All my life I dreamed of being a mother and longed to stay home. I fixated on the day I would no longer have to go into work, and believed I would love nothing more than being at home all day.
I never suspected that I would be one of those people who "needed" to work. I thought I would celebrate my new job and never miss my work outside of the home. I didn't realize how much I longed for human interaction and a sense of accomplishment. I knew I was an overachiever, but I always thought that was because I was in school or running my own business. I assumed it would go away or transfer to motherhood. And, yes, it partially has. I feel a need to be the perfect mother and set my son up for success. I believe that by being home with him I am giving him the best environment and providing him with the start to life that I want for him. Yet, something is still missing.
Being a stay at home mom can be isolating. I adore my son and love how much he loves and needs me. At the same time, I feel a loss of individuality. I sometimes feel lonely and exhausted. At times I feel like I my intelligence is fading (I cringe every time I accidentally use the wrong "there" of "you're" even if it is only for a moment). Even though I know raising my son is exceptionally important, sometimes I feel like I am not doing anything of value and significance. And then if I do anything other than give him all my attention, I feel guilty.
I long for a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I miss feeling like I'm contributing to our family financially (I loved the accomplishment I felt when depositing money that was a direct result of my hard work). I find myself staying up at night trying to brainstorm ways I can make money. I am so grateful that we don't "need" me to work, but I think it is about much more than the money. I think I need to feel successful, admired, appreciated, accomplished, challenged, and intellectually stimulated.
Yesterday, I met someone else who expressed the same sentiment. She also has a graduate degree and worked outside of the home before transitioning to her role as a stay at home mom. She also recently moved (which I think contributes to the sense of isolation). I can all but guarantee we're not the only two who feel this way.
I adore my son and am so grateful for the opportunity to raise him and stay home with him. I'm thankful that I'm not a single mother who has to work. I'm glad I don't have to put my son in daycare. I'm also pretty sure that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
I by no means think that being a stay at home mom is the "toughest job in the world." I recognize that every job has its advantages and its challenges. My title is intentionally dramatic as "plight" implies more hardship that I think is merited. Still, staying at home is hard. I don't get to watch Netflix all day, pamper myself, and bake. I often don't even get to pee when I want to. Even for someone who dreamed of this job her whole life, I realize that it's not always all it's cracked up to be. All of this to say, if you feel this way or similar, you're not alone.