My dad dropped by the other day. We were in the living room, the little one playing on the floor, me on the floor playing with him and my dad on the sofa. After a few minutes of observing us, my dad asked, “sometimes, do you find this all a bit boring?” I instantly felt a little embarrassed, did my facial expression or tone of voice suggest that?!
I hesitated slightly when responding. I felt like I should say, “no way, I love it!” but I then I just said what my face was saying for me, “sometimes it can be a bit, numbing”. And that’s the honest truth. I am so thankful that our family is in a position whereby I can stay at home to raise the children and my husband’s job allows us to cover the bills. Because of this ‘luxury’, I feel like I’m being totally ungrateful if I don’t sing and dance about how “amazing” it is being with your babies full time. But the truth is, it’s much harder than I ever anticipated it would be. I wasn’t totally naive in my thinking, foolishly expecting it to be some sort of parenting paradisiacal endeavor, but the vastness of being a full-time stay at home mum is more emotionally complex than I expected.
I don’t miss the anxiety and pressure of my previous full time working life, but at times I do feel like I’ve lost a bit of my personal identity. I can’t help but sometimes feel like I’m missing out on the ‘real world’. It’s absurd because I’m implying that I’m currently not in the ‘real world’ because I’m not working, as if having a job defines my value. I was part of the real ‘full time working and mum to a small child’ world a few years ago and I was exhausted, anxious and really really tired. When I try and analyse my feelings, I think the thing I miss is having adult interaction requiring me to use my brain in a different way which isn’t centred on my children. I suppose that’s one of the reasons why I have started this blog. As an outlet for my thoughts…
As my little one gets older and more challenging in his behaviour, I think I’m feeling it more. He is very stubborn, like a next level stubborn that I never anticipated considering his super chilled disposition. Battling multiple tantrums throughout the day because I won’t give him an entire jar of raisins, or I won’t let him pour cupfuls of water on the floor repeatedly, can be wearing. But then he does stuff like take the play food out and starts to baby his cuddly toys and feed them some lunch, at which point I want to squish his face and smother him with kisses repeatedly. Arrrgggh, motherhood has such extremes in such close proximity.
On the whole, I have a really good set up. I have a wonderful network of friends who I see in the week so I do get to have adult interactions. My parents are close by and are very hands on with the children so I can call on them if I need a moment. My husband is aware of what it’s like to be with the kids, he has had his own stints off work being a full-time Dad so he gets the everyday challenges. But he did it for periods of time always knowing he was returning back to a job. I suppose it’s that bigger picture that I sometimes get nervous about, will the ‘real world’ accept me when I am ready to return to work? Having always worked since I was 16 years old, not working has been more of a mental adjustment than I thought. Oh gosh, going back to work is another head-fuck that I need to leave for another day!
I’ve come to realise and accept, that the odd day or odd week can feel long, lonely and a bit boring, other days can whizz by and I genuinely feel warm and fuzzy inside from the jokes and fun I’ve had with the boys. And I suppose that’s it isn’t it, I couldn’t always control how I felt about work and I can’t always control how I feel about being a stay at home mum. I’m not really into facades so I’m okay with admitting that occasionally, I feel a little lost and like I’ve lost a tiny part of me. I don’t need to caveat that with a “but I’ve gained a bond that will last forever with my children blah blah blah” because that’s just fucking annoying rhetoric that people feel forced to say in case they seem ungrateful for being able to have kids. So, in truth, yes being at home with the children can be a bit boring at times. But being at work was boring at times, so it’s swings and roundabouts I suppose.
The process of writing this post has had such a lifting effect on me. I feel so much better for writing and sharing my thoughts and that tinge of guilt I felt has really lifted. (Happy face closed eyes emoji)
Does any of this even make sense? Does anything I have said resonate with you?