The Struggles of an Ambitious Stay At Home Mother

I feel like I am at a crossroad in my life where I will soon have to make a decision of whether I want to continue to be a stay at home parent or go back in to the working field.

Because I have worked most of my life, the transition of becoming a stay at home parent was a lot more difficult than I anticipated. I always dreamed of being able to stay home with my children, I fantasized about how wonderful it would be while playing my own version of Mary Poppins in my head. But the reality is, that being a stay at home parent is difficult. Although it is rewarding and beautiful, it is a tough journey – sometimes even thankless with long, never ending hours. To top it off, it can be financially nerve wrecking especially since you are no longer contributing with a paycheck. The months of penny pinching become stressful and as a mother, you naturally put yourself last to make sure everyone else gets what they need first. Momma bear always makes sure her cubs get fed so luxuries such as shopping, salon visits, manicures…well, they are a thing of the past.

It can be incredibly taxing to go day after day of just doing without and putting yourself last. It can definitely take a toll on you emotionally. You look in the mirror to see a stranger with funky looking hair and deep eye circles starring back at you. Someone you just don’t recognize anymore. You start to question where the old “you” went; the go getter, the sharp looker, the woman who was always on top of things. Now you’ve become the lady with “mom brain,” wearing long shirts and leggings, covered in baby spit up.

But it’s all worth it right? I mean, children are everything?

Yes, they are. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than anything in this world. I can’t physically be away from my children for too long without completely freaking out. Watching them grow up to be these amazing tiny humans is a gift that I will forever be grateful for. But, there are times where I feel that my potential as a career driven individual is going to waste. I want to be able to contribute to my family in a way where my children will be able to have more opportunities when they are older, and in order for me to be able to give them that – I would have to go back into the working field. But the longer I stay home, the less work experience I am able to attain.

Sometimes, I see some of my past colleagues and their career accomplishments and I feel like I need to be out there. I mean, there are working moms out there who do it all…why can’t I? As a woman of faith, I am called to manage my home. And can I really do that while working outside the home? I believe that is one of my hardest struggles. I know there are women of faith who do work due to financial circumstances so then why am I struggling with such mom guilt?

I think when it comes down to it, we are called to be selfless, to give ourselves to our families and put their needs first. I know this is how God has designed the home to be. Do I see the blessings that have come forth due to me following this example? Yes, I definitely have. I believe I struggle with the definition of success. Most people feel they need to succeed financially and in career driven environments in order to feel successful in life. But, we forget how important it is to raise happy, healthy humans so we write it off.

The truth is that, one will always suffer. If you go back to work, yes your family will get less of you. You may have to hire a babysitter and a housekeeper. One day, I may have to do that and I am trying my best not to guilt trip myself for it because it’s just a process of life that doesn’t mean I love my family any less. I know I can’t have it all. But I want to be able to provide a bigger space that my children may one day enjoy. So until that day comes, I will try to enjoy every snuggle, every boo boo that needs to be kissed, every bed time swinging where my arms feel like they are going to give out on me. The truth is that I am just another over protective mother who is probably overthinking this whole thing. A mother that is just trying to make the best decisions for her family. I just want to do what is right for them, and make the best decisions in order to provide a better future for them.

 

Life With 2 Under 2: First Month

It’s definitely been a while since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and actually write a blog post. Every day is different and I definitely have my hands full so writing or posting has become less of a priority. To say that I get busy is an understatement because, I can add more busy to my currently extremely busy…if that makes sense?

My first month of having two under two has definitely been memorable. Your emotions range from happiness, to sleep deprived, and spiral into guilt really quickly.  One of the things I have struggled with the most is mom guilt. When I had my first son, I was able to devote all my attention to him. All my love was freely poured into him and now that I have added to my family, it is very easy to see where I start to fall short.

My second son does not get all my attention, he sparingly gets mommy snuggles and smiles. Aside from nursing him, he doesn’t get much mommy cuddles because his older brother needs me too – which constantly makes me feel very sad. My older son is getting close to turning two (ah yes, the terrible two’s are coming) and he seems to be requiring everything “right now” and all my attention  at all times – which can become very exhausting. Some days, when the baby is colicky and needs more of my attention, my toddler – even though he hides it very well – starts getting a little jealous. He starts acting out, jumps on me while I’m holding the baby, and can just be very difficult to be around. As soon as I put the baby down for a nap, there he is, waiting for me with his hands up in the air asking for me to pick him up. And how could I refuse him with his cute little face and big brown eyes as he looks up at me? Even though I may be exhausted and have to pee, I hold it in and just pick him up for a little bit. He’s still a baby. My baby.

It gets tougher when he starts to act up and I have to scold him or put him in time out because he doesn’t understand why things have changed and why I can’t tend to him right away. “Mommy has to pick up the baby because the baby is crying” as he cries while holding on to my neck, screaming “no momma, no!” It can truly be heartbreaking. If I get lucky enough to have them take a nap at the same time, momma finally gets to take a nap after only getting possibly four hours of sleep that night! Ah yes, the night time feedings of the newborn stage – cant say that was something I missed.

To sum it up – life with two under two kind of feels like a tag team match. Once you put one down, the other one tags you right back in. It’s a constant push and pull, a never ending guilt trip but at the same time, there are so many touching moments. Like when your oldest stops running around while the baby wakes up and gasps “ah, baby…cute!” Or when he comes up to the baby and gives him a big hug and kiss. Lights up my heart. Just knowing that one day, these two will be the best of friends is what gives me the fuel to not bash my head in at 3 in the morning while the baby wakes up the toddler and they are both crying for me to come get them. Sheesh! But most importantly, how they have helped me grow as a person, helped me see my strengths and weaknesses – and even with those, I have maintained being able to keep them alive? Thank you sweet Jesus for not only the heartwarming times, but also for the ongoing struggles that help make me stronger. A stronger mother, a better mother, a hot mess – but even with my weaknesses, they still love me, they still need me. Amen to that!

Expectation VS Reality

As a mother, you deal with your fair amount of disappointments and failures. You battle with who you used to be before you had children, and who you are now. I like to be somewhere in between the person who I used to be and who I am now. Although I truly admire who I have become, sometimes I miss who I used to be. A go getter, an entrepreneur, a singer, a project coordinator, etc.

Some days I feel like a failure. I’m not as energetic as some of these mom’s out there, I’m not always as friendly – sometimes hiding behind my sunglasses shielding my bare face that has no touch of make up. I’m not the yoga and Pilates preggo mother that I thought I would be. I don’t have a lot of mom friends in my area so as far as setting up play dates for my son, I definitely feel like a failure.

I think, I can at least rule at managing my home because that is my “office.” But reality sinks in, that no matter how many schedules I make, how many planners I own – life will happen. I can schedule laundry day, or grocery day or this is when I sit down and finally write my blog post day but life will happen and then I’m left with what I feel is nothing to show for.

In between trying to get the dishes done, chasing my toddler from playing with the electric chords, making breakfast, wrestling my son from swinging the dog from her tail, prepping for lunch, putting my pots back in the drawer from when my kid pulls them out to play, etc. Nothing ever seems to get done. I can schedule in between his nap times, IF he decides to nap today – life is as unpredictable as wintertime in southern California, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

An unpredictable schedule can be so disappointing when you have a desire to meet expectations. I am the type of person who, as soon as I get an idea – I like to test it out right away.

Expectation: I want to open an Etsy shop!

Reality: It actually took me about 6-9 months to finally put my idea into reality. My son was a newborn when I WANTED to start but I had to wait MONTHS before I got the ball rolling because I had no one to help me with him and it was really difficult working one hour at a time, in between his naps. Especially because he refused to sleep on his own until he was about 9 months.

Expectation: I want to start blogging!

Reality: I didn’t get to fully dive in to blogging until about a year after wanting to do it. I started with a journal, story telling about experiences in my life as a way to maintain my sanity. I have to say, I just re-started this venture maybe 3-4 months ago when my son was finally able to play independently. I still have to chase him around, mid paragraph to make sure he didn’t jam a toy in the DVD player. And on most days when I get on my laptop to write a post, he likes to psych me out and play with the power chord, occasionally pulling it out of its outlet and then laughing. -_-

In the end, as long as it gets done – you’ve still reached your achievement. I think its natural to try and put a time frame and deadlines to certain personal goals that we have in life, but its important not to live by them.  I think most successful people have experienced a fair amount of failures and met their own expectations in later times than expected – but they at least got there. You will get there, I will get there. It might not be at the time that I expected, but God always pulls through. He gets me there when it’s time for me to get there. You have to take the positives in life or else, you’ll constantly feel like a failure. You have to remember that YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! You are just going through another hurdle, so keep on persevering and finish climbing that mountain!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12