I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom for two and a half months. Probably, I should wax poetic about how rewarding, how blissful it is to spend days running through fields of wild flowers with my joyful, carefree, clean, and perfectly well-behaved daughter. But, waxing poetic about motherhood would, for me, be one big fat lie.
I actually don’t find it difficult at all to openly say that I am not enjoying stay-at-home motherhood. It has its moments, sure, but for the most part, I’m fairly certain that I would feel a lot better about my role in Isabel’s life if I were deeply involved in something else. She and I would both be happier if I loaded her up in the car in the morning and dropped her off at someone else’s house, or maybe a proper preschool, while I went off to spend my day not thinking about her at all.
I don’t feel particularly guilty about how I feel about my life as a stay-at-home mom. I know society tells me I should. But, I strongly believe there are people meant spend their life caring for children, and there are people who won’t find such a vocation fulfilling in any way at all. This is no different than the differences between someone who thrives in an environment of hard manual labour, versus someone who finds the greatest amount of happiness and sense of accomplishment behind a computer screen. So, I refuse to bow to society’s strong suggestion that I should be guilty for the way I feel about spending my days with my daughter.
Despite my conviction that a job outside our home would be a really good idea for me, and really, our whole family, I know that I’m not exactly in a place to go out and get one. At 28 weeks along, I can’t hide the new life I’m harbouring. Employers aren’t supposed to discriminate, but what hiring manager in their right mind would hire a woman who’s going to need a good chunk of time off in a mere three months?
So, here I am, trying to make the best of something that doesn’t come easily to me, with a toddler who has decided that two is a great age to practice a strong willed independence, especially when it comes to sleep, in a town I’m unfamiliar with, far from my support system of mom friends, in a house that does not yet feel like home. I don’t want to seem like I’m complaining, but I also want to be honest about where I’m at. I don’t want anyone to feel like my life is suddenly filled with Victorian glamour, brimming with nothing but the excitement of the possibilities of a new start in a new city. Things don’t feel nearly that bright.
I know I must regularly remind myself to stay positive and optimistic about all this. I know that the months ahead will teach me much – about Isabel, about my new city, about myself – and I plan to do my best to embrace that. I know this is an opportunity to spend time working on myself, developing new habits, fostering skills, embracing the work of motherhood as important and valuable in our family and in society. I am certain that, while it may not come naturally to me, I can find some sort of fulfillment here in this season, even while I look forward to the next.
Together, Isabel and I, and eventually Baby Two will get through this time in our life and come out the other side, all of us a little more grown up, and the better for it.