An Open Letter to a Struggling Stay at Home Mom

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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.

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How to Get Someone to Talk When Your Foot is on Fire

How to get your kid to talk when your foot is on fire.

Right now you are probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Let me explain, one of my favorite movies is Dumb and Dumber. When my husband and I first got married we didn’t have internet or many DVDs besides Dumb and Dumber so because I need noise to sleep at night we had Dumb and Dumber playing every night when we went to bed. It became our bedtime ritual and to this day we will constantly quote it especially saying “samsonite” when someone is way off. This gets me to my point, if you’ve seen this movie you probably remember the scene where Harry is trying to get the number of the female skier at the gas station. He tries to light her cigarette and because he had just spilled gas all over his legs he starts his leg on fire. He is anxiously awaiting her phone number and finally just blurts out “For gods sake just give me the damn number.” A lot of times this is exactly what it’s like to have a child try to explain something to you. You want to hear what they are saying but you need them to pick up the pace because you have shit to do.

When your child first starts talking and using words you are engrossed in everything they are are saying. This is the first time you get to hear their thoughts and they can finally start to tell you what they want and need. This is a great time to be a parent and sometimes it’s like learning a new language.

Most likely one day your child will come to you while you are doing something you need to get done. They will be excited to share and you are happy to hear it, if they could just get the words out and give you the damn number. Many children and even adults struggle with getting words out and getting to their point and this is why many times it takes them ten minutes to recount something that happened in less than thirty seconds. Your instincts may be to tell the kid to hurry and tell you or say “what are you trying to say.” Here is where I have some advice as someone who struggles getting speech out almost all the time.

1. Telling them to hurry up will take even longer than just letting them talk. Our brains are working faster than our speech and the words aren’t coming to our lips. Frankly it will just frustrate everyone involved and take away from what exciting thing is needed to be said. Instead ask them to slow down and reassure them that you want to hear it.

2. I know you need to get what you are doing done. A lot of times my son comes down when I’m in the middle of cooking something that I really need to keep an eye on. It is totally ok for you to say, “I need to finish this quick and then I want to hear.” It will give them time to get the words together and make the story so much easier to listen to. It’s better to give them your undivided attention in a few minutes instead of focusing on something else while half listening and saying “uh huh, yeah.”

Do your best to be patient (I know it’s hard). I know your foot is on fire and it’s taking so long for the child to just tell you that they had quesadillas at lunch or that their favorite tv character is this or that. Do your best to keep your words from putting them down. Your foot is not on fire and they need to learn boundaries when they are interrupting you and you need to be able to understand what they are saying when you both are ready. The words will be found and the story will be told, even if you don’t care about the character’s every move.