Saturday, December 4, 2010
The role of "stay-at-home Mom" is one I never imagined for myself when I was young. I knew I wanted to be a Mom one day; as a teen I imagined myself as one day having a fast-paced design job with kids in daycare. I always thought I would want to work, if I was lucky enough to have the choice to do so. It's funny how time changes your mind. Indeed I was lucky enough to have a choice, and I chose to stay home with my daughter and raise her. This post isn't to get into a "this" versus "that" conversation...all I will say is I'm grateful to have the choice and understand why others choose to work instead of stay home as well. It's a topic that is not black and white, that's for sure! Anyway, I guess this post is to address other Stay at Home moms and ask them this: Do you feel the pressure to do MORE? I see blog posts of other SAHMs who have jobs on the side where they squeeze creative careers in during naps and during evenings and weekends. Or, I see them cooking up a storm, sewing kids' clothes, and reorganizing their houses all while tending to 4 kids. It is easy to feel inadequate if I compare. In my own case, I tried to squeeze in some work for design clients on the side but had to give it up. I simply couldn't give my clients the time and attention they deserved while still giving my daughter the attention SHE deserved. I found myself getting stressed and I guess resentful? with trying to squeeze everything into a two-hour nap window and I simply didn't want to start my "second job" in the evening once Paige went to bed. I wanted to relax after a long day! Being sole caregiver to a child all day is a full-time job as we all know. Then, there's the issue of personal hobbies, interests, and care. I felt the need to have a day of the week where I set aside time to paint "just for me." Or, an evening where I scheduled time to get my hair cut or some such thing. Everyone is always saying how you have to set aside time regularly for doing the things you want. Believe it or not, THAT was stressing me out too! I never felt relaxed, satisfied, or settled in my role as Mom. I always felt like I was supposed to be doing more and resenting it at the same time. I've discovered that this is a fleeting chapter in my life. It will be a short phase that won't last forever. I want to enjoy and honor it. I've given up trying to squeeze all kinds of extra things in. Relief! I've made the decision to simply be a Mom to my daughter and give her my best efforts. I no longer feel frantic or less-than the next gal. It has taken me a while to get to this point...to accept that I'm doing more than enough and I'm actually happy with it! Now that I've let go of all the expectations of what I SHOULD be doing in ADDITION to mothering I feel like I can finally be myself and enjoy my role. If I feel like doing a painting and I have a slice of time, then I will paint. But I don't schedule it in and create stress around it. I will go back to doing all the other things my life has to offer once my children are school-age. In the meantime, I will relax, rest and read during Paige's naps and not race to fill them with a hundred tasks that are supposedly for "me." I will spend my evenings with my husband instead of frantically racing around on the computer. And I will know that being "just a Mom" is more than enough to keep me busy, happy, exhausted and fulfilled for the time being. And if that changes, I am confident that I will take the necessary steps to make things right. For now, I'm giving in to this role...and I'm finding I love it more than I thought I would. It just took me letting go of those other notions to discover it. I've also realized that I can include Paige in my interests during the day...thus keeping her AND myself entertained. Not everything has to be HER time versus MY time. That has been helping a lot too. Any other SAHMs out there who feel pressure to do more than their day job, whether it is a side job, something for personal enrichment, etc.? Is it stuff you want and enjoy doing? Or is it stuff you feel you SHOULD be doing?