March 22, 2012

still struggling

Julia is nearly 8 months old and I’m still struggling with my new position as a stay-at-home-mom.

This post is not intended to be “woe is me.” I know there are plenty of working moms who juggle so much more than me, and if I’m being honest, I really don’t know how they do it. I want to hug each and every one of them and watch their kids for a few hours so they can catch their breath.

Some days I wish I was working, even just part time. Does that make me a bad mom? I instantly feel guilty as soon as I have a fleeting thought of being somewhere far away in a classroom full of kids.

I think it’s my own personal double edge sword. I wouldn’t trade these days with Julia for anything, but a tiny (or maybe not so tiny) part of me wishes I was working. It’s a vicious cycle that plays out in my head on a nearly daily basis.

I’m shocked that it’s lasted this long, but I guess I’m still in the adjustment phase. It’s hard to go from working outside the home and bringing in money (and having benefits) to working inside the home and not bringing in anything. In fact, I spend a lot more money now that I’m home and not making an income. Funny how that works.

I’ve told the Duke on multiple occasions that I feel like I don’t contribute to the family. I know without a doubt that this is not true, but for some reason it feels like the most helpful contribution I could make would be monetary. Again, I know this isn’t true.

The thing is, I’m happy. I’m over the moon, jump for joy, silly smile on my face happy. I absolutely love spending my days rolling on the floor with Julia or lazily strolling around our neighborhood with her. We have the best time together (except on the days she refuses to nap…). ¬†Some days I look around and pinch myself because I can’t believe how blessed I am. I’m so lucky to be home with Julia and witnessing her every milestone. I promise I don’t take my position for granted.

I guess my head and heart are just at odds these days. I think what I’m really longing for is meaningful interaction with someone who isn’t eight months old.

Other SAHMs, did you deal with this? Any advice for getting over this mental battle?

This post maybe a little more serious than most of my writing, but I try to be honest and real with you and I hope you appreciate that.

As always, thanks for reading and supporting me. I love y’all and would invite you all over for dinner if I could. :)
The Duchess

43 Comments

  1. Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    March 22, 2012 at 7:41 am — Reply

    Have you joined Mops yet? It stands for mothers of preschoolers but it’s for ALL moms of little ones (infant to age 5). I love my mops group & every woman there is so happy to be there!! Find Mops groups in your area at http://www.mops.org

    We meet 2x a month for speakers, crafts, food and getting to know each other. Too many perks to list. You’ll love it!

    • Duchess of Fork

      March 22, 2012 at 8:18 am — Reply

      Thanks for the suggestion, Denise! I guess I thought MOPS was just for moms of older babies. I’m going to look into our local chapter.

      • Aggie

        March 22, 2012 at 11:17 am — Reply

        I always wished I joined MOPS, but I never did. I had a really hard time meeting moms, moms that I could hang with that is.

  2. Jackie

    March 22, 2012 at 8:31 am — Reply

    Molly,
    Your post is me every single day! I have been dealing with this internal battle for the past 3 years! I have come to the decision that the grass is alway greener. I would be feeling guilty that I wasn’t home if I was working. I have also tried the whole ‘working from home’ thing. That stressed me out even more. I have found that scheduling plenty of playdates and seeking out playgroups are the key to keeping me sane. I was able to find many great playgroups and new friends through meetup.com
    Thanks for being ‘real’!!

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm — Reply

      I think you hit the nail on the head, Jackie. The grass is always greener. I know if I was working I’d be wishing I was home! Thanks for reading! :)

  3. Blair Gwin

    March 22, 2012 at 8:44 am — Reply

    GREAT POST. I have to agree with the fact that I struggle also with the fact that I do not bring any income in. I love making my own money and providing fantastic benefits. I loved that while I was working and pregnant. It just made me feel strong. It’s very hard to switch the gears. I love it though. I love it more than anything. I always tell myself…There is plenty of time to work when the children are a bit more independent. You will never get this time back to stroll, go get yogurt, walk around aimlessly in Target and buy a cart full of toys that you did not need and not worry about what time you have to be at work, or if you have something else that you need to be doing…

    xoxo,
    Blair

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm — Reply

      Thanks, Blair. We need to get together with the babies! That will give us some adult time.

  4. Crystal

    March 22, 2012 at 8:46 am — Reply

    That’s the independent woman inside of you talking. Mine rarely shuts up. I have a very strong need to contribute financially and to always grow professionally, so I can imagine how these feelings weigh you down. But you will go back to work in time, and a few years or 5 is really not much in the big scheme of your family’s life or your life as a teacher. Keep reminding yourself that teaching will be there (and so will your fantastic teaching skills) :) , but this time with Julia will be gone before you know it.

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm — Reply

      You are so right, Crystal! I miss you so much and hope I get the pleasure of teaching with you again one day.

  5. Lena

    March 22, 2012 at 8:50 am — Reply

    Molly – I love your honesty in this post. I dealt with the same thing when I stayed home with AL for the first year. But now, that I’m working full-time, I have this constant, nagging feeling that I am not doing enough as a mother. I have an internal battle with myself most days, and I’m oftentimes jealous of stay-at-home moms. I think you just have to do what’s best for your family, and tell yourself that you’re doing the best you can every single day. You are such a wonderful mama, and I know you are absolutely treasuring every moment with sweet J. Don’t be so hard on yourself, although I know it’s easier said than done! I’ll be thinking about you, sweet friend! :)

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm — Reply

      Thanks, Lena. I think mental battles just come with being a mom. We always wonder if there’s more than we can do, even when we’re doing our very best. I’m so glad we’re “friends” and can talk about these issues! :)

  6. Kelly

    March 22, 2012 at 8:52 am — Reply

    This post is me 100%, I couldn’t have said it any better. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm — Reply

      You definitely aren’t, Kelly!

  7. Colleen C

    March 22, 2012 at 9:01 am — Reply

    I’m totally with you. I’m working part time but on my days at home I feel like I should be doing so much more … contributing, like you said. I’m happy to be out of the house three days a week, making money, interacting with people over the age of 7months, but I don’t feel the same way I felt before L was born. On days that I am home it’s an even more strange dynamic where I want to be accomplishing so many things, but taking care of a baby is a full time job – hence why we pay someone to do it 3 days a week! You are doing a great job and Julia is beautiful!

    (I also agree with a few of the comments regarding finding a moms group. I thankfully found one very very early on and we have been getting together on an almost weekly basis since the babies were just a few weeks old!)

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm — Reply

      Thanks, Colleen! Too bad we don’t live closer. I’d love to get the babes together and you and I could have adult time.

  8. angie

    March 22, 2012 at 9:14 am — Reply

    I have been a SAHM for almost 4 years now and I still struggle with this as well. I love that we are fortunate enough for me to stay home with the kids, but there are days that I wish I were out, interacting with other adults, working and helping provide more of an income.
    It’s always been a struggle…going shopping I always feel guilty and constantly return stuff (something my mom always did and I swore I would never do).

    Looking ahead, we have always been in agreement that I would go back to work when the kids were school age.

  9. Katherine

    March 22, 2012 at 9:21 am — Reply

    That can be such a strong internal battle. Don’t let those feelings make you feel like a bad mom! It makes you a good teacher. ;)
    Personally, I was sooo burned out when we were ready to have kids that when I have those “I miss the classroom . . . ” moments it only takes a few seconds for me to remember all the other stuff and be so.very.thankful. that I’m not dealing with it every day.
    But, I have friends who were not so burned out that express the very same sentiment as you. :) If it’s a feeling you just can’t get past – one thing to consider is seeing if Julia can have a Grandma play-date one day a week for a few hours so you could go volunteer at a nearby school. Might be just enough so you can “keep your feet wet” so to speak, and indulge your inner teacher for a bit. :)

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm — Reply

      Such a good idea, Katherine. I actually was volunteering last semester, but have fallen out of the habit. I need to get back to it. And you’re right. I definitely don’t miss the state tests and hovering parents. ;)

  10. Jenn

    March 22, 2012 at 9:37 am — Reply

    I know I don’t have babies yet, but my furbabies keep me busy! I too struggled a bit at first; a whole house is a lot different to deal with than a classroom, for sure! I think a lot of it, if not all of it, is mental attitude. I continue to listen to positive self-help audios and I read the book Happy Housewives and refer back to it if my inner “independent woman” starts getting cranky. She really hammers you and is blunt about how this is our choice to stay home. No one is forcing us. It’s about focusing on what we have and not thinking about all the coulda shouldas. Life is all about choice and it sounds easy to just say, Ok I’ll be happy. But I know that it takes work! I know staying home isn’t for everyone, but if you just need a little tlc in the staying positive/optimism and can enjoy it, then it’s for you. I think it’s totally normal to have all your feelings; it’s hard being a housewife in 2012, but I think it’s kind of fun. It takes a lot of self-discipline, that is for sure! I think blogging always helps. Don’t be so hard on yourself :)

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm — Reply

      Thank you, Jenn! You are so right- it is my choice. I could put Julia in daycare tomorrow and go to work, but I don’t want to. I appreciate you bringing that point up to me. I need to check out the Happy Housewives. Thanks for reading! :)

  11. Stacey

    March 22, 2012 at 10:57 am — Reply

    Hi Molly! First off, love your blog! YES! I feel the same way…I went from having a hectic work schedule to SAHM and it has been difficult. I think it is the grass is always greener on the other side mentality. I feel guilty when I buy a new dress or something that is not necessary because like you said, I feel like I don’t contribute financially. Being a Mom is HARD and we are contributing in the most important way..raising smart, sweet, self assured little girls! With Scarlett being premature I’m just now at 4 months getting comfortable going out and about with her. I would love to get together sometime with the little ones, if you’d like. :) .

    -stacey

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm — Reply

      I would LOVE to get together, Stacey! It’s been far too long. Plus I want to see sweet Scarlett. Hope all is well!

  12. JCS

    March 22, 2012 at 11:07 am — Reply

    Wow! Are you in my head? I feel the exact same way (my daughter is 6.5 months). I have definitely started to feel better now that I am working out regularly. We are also branching out and going to the babies story time at the library (its free!) and a music class each week. I also have started visiting an amazing 93 year old woman each week thru the ElderFriends program. Just having more of a schedule and being around other people has definitely helped!

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm — Reply

      Such good ideas! Our local library does story time twice a week and some of my mom friends go. I should definitely start taking Julia.

  13. Aggie

    March 22, 2012 at 11:26 am — Reply

    I have always felt that way and have until this past year when I embraced my blog as my “job”. It’s a hard adjustment, it really is. It does get easier, especially once you find other moms to connect with, which was the hardest for me. Take Julia to the parks, your gym, library for story time. You’ll eventually start seeing the same people at all of those. I used to call it “the circuit” lol. You are not a bad mom for feeling this way, a lot of people don’t talk about it out loud but I have learned most of us have felt this way.

    Hugs girl! I miss you!!

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm — Reply

      Thanks, Aggie! Miss you, too. I think you should move up here. :)

  14. Sabrina

    March 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm — Reply

    You need to join a moms group or even, now that Julia is a bit older, a play gym or something. music class? gymboree? Something!

    I can relate to everything you wrote here, but on the other end. I’m working full time from home with help 3 days a week only. It’s really, really hard. I hear the babysitter or nanny playing with Raffi and laughing and I want to cry. I hate it. I wish I could stay home full time right now, but because of the nature of my business it just isn’t possible. Hopefully with two kids I’ll be able to work 1 one day a week only (with help). That’s the goal, but it will take a lot of time and training someone else to get there.

    Anyway, you are making the biggest contribution of all- you’re raising your child yourself. And you’re feeding your family healthy meals, keeping your house in order, and making your husband’s life easier. There is nothing wrong with splitting up the duties so that he makes the money, and you spend it (lol) for house things and keeping life in order. You’re doing way more than your fair share.

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm — Reply

      You are so right, Sabrina. And I know if I was working I’d feel guilty about it and be sad that I wasn’t with Julia. I really do love being with her. And J definitely knows what I do is a lot of work and appreciates me.

      • andie

        March 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm — Reply

        As a full time working mother, you are right that you would feel guilty about working full time on occasion, because I often feel like I’m missing out on all of those important moments and that Andrew will forget I’m his mom, etc. I think it is right about the grass is greener thing, though. Definitely.

  15. Amanda

    March 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm — Reply

    MC- I felt the same way for awhile. Subbing here and there while my mom or mother in law keeps Davidson has helped a lot. It’s the best of both worlds! Try it. I’ll keep baby J. :)

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm — Reply

      Sounds like a plan! I’ve been thinking about subbing, but I wouldn’t be able to do it on a regular basis. We better walk soon. :)

  16. Melissa

    March 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm — Reply

    I completely understand how you’re feeling… but in the opposite way. I work full-time, and I see my 11-month-old daughter about three hours a day during the week. We make the most of that time and our weekends together, but I always feel like I’m struggling with the decision I made to continue working full-time after she was born. I know this isn’t helpful with how you’re feeling, but just know that no matter what decision we have made, we always wonder if we’d be happier doing the opposite. I wonder/worry about that every day. Enjoy all the time you have with your precious baby girl… and then find time for the hobbies and other things you love to do too! Your daughter is beautiful!

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm — Reply

      Thank you, Melissa. I think we’d always wonder what it would be like to stay home if we were working or visa versa…the grass is always greener kind of thing. Thanks so much for reading!

  17. Felicia Stevens

    March 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm — Reply

    You are so not alone Mama! I have been on a balance search for quite some time. I took on a part time job of 1-2 days a week to get out of the house and that was amazing! I work 4 hours on Tuesday and about 4 on another day of the week. It’s not the actual job it’s the adult interaction I get, the drive without a toddler in the backseat, etc! I also decided recently to get my real estate license to have something to play around with.

    I am enrolling Ella in a mother’s day out program at church (they typically start at 18 months) so she will have friends to play with and structure there. I’ve heard it’s the best thing for them and it’s only 2 days a week from 9-2ish.

    I think we are all in a crazy journey of starting a new chapter in our life. :)

    xoxox

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm — Reply

      Crazy journey is the truth! That’s awesome that you have a little part time job. I’d love something like that, but I really don’t have anywhere for J to go. I’ve already got her on the waiting list for MDO. She has to be 1 year. It will be great for her socialization and good for my sanity. :)

  18. Elizabeth Lindsey

    March 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm — Reply

    You must be living in my house!
    I totally have been feeling like this since losing my job in July, I know I’m contributing but it is hard not bringing in any income .
    Would love to go back prt-time very soon!

    We moved to TN 3 months ago & joining MOPS has really helped!
    Good luck!

    • Molly

      March 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm — Reply

      Thanks, Elizabeth. Part time would be great! Hope you find something soon.

  19. Angie

    March 23, 2012 at 9:26 am — Reply

    I dont know how I missed this yesterday?! But anyways, I can relate!! So so relate. It is a constant struggle/battle, especially because of the monetary contribution……or lack thereof on my part.
    I have dreamt of my days as a SAHM, so when I have those feelings I feel the guilt. And it’s bad. So I started subbing – and it has been such a nice balance. Granted, it doesnt ‘provide’ much, but it gets me out even if not often (I sub about 2 times a month, ha) and reminds me even though the days can be long and stressful, I wouldnt want to miss the opportunity of staying home. It doesnt take away my internal struggle I still go through, but it does help. You are not alone, girl! It also helps to have other friends home and being able to get together with them sometimes, even if it is only once or twice a month as well. I need to look into MOPS or something, although I would probably be nervous/intimidated, I know K would love it and I would eventually Im sure :)

  20. Tracey M

    March 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm — Reply

    I had to come visit this post since I saw you mention it on your menu update … my story is certainly not close to most moms, but I had post partum depression/anxiety to the point where I cloistered myself inside and was almost completely isolated. For me, the identity change to “mother” occurred outwardly overnight when my son was born (he’s almost 4 now) but my inner identity took months and months to adjust to the role. I was also a full-time career person and found it was so hard without solid structure for my day. After 9mos, I finally started getting involved (MOPS and a local play group and then my mom’s group at chuch) which really helped me to grow (along with having to really grow in my faith). I continue to need to place structure into my days (schedule time at the YMCA where they have childcare, menu planning, hubby date nights, mommy’s nights out) and they have helped immensely.

    • Molly

      March 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm — Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment, Tracey. Just today I had lunch with a group of moms and it was so refreshing. Yes, our babies were there, but it was so great to interact with other ADULTS! I’m definitely going to join our local MOPS group.

  21. Becca

    March 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm — Reply

    You’re not alone Molly! I find myself STILL struggling and I’ve been a SAHM for 2.5 years now. I think part of the reason I want to have kid after kid is so that I can hurry and go back to work, haha. I agree with joining MOPS. I joined when Adam was 5 months so its okay to have a small baby. Also look on Meetup.com for Mommy and Me playgroups or look up to see if there is a MOMS Club near you. We are in one and go to playgroups that are geared to certain ages. And let me know if you ever want to get together. :)

  22. Heather

    March 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm — Reply

    I have to believe a lot of SAHMs feel this way, otherwise, I’d go mad with guilt because I definitely do! I went back to work for several months after my maternity leave was over, then quit my job when my husband was transferred to another state. “We” decided that because we had no support network in our new location, that I would not find a new job and instead become a SAHM. At first I was thrilled about the idea of getting to be home all day with my adorable son and not getting all stressed out with work issues. But that excitement soon wore off and I was struck with the reality that I was “just a Mom” (I do not say it like that to cheapen the role, it was just honestly how I felt). I struggled with my place in my relationship with my husband, my status among working friends, and with my own desire to “feel accomplished” at something other than changing diapers and cleaning my home. After almost a year of staying home, I found some part-time work and put my son in day care 3 days a week (when he was 18 months). I found this to be a perfect balance for me and for him– it made me a happier person, and a much more interested and involved Mom on the days I was home with my son. He also really enjoyed being in “school” and making new friends, all on his own. It was very hard for me to admit that staying home with my child wasn’t “enough” for me; I was afraid of what kind of a person/Mom that made me. But once I was completely honest with myself, I realized that needing something for me outside of my home/son didn’t mean I loved him any less. You need to take care of yourself and your needs too, something us Moms often forget about!! But rest assured, you are not alone. Good luck!

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