May 27, 2014

My Truth of Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

Last Thursday, I went with some of the other moms from the Mommy & Me group Addison and I are
involved with to see Moms' Night Out. Yes, seeing Moms' Night Out on a moms' night out is a little cliche but we did it so what's it to you?! Cliche or not, it was good. The movie was funny and scary true. Or at least mostly true. I have never lost a baby or chased down a van in a cab or had a friend (or myself) get tasered and then put in jail. Heck, I have never even been to a tattoo parlor.

But all those things aside, I have felt everything those moms were feeling. I have felt overwhelmed. I have felt stressed. I have felt like I am drowning. I have felt like I'm fighting a losing battle. I have felt like I am not enough.

And I'm guessing if you are a mom and reading this, you have probably also felt some of this too. You may not admit it but it's probably true. And if you haven't then I want to know your secret. I want to know how you do it.

I have never been a working mom so I can't speak for working moms. Truthfully I can't even speak for stay-at-home moms but I can speak for this one. And I can tell you that sometimes its our job that seems to be one of the most misunderstood. As nice as it would be to sit on the couch all day watching movies and TV and eating what I want without sharing, it's just not the case. As a stay-at-home mom you are never alone. There is a tiny little person that follows you around all day long. One of the great joys of Rob returning home from work is going to the bathroom without an audience. I can't eat anything without someone wanting what I eat. I can't watch anything that doesn't have a Disney character singing at me. I read about a big red dog all day. I make monkey sounds and watch all my groceries get smashed and crushed as the kid throws everything into the cart because if I don't let her "help" then she throws a huge fit and all I need is groceries for the day. A task that would normally take five minutes, now takes half the day. Appointments have to be carefully planned around nap and meal times and usually I have to beg for someone to take her just so I can get myself checked out without a little kid crying and screaming on the floor because I can't hold her at that exact moment. Nap times are never long enough to get things done but also take five minutes for myself at the same time.

Basically what it comes down to is that being a mom is hard. And being a stay-at-home mom is really really hard. You spend all day every day non-stop with your kid. Your job is your home and your home is your job. There is no escape. Your job follows you on vacation (not that I even know what that is anymore). Your job follows you through the night. Your job continues hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. A weekend is something you forgot that existed long ago.

And it's not all happy times. It's definitely not all rainbows and sunshine around this house 24/7. I just show you the happy. But there are struggles. There are days when I get so frustrated with Addison that I have to put her in her crib and walk away to give myself two minutes to take some deep breaths and scream into a pillow. There are days when I feel like hiding in my closet and eating ice cream. There are days when we watch movies because I just can't handle it. There are days when I just break down crying.

Watching that movie, I felt like I was watching my life and my feelings all out there on display. But one of the big things that rang true to me was when the main character said that she didn't feel like she was enough. The biker guy asked her who she wasn't enough for. Her answer was her husband, her kids, God, everyone. He responded and said you, you aren't enough for yourself. It goes on and he tells her basically that God wouldn't have given her her kids and her life if she couldn't handle it. If she wasn't meant to do what she does. If God didn't love her and make her exactly who she was.

I know for a fact that on more than one occasion I have said those exact words to my husband. I have told him that I'm not enough. That I never feel like I'm enough. As a mom, I now hold myself to a standard. An impossible one. And because of that I never feel like I'm enough. But the truth is that my husband loves me for exactly who I am. My kid is happy and healthy and wants me for exactly who I am. God loves me for who I am. But yet I still don't feel like I'm enough.

So much is thrown at us as moms. Pinterest is awesome but at the same time the worst thing in the world. We see all these things that people are doing and feel inferior because we don't do all these things. I don't make the things I see on Pinterest. Heck, I had to take a step away from Pinterest for awhile because I was starting to feel so much pressure (put there by myself of course) to do all these things and that somehow I wasn't a good mom or wife or woman if I didn't. I don't do a new sensory activity every day, and that makes me feel like I'm failing as a mom because my kid isn't spending every hour of the day learning and trying something new. I don't have a perfectly clean and organized house so I feel like I fail as a wife because my husband has to deal with a messy bathroom and help me clean up after he's spent all day working and instead of cleaning during nap time I sat on my butt and zoned out because my kid did nothing but throw temper tantrums all morning and I'm exhausted.

None of those things define me. I'm still a good wife and mom. I'm still spending time with my daughter every day helping her learn, try new things, and interacting constantly, so it's okay if we don't do a new activity every day. Sometimes projects make me more frustrated and more stressed, so maybe it's okay if I don't do those Pinterest projects. My house isn't perfectly clean but as it turns out, my husband doesn't care and doesn't mind helping me out. What matters is that I have a family who loves me. I have a family who is happy and healthy and takes me for exactly who I am, flaws and all.

But still we compare ourselves. We compare ourselves to what society thinks we should do and be, to what we see on Pinterest, to other blogs, to other moms. And in comparison we are all failing. Because we can't do it all. But that doesn't mean we are actually failing.

And here's a little secret about all those things we compare ourselves to, we don't see the ugly parts. We are only shown the happy times. The successes, the accomplishments. People only show what they want to be seen. I'm just as guilty of that having this blog. I can tell you that without a doubt, I don't have it all together. But I don't show you the parts where I break down crying to my husband in the dark of the night that I feel like I failed my daughter because she's not walking yet. I don't show you the temper tantrums from Addison. I don't show you the fights with my husband.

It's a struggle everyday to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can for my family. It's a struggle to remind myself that I'm the one holding myself to an impossible standard and it's okay to let go of that. It's a struggle to remind myself that God gave me this life and this family knowing that I could handle it and this is what I'm supposed to be doing. It's a struggle to remind myself that what I'm doing is enough. That I am enough.

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