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The Tragic Irony of the Stay-at-Home Mom

Being a stay-at-home mom is absolutely wonderful. I get to raise my own children in the comfort of our own home, and I often do so without wearing real pants. But the truth is, there is a lot about being a SAH parent which society quietly ignores. When I consciously became aware of the tragic irony of the stay-at-home mom, I knew that I would have to write about it.

You are lonely but never alone.

How is this even possible? How can you long for human interaction when you are always surrounded by little humans?

Oh, because you long for human interaction where the other human can speak in coherent sentences, fully clothed, without soiling themselves or picking their nose. Got it.

Yes, what us stay-at-home moms really want is adult human interaction. We want friends we can talk to face to face. We want to be able to tell someone about our day, and hear about theirs, and feel like we’re a real grown up again. (Do you ever feel like when you get away from your kids though, that all you talk about is… your kids?)

You do the most important job in the world, but feel worthless.

Ok society, this one is your damn fault. You make women seem like they’re just baby-makers, and that we should just hide at home to raise kids while the “real men” go out and make the money, as well as all of the progress, in this world.

I call bullshit.

A stay-at-home mom not only saves her family a ton of money in daycare, but she has the added benefit of raising her own babies, her way, in their natural habitat of home. She has control of her kids and can do things the way she sees fit, for the most part. That’s an amazing blessing, not including all of the other possible side benefits like extended breastfeeding.

But a lot of other groups in society look down on stay-at-home moms. We’re supposed to have bodies that “bounce back” after birth (I don’t know about you, but any bouncing my body does is not the kind the media tells me about); we’re supposed to look radiant when we go out in public; our babies are supposed to neither be seen nor heard, particularly if they cry or need to nurse; and if our house isn’t spotless then I mean obviously all we do all day is sit around.

When did we start holding so much value in the salary you make, as opposed to the lives you’re enriching? Why is it more important to move up the corporate ladder than to be raising your children into the adults society needs them to be? Because I tell you truly, the world needs more emotionally intelligent, compassionate, curious, brilliant people like my kids; we don’t need more accountants or more CEOs or more billionaires.

Society, you suck at priorities.

The Tragic Irony of the Stay-at-Home Mom - Real Simple Mama

You are so busy, but you are bored.

I have literally caught myself from dozing off while standing at the kitchen sink. It is ridiculous how deliriously tired you get when you care for children 24/7. And yet, I find myself being bored sometimes.

You know that fatigue you feel when you’re the driver on a road trip? You have to focus constantly because, well, you’re behind the wheel. Physically you’re not moving much, but your brain and your attention are working to the max.

When you finally get to where you’re going, you want to collapse even though your body has hardly moved. It’s exhausting!

Yeah, raising kids is like that. All. Day.

I have a calm but curious preschooler and a scheming, devious troublemaker toddler, so I’m always on high alert. Except for those moments like when the kids take a really good nap, or they somehow manage to play in the playroom together happily for a while without me. Then, it’s like I’m lost.

I can try to do a workout, or pull out my phone to check on my mindless games, but when I’m not needed it’s like I’m adrift. I’m not sure what to do with myself.

What the hell.

You can’t relax at home because you work there too; you are trapped.

When I was a teacher, I couldn’t wait to get home so I could change into sweatpants and lay around the house. It was a haven for me, and it relaxed me.

Not anymore.

You see, when you live and work in the same place all damn day, your home is no longer a place for you to rest and wind down. Because it’s your office too. Now whenever I sit down, all I see is the pile of dog hair on the floor that the vacuum somehow missed, or the dishes that perpetually fill my kitchen sink.

No longer can I “come home” to relax. My home has become a source of stress for me because I always have something I should be doing. It’s trapping me with its endless messes.

The solution to this one is pretty easy though, as long as your kids allow you to corral them into the car. We love going out in the mornings just to get away from our mundane walls. We are active in our playgroup and also do our shopping errands together. It makes the tediousness of always being home much easier to bear.

You lose yourself but cannot imagine doing anything else.

In a way, this tragic irony is the most pitiful of all. What are we other than mothers? I mean yeah we’re women and daughters and all that, but seriously. Who was I before I was G’s mom? At times I can’t even remember anymore.

I know it sounds like a Hallmark card no one wants, but it’s true that “being a mother is the best job I’ve ever had.” And mostly that’s accurate. I love being a mom and I’m so happy at where I am right now in my life.

But I don’t want to downplay pre-mom me, either. Because I think that I was pretty badass before I was a stay-at-home mom too, thankyouverymuch.

Who were you before you got pregnant? You might tell me about your career, your education, your upbringing; your bucket list or your life goals or your biggest fear; hell, tell me your favorite ice cream flavor or a funny story.

I’ll tell you about me: I’m sarcastic and I hate spending money. I’m in love with my high school sweetheart (who conveniently is also my husband), and I’ve lived in Texas my whole life. I’m a musician and a teacher, a Catholic and a liberal, I’m Type A and I hate roller coasters. But I love the ocean.

Come on, fellow stay-at-home mom. We can’t forget who we were. Because that’s who we are, now. We’re still the same person. Now we just have little people who look like us and yell at us when they want something.

The Tragic Irony of the Stay-at-Home Mom - Real Simple Mama

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you for putting into words the dilemma of “my home is my workplace”. It explains why even when I’m home on the weekends with my husband, I can only see the things around me that need doing.

    • P.S. I’m always a sucker for coffee toffee ice cream. ūüėČ

    • The Mama

      July 5, 2017 at 8:01 am

      GAH me too. And of course my husband’s response of “Just come sit down and relax” is useless. I’m always here so I see every mess and I know everything that needs to be done/replaced. Mentally it’s so draining!

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