By Brittany Rust
No one ever told me being a stay at home mom could be filled with lonely isolation, make you feel further than ever from a dear dream, or be insanely harder than actually going to work. Three months into this temporary stay at home gig and my view of this kind of mom life has completely shifted. For example, there once was a time I loathed grocery shopping but now I can't wait for our Monday trip to King Soopers. Or the highlight of my week is a trip to Target (with a Starbucks in hand!). Am I right?!
Here's the honest truth: being a stay at home mom is the hardest job in the world. I worked the first year of Roman's life and although it was hard in that our family never had a day off together and I’d miss my boy, being home is actually much harder than being a working mom. True story. If I'm being honest, work gave me space to use my gifts and have adult conversations about intellectual things. I would come home and have all this energy to give my son.
Nowadays, I'm only ever with Roman and as much as I love my little man (more than the world, in fact!), I feel emotions I honestly struggle to articulate because guilt overwhelms me. If I love Roman, I shouldn't struggle with these ideas, should I? Wrong! You likely know what I'm talking about, mama, don't you? Ugly feelings, aching cries, and longing for the outside world are all real battles you never experienced until you became a stay at home mom.
Truth is, you likely had a job, great adult conversation with friends, lots of hustle and bustle, and contributed financially to your family. But then everything you knew changed when you chose to be home with your kiddo(s). The healthy stretch and challenge of work, gone. Those intellectual conversations, far and few between. The busyness of life on the outside now replaced with diaper changes, laundry, spit up, car pools, and loneliness. And financial provision is now replaced with financial strain.
Feelings of loneliness have settled in. Maybe lack of purpose to contribute to this world or pursue a dream has you questioning your worth. You've lost your identity and sense of self. You're tired and exhausted in every way possible. You cry because it's hard and nobody sees just how hard it is for you. You're around your kid(s) 24/7 and without breaks or outlets, you get frustrated with them and snap negatively towards their little self, which then brings an immense amount of guilt. You wonder if you're cut out to be a good mom. You're sure you'll fail your kids.
Nobody talks about these thoughts and feelings stay at home moms experience. Nobody told me and these past three months have been one rude awakening! But when I feel these things I then feel guilty. I think, "If I truly loved Roman, I wouldn't think such thoughts. I'm a horrible mom--Roman deserves better."
Those are the thoughts the enemy leaves me with on a regular basis.
But if there is one thing I've learned since becoming a mom it's that a mom is never alone in her thoughts and feelings. Many of us have similar emotions but we're afraid to talk about it. Moms want to appear as if they have it all together and so sacrifice vulnerability and connectivity with others for the image of super mom. But fact: none of us have it all together. And none of us are perfect. So instead of the act, drop it for community. For a full embrace of who you are in the image of Christ and the season you are in.
Here's what I've learned so far:
- Find a mom community. Find like-minded moms and do life together regularly. Stat! It's good for you and your kiddo(s). Your kids get to socialize with other kids and that's wonderful. It gets you out of the house, which is really nice. But more than anything, it gives you people to talk to. To share struggles with. It gives you a tribe of women who will encourage you, strengthen you, and show up for you when things are tough. Please, do this immediately! Or you'll go crazy, true story.
- Embrace vulnerability. Nothing will make you feel more alone than choosing to do life on your own. You shouldn't keep what you're going through bottled up--it's not healthy. Please don't do it, mama! I know, from personal experience how harmful it can be. Open up to your husband and allow the raw honesty to strengthen your marriage in new ways. Be vulnerable with your mom friends and you'd be amazed you're not the only one. In fact, they may have insight into how to navigate the journey and can be there to cheer you on to victory over the trial.
- Find your worth in Him, instead of in the world. The enemy will no doubt use your struggles as a stay at home mom to get into your head. To whisper lies about your value and worth. To make you question if you're a good mom. It may be hard but you must find a way to overcome his attacks with what God says about you in His word. Find your way to seeing yourself through His eyes. Get into the word, find Scripture (promises) regarding areas you are struggling in, and use those verses as a defense against the enemy.
Mama, I know it's not always easy being a stay at home. I know there is a struggle. You are not alone in the wrestle with emotions and thoughts. You are not crazy. And you can do this!