For the past 18 months I’ve been a full time stay at home mom. I’ve had a few little side gigs here and there but for this season of life I’ve exclusively been at home with my kids. And can I tell you a secret – it’s been the loneliest year and a half of my life.
Yup, there – I said it. Feels good actually. I’m sick of keeping things bottled up.
I know half of you are already up in arms – well it’s YOUR choice Meredith. And you’re right – for the most part – it has been my choice. I am grateful to have a hard working husband who provides for us but his job is so time consuming and physically demanding that he doesn’t have much energy left to contribute to the day to day operations of the house which leaves me bearing the full load. This whole mom gig IS my full time job.
Many of you think, being a stay at home mom is easy. HAHAHAHAHA. You think we just lounge around on the couch all day in our pajamas. WRONG. Well the pajamas part might be partially true but I would give an appendage to be able to shower and take 30 minutes to myself daily to get dressed and ready. For real.
I wake up tired every damn day. I slam a few cups of coffee to get myself out of bed and when the caffeine hits its baby’s naptime. That whole “sleep when the baby sleeps” – I’m gonna cut whoever coined that piece of advice.
My feeble attempts to be awake and present with husband before work or teen before she heads out the door fail regularly. They both are lucky if one day I month I can pull that off. God bless them both.
This is by far the most demanding, draining, mentally unfulfilling and emotional job I’ve ever had. And saying that isn’t to complain. Someone has to do it and I’m grateful I’m home with my kids but holy moly this chapter was omitted from the handbook.
Those of you who know me in real life know how social I used to be. A dear friend and mentor often makes a joke – So-and-so would be at the “opening” of an envelope if they were invited. That used to be ME. Community events, church events, Chamber events, charity & non profit events – I attended them all. My calendar was slam packed from sun up to sundown with events, places to be and people to interact with.
People…. Mmmm… people. Real people with brains and thoughts and ideas. I used to hang out with them daily. From breakfast meetings to happy hours, I was around people all day long. Now my daily interaction is playing Words with Friends hoping that someone will send me an in-game chat message that might start a conversation.
Conversations… conversations about current events, community woes, heck just anything that didn’t involve repeating how old my children are and how many teeth they currently have would get my blood moving today.
I’d love to be asked and answer any question other than “What have you been up too?” or “Where have you been, I feel like I haven’t seen you in FOREVER!” No shit Sherlock, I’m the keeper of the goldfish and the bedtime schedule. You see my Facebook posts, you like my cute kids pictures all day long – you know damn well where I have been.
And my friends. Man I miss them. Somewhere along the way from being a newlywed to becoming pregnant to having an infant their fabulous lives continued and I got left in the dust. To a small extent I get it, no one likes to invite people who don’t show up. I’ve been very guilty of that. But man, what I would kill for those invites today, those invites that elicit a small interaction of adult communication via text message.
Every morning I sit here with my coffee wishing, hoping, praying that today would be the day one of them texted me “I’ve got a free hour today, I’m coming over to see you.” Because really, truly, that’s what all SAHMs want. We want friends that understand as much as we would love to come meet you for breakfast or lunch or a cocktail – our house is the easiest place to gather. Our homes are kidproof. We can easily maintain the nap and bedtime schedules that are the only shred of sanity we are clinging too. We don’t have to feel guilty when the goldfish inevitably end up on the floor and we aren’t focused on all the potential baby hazards of an unknown location.
I understand I’m not blameless, I know I haven’t been able to be as present in my friend’s lives and events like I used to be. I can only hope that they get it and can extend me grace. One day… it may be a few years away… but one day I’ll be back on my friend game. I promise you that.
All these days while I’m stuck in the rocking chair with the sweetest babe in the world, I’m wishing he was older and could have real playdates. Longing for the days – soon to come – where he can walk and explore our local playgrounds. I think about those days and I just pray that there’s other SAHMs like me who will be waiting at the park, looking for someone just like her, someone like me. Someone who gets her struggles and wants to make new friends. I know she’s out there, I hope she reads this. I hope we find each other.
And then there’s the SAHM mom guilt, which I’m experiencing at this very moment while I’m typing these words. I should feel lucky I’m not working two or three jobs to keep a roof over my head – and believe me I AM. But that doesn’t make my job any less hard. Could I trade it for a full time job, put the baby in daycare and hire a cleaning lady a few times a month, why yes – yes I could. But he’s only little once, I won’t be able to ever get this time back. I can’t imagine missing the milestones even the simple ones like when he bangs two pieces of Tupperware together and realizes it makes a fun sound. One thing is for sure, I may be lonely, but I’ll never regret this season of life.
I’ll try and forget the months and months of sleepless nights, the never-ending chain of diaper changes, the constant wiping of noses and not being able to just leave the house on a whim – but I won’t regret it. I’ll reflect how it was a lonely time but when I look in my kids faces I’ll always know it was worth it.