An Open Letter to Friend who is Struggling as A Stay at Home Mom
I see you. I know you’re doing your best. I see you giving everything to your children everyday and not gettitng much in return. You have struggled for a while and most days you go unnoticed unless one of your children needs something from you. You smile when you want to cry and put on a brave face. Somedays you want to just runaway or maybe just go to the bathroom by yourself. It’s been months since someone called you anything besides “mom,” “mommy,” or “mama.” I get it, I understand, I’m here for you.
You’re struggling to put together meal plans, that your children might actually eat. You wonder how other moms do it and if you’re just a shitty cook or your kids are just picky. When you cook the meal you planned you get told that “it just doesn’t taste so good.” Grocery shopping is no longer easy. You can’t just zip in and out and there is barely enough room for groceries with the infant car seat sitting in the cart. You get healthy food that you know will go uneaten because you’re children are picky. You always forget something and it’s never worth it to carry the baby back into the store just to get it. You aren’t doing anything wrong.
You live for the rare cuddles even though they only come because the child is sick and the cuddles usually include a child coughing in your face. When you’re sick, you power through because if you don’t, who will?
You constantly compare yourself to other moms and wonder if you just suck at this whole “mom” situation. Everyone you know seems more put together while you’re wearing sweatpants, a messy bun, and a shirt that has probably been pooped and/or puked on at some point since you’ve gotten it. You wonder how they do it. You wonder where they find time to put makeup on or do their hair or take a shower. Being a stay at home mom hasn’t come easy for you, and that’s ok. You’re fighting to break the sterotype that stay at home moms just sit at home and eat bon bons. It’s hard not to cringe when people say “being a stay at home mom must be so rewarding,” it can be but it’s also hard not to hear the condescending tone in their voice.
Your patience is running thin and you are starting to realize that sometimes you are the mom you never wanted to be. You yell even though you promised yourself you wouldn’t. You no longer sit down and play with them like you used to because you are endlessly searching for some alone time. You spend less time teaching them and spend more time cleaning. You are always struggling to pick your battles and letting more and more slide so you don’t have to fight. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect.
When your children come home from school you look in the folder and sign whatever permission slip or behavior chart you have to. You take out the stack of 30 pages of your child’s hard work and weed through it trying to decide if you keep or toss. Only to find that your child is doing some fundraiser that requires you to buy some tin foil or ask your family to buy some cookie dough that will just sit in their freezer forever because they don’t cook and no one is supposed to just eat cookie dough raw anymore.
I know there are nights you barely sleep. You lay down and start worrying about the future or something just keeps you up. When one of your children starts crying you realize the something that was keeping you up was your “mommy sense” because somehow you knew you would need to be awake for a child. You comfort when there are bad dreams and sing lullabies to get the kiddo back to sleep. You may rock them and fall asleep only to be woken up by the baby in the other room who is crying for a feeding.
Bedtimes bring you a hope for some time to relax but you know you will have to win the bedtime war first. One child isn’t tucked in properly, another cant find their lovey. You read one or one-hundred bedtime stories and you hope they will just stay in their rooms because you need to zone out for a while. Spoiler alert… they don’t and now you have to get water and tuck them in again and say I love yous and maybe just one more story. You’re the one having to do this because “daddy does it wrong.”
Sometimes you wonder if being a mom is your only God given purpose. You want to help your family and give them everything they want and need, you want to provide more for them. You want to fill the void that working outside the home once filled. You sling makeup, clothes, do network marketing, or make T-shirt’s to try and fill the void and feel like a more productive member of your family. Only to find out it doesn’t fill the void and to it just leads to people judging you for doing something for yourself. Those people don’t realize your intentions were not just for yourself but for your family as well.
Most days you feel like you’re pouring from an empty cup. You have given more than you’ve gotten for so long that you don’t have any more to give. You’ve cleaned, you’ve cooked, you’ve changed diapers, and kept everyone alive for another day. Even though you’ve done those things you know you didn’t make any lasting memories, you wish you would’ve played with your children more. You worry you are failing at being a mom and that thought takes even more from that empty cup. I’m here to tell you that I know you are doing your best. I know how hard it is to have no more energy. The best thing you can do is try to make tomorrow better, stop comparing yourself to others, and stop judging yourself. You are doing an amazing thing, you are doing something for your children no one else can. You are wonderful and beautiful even though your hair hasn’t been brushed in days. Just realize that doing your best and even if your children and partner may not see it, the other moms do. We see you, we understand you, and love you for everything you are and are not.