Hello, Mamma. So, for the last two months, while my company’s manufacturing arm got their part of our project together, I have had a chance to get a taste of what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom. Sure, I did some studying, did some background research for a colleague’s project, tidied my office, but nothing like the usual madness of my working life. From November 1 till this last Monday, I was pretty much on hold. And I got to spend a great deal of that time at home.
Heaven, you think?
I won’t lie, it was, especially at first, pretty freaking awesome. But, after a while, really, you probably won’t believe this, I missed my work. I missed the urgency of my days. I missed parsing my calendar in fifteen minute increments. I missed jogging in parking lots because I didn’t have time to walk. I missed the kids yelling “MOM!!” when I walked in the door at night. I missed my life.
At first, I loved cooking every meal for my family. Loved the laundry and the dishes and all the mom-ing of it. Loved being home when they got home from school every day. LOVED IT. Went to bed thanking God for this amazing chance to be with my family. But after about six weeks of everyone assuming that because-mom’s-work-is-on-hold-she’ll-have-time-to-do-the-dishes, it lost some of it’s sparkle. When they stopped saying thank you, it became less of a gift to my family and more of a chore.
I feel guilty saying it, but I got bored.
And I began to question my own competence and value. Seriously, not two months away from my 100mph pressure-cooker of a job, and I’m feeling like a some kind of a less-than human. Like my intelligence has somehow evaporated.
It has been a revelation to me. I now have vastly more respect for SAHMs and less jealousy than I did before. How they get up every single day and take care of everything and everybody without anyone ever buying them a lunch or sending them an email telling them that their presentation was rock star amazing… that is strength, make no mistake, serious strength and sacrifice.
When our kids were babes, my husband stayed home. Six and a half years he did the dishes and the laundry and the car seats, and I didn’t appreciate him enough. And I was resentful and jealous too often. At the time, my mom was fond of saying that, in her opinion, the right partner was staying home. I was SO angry at her for thinking it and more so for saying it out loud, but mom, you were right. And husband, THANK YOU.
Lessons from my time at home:
Nobody gets a perfect life.
Nobody’s job is easy.
There was stuff I was missing, and I do mourn that.
I can still have a great relationship with my kids, because there is so much more to being a good parent than just being there physically.
I hate doing dishes.
I like working out in the world.
I love being a mom.
It’s been a weird two months, but a beautiful gift in so very many ways.
Don’t regret your life, Mamma. There is no perfect life. Know what you value, protect that. Know what you can and cannot do. Don’t give your entire life to your work, but, if I can provide you with a little comfort, know that it wouldn’t be perfect if you were staying home either.