I’ve often wondered why motherhood didn’t resonate with me like it did others.
I love this still relatively new role but always felt like there might be something I’m doing wrong. There seemed to be a small piece missing.
Around nine months into being a mama, I became more confident in my own identity as a mother and, no surprise, it looks different. It’s ok if I’m grossed out by diaper changes (still am) and refuse to drink after my child. It’s ok if I don’t enjoy playing with my child all of the time and need time away. I will only go to children activities as a means to socialize with adults. And I am terrible at coming up with activities for my toddler despite being an art teacher.
In all that, I love turning on the music and dancing with Ruby. I could take her on a 3 mile walk and enjoy every minute. I can let her make a mess with the art supplies on the dining room table without it bothering me. I love to sing to her and read her books, or just read quietly next to her if that’s what she’s into these days.
I don’t enjoy all of motherhood, but I’ve chosen to focus on the things I do like and run with them.
The thing I realized this year is that it’s not actually being a mama I can’t quite figure out. I’m finding that’s the easier part.
What I struggle with the most is staying at home and doing this whole mama thing. There are so many more responsibilities that come with being the parent that manages the household. While Jordan still does most of what he did before, my role in household duties shifted. And while being at home and having another being in the home, it added to be more than I was prepared for.
Not only is it the requirements of staying home, it’s also feeling a little trapped. Even though I loved teaching, I know it doesn’t make sense for me to do that right now and I’m more than happy to be with Ruby. But, I’m an extrovert and I crave conversation and being around other people.
There was a point this year where I was feeling extra run down and tired with Jordan working long hours on top of not feeling well. Even with Ruby becoming more independent and a little easier, in general, to care for, I hit a little breaking point. The mess and clutter kept piling up and it started to feel like an insurmountable task. When it would get to a point where the house was clean, we’d head out of town and bring home a weeks worth of laundry. I remember feeling like I couldn’t do anything else, but do laundry, take care of Ruby, or clean the house even though I had no clue where to start.
Something about this rough patch helped me to figure out that I’m not that into this gig. And that’s ok. But, I needed to get it figured out.
Finding out that I was pregnant also prompted me in this direction of looking for the joy in being home.
First, I had to realize that most of this was circumstance and wasn’t entirely my fault. I’m not a failure.
Second, I did what I normally do when I need to deep clean my house, we hosted a party.
Third, Starting fresh, I started to dig deep into figuring out how to enjoy these simple days at home.
I’m finding my rhythm in this role, mostly because I have to, but because I want to enjoy a Thursday morning at home just as much as I enjoy a day traveling. There are many things I changed to help with this, but the biggest change was a mind shift. Being mindful in how I go about my day and choosing to be grateful and find joy in my circumstance was freeing.
It’s hard to find joy in things like loading the dishwasher, washing dishes, laundry, changing diapers, and sweeping the floor for the millionth time. I don’t care about these things, I don’t enjoy doing them, and there are other things I’d rather be doing.
I’m grateful that even though staying at home means more of those tasks, it also means more time with this ball of fun. And the freedom to spend time with other mama friends during the day, or to go to the pool when it’s hot, or to blog during naptime.
Lately, I’ve noticed that Ruby helps out a lot more with the household chores. Without fully meaning to, I make sure to involve her and have her help me. I hope to provide her even more freedom in accomplishing chores around the house when the baby comes this fall. Maybe she will start picking up her toys without my assistance??
Sometimes her helping looks like this. I could choose to dwell on the fact that while she did unload and put away the silverware from the dishwasher, she provided twice the work for me to sort and organize. Instead, I just shut the drawer and thanked her for her helping me with the task I told her to do. Maybe next time I’ll take the time to teach her to sort the forks and spoons, but today we need to get outside before it gets too hot.
Reward for a job well done: a squirt of lotion. This girl loves her lotion.
Besides being mindful about how I view my time at home with my little toddler, I’ve slowly have been changing how I do this gig. I’m still sorting this all out and mastering my craft if you will, which I hope is “mastered” in time for two. (ha.)
One thing that’s stayed consistent is my aim to make things easier and simpler when I can. One of my all-time favorites is using Grove Collaborative. I’ve been using them for about 3 years now and just started partnering with them this year. They help me to afford good, quality products that I love.
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I hope to keep this conversation going and would love to hear how you find joy in being a stay at home mama. Did you find it easier than me? or did it also take you a while? I can’t say that I’m fully there, but I’m definitely more joyful and actually not minding the weight of all the household tasks.
Life has also gotten a little easier lately. We’re done with our big traveling, for now, Jordan finished his tougher rotations, and I’m feeling better.
I guess in this quieter time I’m really focusing on figuring out this whole SAHM thing. Seeking to fine tune our rhythms in a way that creates a little more peace for our day. I’m not a routine person, but another thing I’m learning is that I need to have a little structure to function well. I’m just absolutely terrible at creating it.
I hope that this encourages you too, mama. Whether you’re in a place of rocking it (keep it up! and share your tips!) or maybe you’re in the earlier days and feeling the heavy weight like I once was (and some days still do), know that it’s worth the hard work. Our days can feel long and tedious, and sometimes boring, but it’s good, necessary, and fruitful work.
I hope to talk more about the rhythyms we’re creating for our days. In the meantime, I’m interested in your thoughts of being a stay at home mom. How do you make it work?