In a state of everlasting exhaustion, operating on little to no sleep, here I am using a tiny toddler fork to shovel the smallest amount of pasta off my son’s leftover lunch plate into my mouth. With no time or energy to prepare something for myself, I pick from his mangled abandoned rations.
I’ve been known to sometimes plan and decide his menu based on my own selfish desires, knowing there will be scraps to pick over. Even if I did muster up the strength to evaluate ingredients on hand and then actually endure the activity of making my own meal, the end result would be me hiding in a corner trying to fend off my children from stealing food of my plate.
What have I become? I’ve become a stay-at-home mom, that’s what.
When I was younger, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response would vary depending on my age, the day of the week or even my attitude at the time. Throughout the years, I would entertain the idea of performing different professional roles, but never did I contemplate being a SAHM.
After college graduation, I entered the rat race starting my career in marketing and loved every second of it. I loved my profession and specialty. I loved the industry I worked in. Even more so, I loved the people I worked with.
Everything was great, then it happened. I had kids. With my first, it wasn’t so jarring. I returned to the workplace after my 12-week sentence at home with my little one. We would soon fall into the routine of daycare drop-offs and pick-ups. I had the freedom of performing duties outside of the home for a purpose other than keeping my offspring alive. The days of sweat pants and walking around topless lactating everywhere were over. I was able to dress in business clothes and look like a functioning human being. Better yet, I was able to converse with adults over issues not related to the color of poop and the different approaches to sleep training.
16 months later, it happened again. After giving birth to my second son, my plan was to return to work after my three-month stint. Well, that was the plan. That dream soon ended when my husband accepted an out-of-state position and thus relocating our family. I still had the fantasy of returning to the corporate world once we became settled. Easy enough, right?
Fast forward a couple of years and the present is much different from what I expected. In two short years, we’ve relocated to two different states and are currently expecting our third child. Along the ride, I’ve applied and interviewed for countless jobs, but nothing stuck.
Of course, I enjoyed being home with my children and the opportunity to spend precious time with them. It just wasn’t as natural for me as others. When I think of a SAHM, I envision those parents who love – and I mean LOVE – it. They can’t help but to scream it to the world, telling everyone and anyone. Pictures and their newsfeed tell a story of how happy their lives are with their perfect children. They fantasize over all-day arts and craft sessions followed by playgroup activities. They were a pro before popping out their first kid as if to be born with a specific gene or this innate trait. Not me.
I envy those parents and how effortless they make the job appear to be. I, on the other hand, feel as though I am always struggling through it. I’ve never tried so hard at something with no clue as to what I was doing. Some days it feels like I am drowning barely keeping my head above water. No matter how much I research topics related to ‘how to’ parenting, I can’t figure it out.
What the hell do I do with these tiny human beings all day? You’re telling me, I am responsible for their survival? If that’s not scary enough, I hold the responsibility of making sure they are hitting important milestones. I am the primary person to show them acceptable behavior and actions? Woah…Woah…Woah…officially overwhelmed. I could put together a creative brief in my sleep, but I feel severely inadequate to raise my children without a guide or a manual. I didn’t go to college to be a SAHM or take classes to prepare me for this. Crap.
I never pictured this career path. Actually it’s exactly the opposite of what I viewed my future to be, making it more of an internal conflict. I felt as if I was placed in a career field completely unfamiliar to me and told to figure it out. You wouldn’t put me in an operating room and tell me to perform surgery, would you? That sounds extreme, but that is exactly how I felt.
Regardless if I was ready to take on this role, it happened. For the past two years, I’ve had the privilege of watching my two boys develop and grow into these amazing individuals with unique personalities. While my husband spends his day at work, I spend my day with my children. We both work, although one is more in the traditional sense. I have the pleasure of helping our sons learn and explore the world. That’s not to say there aren’t the drawbacks of meltdowns and tantrums, but overall it’s been such a learning experience for all of us.
I’ve learned so much about myself, about the mom and wife I want to be, and what it is to be a good parent. My children have taught me as much about myself as I have taught them about life and the world surrounding them. Although this isn’t exactly what I had planned for my future, I’m embracing it to the fullest. I do believe God has set me in this path and has a greater purpose for me other than I what initially pictured. Life is full of surprises, panning out differently than you might otherwise expect.
I may not know what’s to come or where I’ll be in the future, but I’m open to all options and disregarding whatever pretense I had. Where will I be in one year? five years? Who knows. Maybe I’ll return to the corporate world. Maybe I’ll be continuing my adventures of fulfilling my role as a SAHM. Maybe something completely different, I hadn’t even thought of. The point is, I don’t need to know. All that’s important is embracing the now and enjoying this precious time with my children that is passing by all too quickly. I am truly blessed and wouldn’t change a thing for the world.