My oldest daughter turned 4 a couple of months ago. FOUR! I can’t believe it! It has been an amazing 4 years and I honestly don’t know how we ever lived without her. As I reflect on her past 4 years of life, I also can’t help but think about what those 4 years mean for me. They mean that I have been at home for 4 years.
That is absolutely mind blowing to me. I never thought that I would be a stay at home mom. I always saw myself having a career fresh out of college. And I did have a very good start to a career after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. As I was working towards my Master’s degree I was interning for a nonprofit organization and eventually that turned into a full time position. I was very happy with the direction of where my career was going.
But as I was entering my 2nd trimester, I began wondering who was going to take care of the little babe that was growing inside of me. And as my due date neared, I started seeking advice from other stay at home mamas and asking how they came to the decision to quit their jobs and stay at home. During this time, I was also praying hard that God would make the decision obvious for my husband and me.
During this time, my husband and I were also looking for our first home. Keeping in mind that I wanted to stay at home, we were looking for a fixer upper so that our payments would be low. Man, God really made it obvious when we finally found our house. I was about 5 months pregnant by this time and it was just perfect. By 6 months, I had come to the decision that I was going to stay at home with my baby. I didn’t care that we would be on a tight tight tight budget! I didn’t care that we didn’t have a big fancy home.
In my heart, I felt that this is what God was asking me to do. I feel like he was very specifically asking me to do this in order to teach me countless life lessons and to work on aspects of my character that I didn’t know needed improvements. But let me tell you, being a stay at home mama is not for the faint of heart! It is the most difficult and the most rewarding job you could ever have. I wanted to share some struggles that I have faced over the past 4 years as a stay at home mom.
Not providing a monetary income for my family
This is something that I have struggled with BIG time over the years. When I quit my job, I was actually making more than my husband! Not much more, but still! It was hard for me to come to terms that we were going to solely rely on his income.
I think it is a little funny because every 6 months or so, I try to search for jobs! haha And through the years, I have had a few very part time jobs. But none of them has ever stuck. And I know that they never stick because I have learned that right now, my passion is truly at home. But sometimes in my role as a stay at home mom I can question my worth. I question what I am contributing to my family if I can’t contribute financially?
Now I know this is a silly question when I really think about it. But still.
Struggling with my identity (what is my role in my family)
I think this goes a long with the first struggle a lot. When I first became a stay at home mama I had to really sit back and think about what my new role was going to entail. I think that sometimes people get this idea in their head that all stay at home moms do is watch tv all day or get to play with their kid all day, or I don’t know run with unicorns and ponies? But that is definitely not reality.
I take my role as a stay at home mom seriously. I knew that I wasn’t going to stay at home to just being on the internet all day or binge on Netflix. I knew that my children needed me. I was going to be their sole caretaker during the day. That meant that I am not only mom but teacher, nurse, counselor, chef, discipliner, rule maker, driver, activities coordinator, comforter, and all other things that encompass “mom” 24 hours out of the day. I am never away from my children.
It is hard.
It is not only hard. It is confusing. When does my title change? Do I ever get a break? Can I ever leave work at work? No.
I’m in no way complaining of these things. But man it is exhausting, confusing, and hard to wrap my head around sometimes.
Feeling like I am at a standstill when it comes to my career
I think every stay at home mom in the universe can relate. I’ve been at home for 4 years, so that means I have lost 4 years of professional experience. This is so hard for me. I struggle with this almost every day. I wonder what I could have gained professionally during this time. I wonder where I could be working, what I could be doing, how much experience I could have achieved by this time.
But I think that this is one of the most important lessons God has been teaching me during this time.
Just wait on Me, Amanda. You are exactly where you need to be right now. I may have not gained much “professional” experience during this time but man I have gained EXPERIENCE.
Some of the best experiences I could have ever had. This time is not forever. One day my children will be grown and one day I will work again. But for now, I am cherishing this time when they are little because they will not be little for long.
Feeling like I am falling behind my family and friends (everyone is advancing their career and I am not)
This kind of goes hand in hand with the previous one. But it is still a little different. Sometimes I can feel like I am falling behind. Like I will never catch up.
I see my family and friends advancing in their careers and I am happy for them. But man it is so hard not to compare.
One day I could be completely content with being at home and then I hear someone talking about their new promotion and BAM! I start comparing myself to where I am at in my career. There was never a truer saying: Comparison is the thief of joy.
I have to tell myself this over and over and over again daily. I may not be successful in a professional career. But I am successful as a mother. (no pun intended)
There have been days that I have struggled with my role as a stay at home mama, but I wouldn’t trade those days for anything. I feel like after 4 years in this role, and 2 kids later, I am FINALLY getting into the groove of things. And it feels amazing to be able to fully embrace the important part I play in my family right now.
Are there any other stay at home mamas out there with these same struggles? How do you combat those feelings of inadequacy?