The Plight of a Stay at Home Mom

by Boon and Boys

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.