Becoming a Stay-at-home Mom
In 2014, I was working in the pediatric ICU (PICU) as an RN. I remember when I got the call that I got hired… I was over the moon. The excitement was almost indescribable. That was my dream job. I knew I didn’t and felt like I couldn’t work anywhere else. My heart desired the PICU and that was it…until my dream was to become a stay at home mom to my daughter!
In 2016, when we first found out we were pregnant, I had never dreamed of being a stay at home mom. In fact, I told my manager in the Pediatric ICU that I would definitely continue working.
When I returned to work from maternity leave (only 12 weeks long here in the US), I went back to night shift. The first couple of months were hard to leave my baby, of course, but everyone said it would get easier.
For me, it got harder! A few weeks before I decided to leave my dream job, I would cry every single time I had to drive to work. Some days (well nights), I would cry more than others. But it NEVER got easier for me.
After many conversations with my husband and probably my mom, we made some financial moves in preparation for me to stay home with our new baby. I worked in the PICU for a little over 3 years before we made that decision! Our daughter was 9 months old when I left my dream job.
I’ll never forget the day I turned in my notice to my manager. It was not easy! I’m pretty sure I cried. I’m also a crier so there’s that!
So, you may be thinking how you could leave your dream job to stay home with your baby? Well, at that point in my life, I saw no other options. I was miserable at work. I felt like I was losing my passion in nursing and I cared so much about my patients and families, that I definitely did not want that to reflect my care of them at all!!! I checked her Nest camera multiple times a night. I couldn’t wait to get home to shower and cuddle with her. My dream job scenario had shifted to being a mom!
It’s ok to pivot! It’s ok that life changes! It’s ok that dreams change!
The first 6 months of staying home as a mom were amazing! I was in what I call the “honeymoon phase of mom-ing.” Sure, I missed my nurse friends. But I wasn’t crying anymore. I didn’t feel miserable. I LOVED staying home, spending time with her, not missing out on firsts, being able to care for her boo-boo’s. I was living the MOM DREAM.
Then, the “honeymoon phase” wore off. I was slowly losing my nursing friends, one by one. Schedules didn’t align. People are busy. Kids get sick. On and on with the reasons. I started feeling like I had taken on more of a housewife role than a stay at home mom role. And I was overwhelmed. I was lonely. I was sad. I was contemplating going back to work. I was tired of cleaning all the time, tired of seeing the walls within our house (and this was pre-covid), tired of being tired. I felt like I lost my identity! I was struggling!
Vulnerable moment coming up…my husband and I ended up in marriage counseling because he was smoking cigars daily, at work, hiding it from me and I accidentally found out. This happened probably within the first year of me being a stay at home mom. I definitely felt like it was a reflection of me and my struggles with being a stay at home mom. Counseling was super helpful for us and we got back on the right track. (Long story, short)
But I still struggled with feeling lonely, a lot! I had to be very intentional with how I spent my time so that my cup was being filled. If I wasn’t intentional, I was not happy. If I was not happy, there was a sense of “something being off” in the house. My feeling lonely was affecting our household, for sure. That’s really hard to admit.
My daughter and I got memberships to our local zoo and aquarium and frequently had daughter/mommy dates and would even meet friends there. Like I said, I had to be very intentional with our time, playdates and meet ups.
In 2018, we ended up buying property on a lake and building a house. During that process, we got pregnant with our second daughter. I had a lot of morning sickness with our second daughter, so I was frequently managing a toddler, being pregnant and not feeling well plus getting ready to move.
Building that lake house was so damn stressful (not that building a house is ever easy or fun)! Lots of things combined sent me into another spiral that I believe now contributed to my postpartum anxiety (another post for another day…soon).
I want to tell my story in hopes that no other stay at home will have to endure such a lonely feeling as I did. And I don’t even know if I quite used the words to explain how lonely I truly felt.
Moms are adults too! We want, need, crave and deserve adult interaction. Interacting with a toddler all day long is exhausting, albeit quite fun usually. But also, quite exhausting.
Would I trade it? Nope. I don’t regret my decision to stay home with my girls. Have I struggled with it? Absolutely! And that is ok!
I want you to know that if you are a stay-at-home mom, you’re reading this and you’re struggling, it is ok! It is normal. And it’s ok to talk about it. It’s not taboo (although it does feel like it…like how could I be so entitled to stay home with my kids and want adult interaction (I rolled my eyes to anyone who thinks that)).
We are allowed to want time away from our kids. I have discovered that time away from my kids actually makes me a better mom. I am able to fill a different side of my cup and come home with a fuller cup than when I left. Our kids deserve that. They deserve a mom who can put 100% into them.
In fact, I know that when I start having short fuses and get easily frustrated, it’s time for mama to take a few hours away. Mama needs a time-out sometimes too. And that’s ok!
I created this community to empower, encourage and uplift stay at home moms! I don’t ever want moms to feel like I did. And if they do feel that 1) know you are not alone 2) it’s ok to feel that way and 3) you have a friend in me. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
Mom-ing in general isn’t easy. The more we can support each other, the happier we will all be!