Three years ago I made the easy decision to quit my job because I had a baby on the way. I was going to be a mommy and I had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mommy. This was a dream of mine. I suck at housework, but I could get better. I love to cook and bake though! I thought I was ready for the challenge. More importantly, I was going to spend every day with my child and not miss a moment. Little did I know what this was really going to mean. This was a big change that started off challenging and it still is challenging. Do not get me wrong…I LOVE being a stay-at-home mommy but it comes with challenges as everything does in life.
Challenge Number 1: Loneliness
When we moved to the state that we live in now I knew no one. The only friends that I had made were work friends. My work friends were true friends that I loved, could be myself around, we shared fashion tips, we cried together, we laughed together, and I truly loved them. There were five women that I worked with that I saw more than my husband on a weekly basis. So, the after the honeymoon phase of the new baby and trying to get into a routine, I got extremely lonely. There was no one to share my thoughts with when it came to, can you believe she wore that, have you heard that new song, do these shoes go with this top? I missed my girlfriends more than I thought I would. Also, I drove an hour to work one way and all my friends lived near the workplace. So, they were not just going to drop by after work to say hi or to see my beautiful little girl. Sure, we texted and called but it was not the same. Because of this we slowly grew apart and it has never been the same since.
I think that this is what started my depression that I went into right after my daughter was born. This is also the depression that I would struggle with and deny having for over a year. Being lonely sucked and I longed for relationships. I even prayed for a best friend as childish as that may sound. I needed someone who lived near me that I could talk to and it just did not happen for me. Now that I have two kids, I am much better. I do not have time to think about being lonely. However, the switch from working full time to staying home full time was extremely difficult.
Challenge Number 2: Spouse Conversations and Life
Before I stated staying at home, I worked a longer work day than my husband. I also drove a long way to work so I often got home late. During dinner we were both tired, but always were able to have a full conversation when I got home about our days. However, when I started to stay at home the conversations changed. I was just able to discuss feedings, diapers and other day-to-day baby care duties. My husband eventually stopped talking about his work day because he just wanted to hear about the baby. That was all we could talk about because that was all we had in common at this point in our lives. We no longer talked about personal things and at the time I felt like I was starting to lose my spouse because we were running out of things to talk about. The things we had in common and did together had changed dramatically. We were so focused on our beautiful daughter. Do not read this as a complaint. We were in love with her and we would not change anything, but we were losing each other and did not even notice it at the time.
This is still a struggle we have today. We are not the same couple we were 8 years ago when we got married. We find it very hard to find time to be a couple. I keep telling myself that this will change one day. However, the simple fact is that I miss my husband. Everyday I miss him and everyday I see him. I am sure that this is harder even for mothers that work. Children do change your life for the better, but there are some things from your old life that you do miss.
Challenge Number 3: Guilt
This is a huge problem for me. I have so much guilt about being able to stay at home with my baby while my husband works his butt off at work. I was there to witness every first for my children. I tried to catch them on video and when I did not we would fake it so daddy could see it when he got home (shhh…do not tell him). My heart hurt for him and I wanted so badly for him to get to experience all that I had with the children. He is an amazing dad and these things are very important to him. All I can say about this is, I am sorry that you had to work and I got to stay home. If we could have taken turns I would have.
Also, I feel guilt for spending money on myself. Since I do not contribute financially it is hard not to feel this way. I second guess my purchases and try to find deals as often as I can.
Challenge Number 4: Friendships
All of my friends work. I do not have any friends that stay at home with their children. So, doing things during the day with other moms has not been an option for me (I guess this could go with the loneliness part). Some of my friends have made comments that have hurt my heart, like:
1. They would go insane if all they did was sit at home all day.
2. I do not know how you do it! My kids would drive me crazy if I was home all day!
3. What do you do all day? I just could not image!
4. Some people think that all a stay at home mom does during the day is craft and I went to college and got a degree.
So, I hear these comments and I think to myself…what do you mean? What do you think of me?
Also, I have friends who work and would love to stay home. However, that is not an option. So I hear,
1. I wish my husband was a _____, so I could stay at home l like you.
2. It must be nice to sleep in every day.
3. I could get so much done if I got to stay home.
4. I have missed so much and I hate it that I have to work. It must be nice to get to see it all.
So, I feel I can never admit to these people that we eat out two times a week and that my house stays a wreck 90% of the time. I must be a horrible, horrible housekeeper is all I can think. I also, feel so guilty when I hear these things. All I can think is, I wish you got to stay at home too so you could see it is not a piece of cake either.
So, I could go on and on about this topic. As I know, working moms could do that same. In reality, we all have our challenges every day. Some challenges might seem absolutely trivial to you or me! However, everyone’s life is different and we need to remember to be careful with our words and other’s hearts when we are speaking.