it gets old defending my choice to stay home or feeling the need to have to explain to people that don’t really matter much the value I play in my family. I can’t help but wonder when being a stay-at-home parent became a job title deemed unworthy or free for all to make comments on so much?
Being a stay-at-home mom isn’t all bad though of course. Sure, my free time is limited and my adult interaction isn’t what I’d like, but I love being on the front lines of seeing my children grow up. I love being the one that teaches them the alphabet, how to be kind, and how to be silly. I know that years from now I’ll look back on these years with fondness but for now I will try and rectify the few negatives that come with this job.
Hailing from the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, Britt has a background in Human Services and Child Development. Married to her Army vet/superhero husband, they are kept busy raising their two beautiful boys, in their cabin in the woods (really in the subdivision). She is also a mom to two angel babies. You can find her first self-published novel, “Promises of Pineford” on Amazon and Lulu. You can also find her work in progress blog The Bomb Sahm and on Facebook. Pretending to workout at the gym, obsessing over her pets, and secretly wishing she was a Vampire Slayer are just some of her hobbies.