I was chatting online with another bloggy friend who is also a recent job quitter/stay-at-home-mom. She’s having somewhat of a difficult time with it and asked why nobody tells you that staying home is so hard. “It’s like it’s a secret,” she said. And that really bothered me.
As you know, I’m not so great at the secrets. I pretty much don’t keep anything to myself. But she’s right, this stay at home thing is mother fucking hard, and I don’t talk about it. Maybe I’ve eluded to it here and there but I discovered early on in my stay at home mom-dom that if you complain about it, people get annoyed and/or judge you. And to be honest, when I was a working mom, I did the same thing. Like yeah, yeah, I’m sure it’s rough to just sit home all day and to not have to get up early and get ready for work and then leave your children with other people and go to a job you hate. Blah blah blah, let’s trade lives. But on the outside I would nod and say, “Yes, being a mom is THE hardest job in the world!”
So that was old, naive me that never actually stayed home for a prolonged period of time. And before anyone gets offended, let me say, that YES! I do know from experience that being a working mom is hard as shit too. There’s really nothing more chock full of guilt than going to work when your kid is sick or getting a call from preschool that he pooped his pants and you can’t leave because you are afraid of getting fired. It sucks balls when you pick your kid up at 6 and his bedtime is at 8 so you spend a frantic 2 hours trying to get him home, fed, bathed and actually form a meaningful bond with him. I get it. I promise. I know it is hard too.
All I’m saying here is that staying home is hard too. Let’s start with the obvious, money. Going from a 2 income household to a 1 income household is mind blowing. All of the sudden I have to keep AND STICK TO a budget. Planning trips or new cribs or even buying gas sometimes takes a whole lot of planning.
The less obvious difficulties are those that involve this crazy mind of mine. Before I chose to be a SAHM, I was an accountant, which I know isn’t that exciting, but it takes brain power and my neurons got a work out. Now I talk to a 1 year old all day. I have no friends in my neighborhood, and pretty much all of my friends work so they can’t just chat with me whenever I want them to during the day. It’s isolating. And for a brainy, social gal like me, IT’S MOTHER FUCKING HARD!
Next is using the bathroom. I swear to god. I cannot take a piss without someone yelling at me through the door and/or knocking on it and/or crying and/or trying to climb on my lap while I’m sitting on the toilet. I never knew how much I’d miss alone time until I tried to pee with a 1 year old in the house. This is also true for eating lunch and going to the grocery store.
Lastly, it’s the idea that if I have a hard time being a SAHM that somehow I am a failure as a mom, a wife or a homemaker. After all, I’m not making any money and I am home all day. So shouldn’t I be totally fulfilled? And if I’m not, aren’t I a bad human being? Well, I’m here to say NO YOU JUDGY ASSHOLE (judgy asshole = myself when I think this way.) There is something difficult and not fulfilling about everyone’s job. Have you ever met even one person that says, “I love EVERYTHING about my job! I wouldn’t change a single THING!” Well no because that job doesn’t exist. I do try to look at the positives, but I think it’s important to put this out there so that we can understand each other and hopefully be less judgy wudgy. Even of ourselves.
So there. Being a stay at home mom is fucking hard. I said it. The secret is out.