Let me start by saying I LOVE my children! Becoming a mom was not an easy journey for me and there were times I thought it might never happen. I love being a mom and I love my children with all my heart. I even love being a stay-at-home mom…or I did until the pandemic.
If you’ve read my articles before, you know I have a special needs daughter who is also immune compromised. As such, my family has been extremely isolated for the past year and will continue to be until there’s a vaccine for children.
For the most part, I have looked on the positive side of things and enjoyed parts of this situation, like all the morning cuddles with my girls and not having to go anywhere when the weather is bad. But it definitely hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns around here. (Although we do have lots of those as my 5-year-old is obsessed with both.)
Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom Before the Pandemic
I never really envisioned myself as a full-time, stay-at-home mom. I’m not the type of woman who loves to play with children. As an introvert, I find children particularly exhausting. But when I was pregnant with my first, I slowly started feeling like I wanted to stay home with her. But I never wanted to leave my career behind and I’ve always had some form of a job while being a stay-at-home mom.
Before the pandemic, I had time to do some form of self-employed work. I had time to work on writing my book or writing this blog with focus and no interruptions. I could also enjoy coffee or lunch dates with friends, running errands in peace, and cleaning the house without anyone at home destroying it as I go. The days were still long and full of parenting duties like getting everyone ready and out the door for school, making lunches, running to and from school and extracurricular activities, and nighttime bed and bath routines. I also had some time to be myself and feel like a person of my own, not “just” a mom.
Life as a Stay-at-Home Mom in a Pandemic
The definition of stay-at-home mom in a pandemic is much different. I never envisioned spending literally 24/7 with my girls for a year…and counting. My 5-year-old tells me at bedtime, “See you tomorrow mommy. All day long.” In her cute little girl voice, it’s so sweet. But still, all I hear is ALLLL day long!
Over the course of the last year, I’ve literally had a handful of days to myself. From sun up to sun down (and beyond), I am with my girls. I am listening to their constant noise (whether that’s playing or fighting, it’s all still noise) and responding to their constant request for snacks, TV shows and my attention. Add to that the fact that I’ve also become their teacher (see my previous blog which talks about how I am not a good teacher). It hasn’t been good for my sanity. I have lost myself along the way.
Surviving Motherhood Burnout
This time together has gotten old. It is no longer good for our relationship. It’s no longer good for me. I am becoming a bad mom who yells too much and gets frustrated too easily because I am tired. I am tired of listening to their constant noise, tired of not being able to be my own person. And it’s not just me…my children need to be with their friends, they need to go to school where they encounter other authority figures.
I recently read some articles on motherhood burnout. If you didn’t see this blog last month, I encourage you to check it out. It’s chock full of great information if you’re struggling like me (working moms too!). Hearing other people’s stories of maternal exhaustion was so validating and made me feel like I’m not alone, even though I am so isolated.
I’ve also made some changes that have made a big difference. I’ve been sending the girls to my dad’s house (since he is fully vaccinated) for a day here and there so I can get a day to myself. I started a new small business. I can manage it with the girls around (and something they can even help). This has given me purpose again. And my husband recently forced me to go shopping one day (something I’m generally not comfortable with because of potential virus exposure, but I’m vaccinated, wore my mask and went somewhere fairly quiet). It was GOOD for my soul! And I feel like I’ve been a better mom since doing these things.
Looking to the Future: Life After the Pandemic
This time together has been special and it’s something we will never (God willing) experience again. As a stay-at-home mom in a pandemic, I’ve literally been given the rare gift of time with my children. I know one day it will all be a memory and I will be thankful for the strange opportunity this virus gave us. When my girls are grown, I will (hopefully) forget how trying this time was and look back on it with fond memories of how I got this extra time to bond with them.
Right now, though, I am looking forward to that day. I am looking forward to when we can return to our normal roles in the family. I’m looking forward to strolling the aisles of Target by myself on a Tuesday morning with a hot Starbucks in hand while my girls are at school learning from real teachers and playing with their friends.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of The We Spot, it’s employees, sponsors, or affiliates.