To the mama who’s one crumb away from a meltdown…
I feel you, Sister. I mean, really really feel you.
Most days, I don’t bat an eye when things spill. (And believe me, with two toddlers running amok, there are plenty of spills happening.) I usually will just chirp out, “That’s okay! Let’s clean it up!” and go on with our day.
But some days, I’m just TIRED. I mean, really, really tired. Not just physically (which, let’s face it, I always seem to be)…but MENTALLY. And yes, that one last cup of milk that got knocked over…or that one bag of chips that got smashed into the couch…that’s enough to send me into full meltdown mode. Or cry. Or both.
Being a stay at home mama is hard.
Heck, all of it is hard! Parenting (mom or dad), working, working from home, being a full time mommy…it’s all hard.
I can only speak to my own personal experiences of being a stay at home mom. And I’m here to say: it’s hard. Why?
Why, oh why, does there always seem to be guilt involved?! But there is. At least for me. Am I spending enough time with the littles? After all, I’M HOME WITH THEM ALL DAY. Are we doing enough learning and fun stuff or is the TV on too much? Are we getting enough exercise even though we haven’t stepped foot into the tundra in weeks? Am I spending too much time on household chores and not enough with them? Do we do enough playdates?
Wash, rinse, repeat. Except it’s clean up (toys), clean up (bodies), clean up (dishes), clean up (laundry), repeat, repeat, repeat. You could pick up the same set of toys 20 times a day but no one would ever know it by looking! (Though it would be obvious if you didn’t pick it up that ONE time, LOL.) All of these tasks are vital to the well-oiled machine that is your home…but they can become monotonous, especially if you are the main person doing them day in and day out!
Being a SAHM can be so lonely! Your primary sources of conversation are your littles and by the time you get a chance to chat with an adult, you’re either too tired or it’s too complicated trying to organize something. I must admit, I’m in my head a lot during the day (the mental load), thinking about what next, what next, what next. What are we having for dinner? I should start that now. Did I thaw the chicken? When is Nugget’s doctor’s appointment? Did we pay her bill? Do we need diapers already?
Even though I am lucky enough to have a hubby who is in this with me, it’s still a pretty lonely life at times. Social media has its good and bad side; the good allows me to “connect” with people from all over the world. The bad…there can be drama, judgment, unwanted advice, the tendency to compare ourselves…You have to use social media to your advantage and leave the rest.
I wouldn’t trade this life for the world, please don’t get me wrong. I’ve wanted to be a mama for as long as I can remember. I’m forever grateful that I have two beautiful daughters and am blessed to be able to experience motherhood.
Like, truly exhausted.
I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and my kiddos won’t always be this young. But the sleep deprivation has wreaked havoc on my personality, my patience, and my ability to regulate my emotions. I get short tempered, quick to anger, annoyed easily. I react in ways I am not proud of. Which brings me back to my first point:
There’s more guilt.
Why did I react the way I did? Why can’t I catch myself? It’s not cool having a meltdown in front of the kiddos. I hope I’m not messing them up for life. I don’t want them to grow up in a house full of yelling and angst. I’m currently struggling with nursing aversion as well and sometimes my anxiety just skyrockets.
Being a stay at home mama is also amazing.
I’m here for the moments. The boo boos and the giggles and the messes and the fun. Hubs tells me everyday how much he misses us when he’s away at work. On a great day, he may have 5 hours with them when he gets home. On those tough long days, he may miss them entirely. On average, he gets 3-4 hours. I am here 24/7. I have the most precious gift of all: their time.
I set the tone.
At this point in time, I’m the captain of the ship. What will we do today? Where will we go? With whom shall we interact? What shall we eat?
I can choose to make the day magical or I can let my own ish get the best of me.
Am I saying it’s all going to be rainbows and roses? Of course not. It’s still hard. We are deep in the thick of “NO” and climbing furniture and “mine” and learning how to share at our house.
But I can be more mindful of my mood and what tone I set for the day. And if I need to regroup or reset, I need to BE AWARE of that need and step away for a moment to do that.
I’ve always wanted to do this.
As a teacher, I cared for and taught hundreds of children. I always wanted to be able to stay home and raise my own, if I was lucky enough to have them. And here we are, years later.
Living my dream doesn’t make it any easier, however. Undoubtedly, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done!
But I’ve always imagined this and for that, I am grateful for this opportunity.
What is my point in all of this?
We are all human.
And humans make mistakes. It’s ok to give ourselves grace and forgiveness, lick our wounds, and start over the next day.
Yesterday, during one of my less than proud moments, Nugget told me, “Mommy, you’re not kind.” That shattered my heart. But she wasn’t wrong. My reaction wasn’t kind and she noticed. So, in typical Annie fashion, I am replaying the day’s events through my head over and over and cried a little and did a ton of self reflection.
Which leads me here.
When we know better, we do better. I think it’s safe to say we are ALL trying our best. But there’s always room for improvement. And if we notice something about our own behavior that we don’t like, it’s up to US to change it.
Sometimes, the student becomes the teacher. In my case, my 2 year old was mine.
I also did something FOR MYSELF today. I reached out and signed up for therapy. I’m so excited!
THAT is the self care I need right now. Not a cup of coffee or a bubble bath (although both are divine and I enjoy them immensely). I’m so proud of myself for finally taking that first step!
To the mama who’s one crumb away from a meltdown…
It’s ok. We’ve got this. Sometimes things seem different in the light of day or after a good night’s sleep (ha!) or after a good cry. And if not…that’s ok too. Have your meltdown. Then try to move forward. There’s help out there. No one and nothing can ever prepare us for this amazing thing called motherhood. There’s no manual and there’s no one right way of doing things. It’s hard and it’s beautiful and it’s exhausting all at once.
Know that you’re not alone.
Like this post? Please share. Want to hear more of my late night musings? Check out Am I Enough as a Mother?
Wishing you peace,