Becoming a mom is hands down the best thing that has ever happened to me. Hands down. This stay at home mom gig though? It's a little weird, no lie. And I don't even feel like I'm a totally legit SAHM, since I do work a couple shifts a month and go to school and therefore get actual time around non-related-to-me adults on a weekly basis, which seems to be something a lot of SAHMs say they miss out on. But still. I'm currently not contributing much to the family with regards to income (in fact, I made a whopping 10k last year. Can I get a what what?) and it's mentally been a huge adjustment for me to come to terms with the idea that hanging out with my little one all day is my full time "job" right now. I feel guilty about it. I feel judged. Not by my husband, because it's his preference that I'm with Madi as much as possible. And not by my family, or my husband's family or my friends or even my coworkers, none of whom have tried to make me feel lame for giving up a full time place in the workforce. But somehow I still feel like there are a lot of people out there assuming that "SAHM" is just a fancy acronym that actually means "I sit around in stretched out yoga pants watching soap operas and Judge Judy stuffing my face with bon bons all day and contributing nothing of value to society." Which I know -and anyone who has spent more than 3 consecutive hours with my tiny tow-headed dictator knows- is total crap because Disney or Sprout are the only networks playing up in herrr these days. And anyway, it's like Parenting 101 that you don't eat the good stuff around a toddler because then you have no choice but to share, and by "share" I mean you're lucky if you get the crumbs. Plus, I'm attempting to raise my daughter to be a kind, compassionate, non-serial killer, so that's somewhat valuable in and of itself.
But where was I? Oh, right. So I'm assuming that this feeling of being judged is just a result of some of the attitudes that are currently prevalent in our society, even though the people closest to me are kind enough not to express them if they happen to think the same. If you google "stay at home mom" it's kind of crazy the number of polarizing articles and outspoken opinions that pop up. So, whatever. I don't necessarily appreciate that, but I also don't necessarily need society to validate my life choices either. This nagging feeling of guilt I carry around is for sure the harder one for me to dissect. Is it because I spent a good 20 years working my tail off and now have to almost re-evaluate who I am without my job being such a defining factor? Is it because I spent so many years paying my own bills, managing my own finances (albeit not managing them well) that it feels wrong, almost, that another person has now taken over those responsibilities? Whatever the root cause, I feel like I'm pulling a fast one over on...I don't know...somebody. And because of that I feel like I need to work my butt off to make sure my husband doesn't suddenly realize he's getting some kind of a raw deal. After a busy beginning to the week, days like today where I'm tired and kind of off and really just want to spend the day laying on the living room floor while the baby plays "climbing over the mountain" I'm out in the yard instead, cleaning up after the dog, pulling weeds, raking leaves. Something, anything to show that I'm being a team player and earning my keep, so to speak.
Am I nuts you guys? Maybe I'd feel less guilty if I was a SAHM caring for 2 or 3 kids instead of one. Or maybe I just have issues? Scratch that, I know I have issues. I'm a "recovering Baptist" after all haha. So if the stars align and I'm accepted into the nursing program this fall I'll be back here pouring out my guilt not for spending too much time at home, but for not spending enough. Has being a mom always been this confusing?
I think I need a cocktail.