Motherhood has tons of miraculous moments- the kind that make your heart want to burst with unquenchable joy and pride.
Those are the sweet parts. We adore our children, gladly sacrifice for them, and love them more than we love ourselves.
But then there are the other, not-so-light motherhood moments. There’s the doubt. The crippling exhaustion. Loneliness. Despair.
Every mother struggles at times, whether she is a working mom or a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM).
Sometimes we’re afraid to speak of the gritty, difficult realities, because someone (aka “social media”) will inevitably chime in with, “You don’t know how good you have it; in MY world, it’s….”
But motherhood, though often amazing, is also immensely challenging. And sharing the struggles is just as important as sharing the triumphs.
One mom posted a raw, vulnerable description of how hard being a stay at home mom can feel sometimes, & many moms are relating to her feelings of intense loneliness.
Mom Bridgette Anne clearly had one of “those” days- and most moms know exactly what that means.
(This is the “I’m DONE!” ugly-cry, and I’ve been there. We’ve ALL been there.)
It was one of those total dumpster-fire days where nothing seemed to go right, nothing got done despite your best efforts, and you’re circling the drain.
Bridgette is a stay at home mom. And after one of those craptastic kind of days, she’s getting real with how it can feel to be a stay at home mom sometimes:
everyone thinks being a stay at home mom full time is easy.
It’s certainly an inaccurate assumption that “everyone” thinks being a stay at home mom (SAHM) is easy. But there definitely are those that assume, as Bridgette points out, that SAHMs are: “lucky to be able to not have to work”, or “lazy”, or that being a SAHM is:
not “real” work so we have nothing to complain about.
Complaining about any aspect of motherhood is still a concept that can be heavily criticized, depending on the circles in which you travel.
Mothers who talk about their struggles are often viewed as ungrateful or selfish by many on social media.
The argument typically goes: after all, there are people who can’t have children, & you’ve been given the miracle of a child. How dare you admit that it’s painfully hard to raise your child sometimes?? WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING?
This fear of judgment leaves many moms to stay silent; they say nothing about how overwhelmed they feel. As a result, too many moms struggle alone- and feel even MORE isolated.
But for many SAHMs:
the truth is…it’s fucking lonely and overwhelming
Bridgette describes many of the aspects of her day as a stay at home mom that make it so challenging sometimes, & there’s no doubt that many moms can relate.
What’s it like being a stay at home mom? As Bridgette says,
You can’t do anything by yourself; go to the bathroom, enjoy a cup of coffee, read, hell you can’t even scrub the shit out of pants for the 3rd time in a day without someone crying or screaming at your leg.
This description reeks of toddler parenting! Although the ages of Bridgette’s children are not mentioned, you can just sense she’s got at least a toddler or two.
There’s a reason toddlerhood is a relatively short phase- no parent would survive if it went on for longer than that.
Toddlers are intense by nature, and dealing with that intensity on a constant basis can be draining if YOU are not at your best. So when you’re already struggling, it can feel oppressive to be constantly in demand.
The pace is hectic. The child requests seemingly endless. The kid naps too brief- perhaps only enough time for you to choose between cleaning the house, or taking a shower (it usually ends up being the cleaning).
The stained yoga pants you wore yesterday turn into today’s yoga pants, because it’s just one less thing to have to do.
Pre-kid life consisted of caring for your own needs, & maybe those of a partner. Being a SAHM can feel like your entire sense of self has changed… or disappeared.
And that’s precisely the gist of what Bridgette is getting at:
You forget what it means or feels like to be an individual; because your entire existence now revolves around that child.
Yes, moms are very much aware that once they have a child, their life is no longer only about them, thank you very much.
But for a lot of moms, it can feel mind-blowing to suddenly feel like their own existence, well, no longer feels like it exists.
And some SAHMs romanticize being back at work- simply for the companionship (and for the gift of pooping alone, no doubt).
You look at working moms and get jealous because you wish you could have an excuse to have an adult conversation without being interrupted.
It’s not a jab at working moms; they have it no easier. The struggles are merely different, like two sides of the same coin.
PARENTING -no matter how you do it- can be really, really hard sometimes. Period.
When it feels hard, many stay at home moms make the mistake of internalizing that struggle as their own failures or deficiencies.
Bridgette thought, like many, that being a SAHM surely be easier than this. What’s the big deal, right?
I was one of those people who judged SAHM’s. But I get it now.
The people who said they’d be there to help have all but disappeared, and you’re left with this overwhelming sense of failure.
You can be a stay at home mom and still miss being around other adults.
You can be thankful to be a stay at home mom yet still mourn the parts of your “former” life (work, sleeping late, again- pooping in peace).
You can be eternally grateful for your children yet also feel occasionally overwhelmed by the constant patience, energy, and perseverance that parenting requires.
In fact, you can love being a mom (in Bridgette’s case, a stay at home mom) yet have such a painfully difficult, defeating day that your entire world feels like shit and you want to throw in the towel on this whole parenting gig.
But what you shouldn’t have to feel is alone in it.
And the sorrowful thing is, that’s what likely moved Bridgette to post this:
My house isn’t clean, I’m not clean, the dishes aren’t done, I have screamed already today, I have cried, and I have felt so damn guilty that my child was here to witness it.
But I am alone….and I am lonely
Some commentors ridiculed Bridgette for posting, telling her to get a job if she “didn’t like being home.” Or suggested that she “suck it up, buttercup”. (LITERALLY.)
And that’s why many, many moms, like Bridgette, are lonely.
Without someone to vent the honest, raw, awful parts of parenting to, raising kids can feel impossible at times.
Bridgette’s description is not every stay at home mom’s experience. But it doesn’t need to be. It’s not every working mom’s experience, either, but it doesn’t need to be.
We’re all moms. And regardless of why this mom’s day defeated her, we can all encourage our fellow mothers so that no mom feels like she’s desperately alone.