It’s commonly accepted that stay-at-home mothers give up their lives temporarily, only to reclaim them later on when the kids are older.
This is problematic for several reasons, the least being that a parent’s state of mind directly impacts our children.
Being a stay-at-home mother, for me, is both exhausting and demanding. I’ll admit to feeling tickles of envy—as well as, sometimes, flat out irritation—when I see other mothers perform child-rearing duties with the apparent ease and, equally, the helping hands that I lack.
My parents visit often, but living two hours away from my husband’s family and mine means that I fly solo in my daily life as “mom.”
This means I don’t have the ability to toss my kids at grandma’s house and hit a yoga class. It means, too, that my husband and I can’t have the cutesie “date nights” that I see all over Facebook—without significant planning, that is.
This all said, I still don’t believe that I should be pausing my life completely because I parent young children. More, it means that I shouldn’t be waiting for those “someday” years down the road to enjoy my life.
For one, my kids will still need me.
In my own experience with adolescence, this is when life really gets sticky. Yes, life might literally be less sticky for me—since fruit snacks and messy faces will likely be less frequent within our daily routine—but, in all seriousness, I don’t plan on my daughters’ teenage years being our cushy ones.
Secondly, life is funny—the way that things work out.
Often my life has taken a completely different path from the one I set out on very carefully—life truly is short and we don’t know what tomorrow brings. While I do sincerely hope for significantly more “date nights” with my husband than we have now (or even some), I’m not reserving all of my fun for that far-off “someday.”
I hadn’t, for example, planned on being a stay-at-home mom. Actually, it took me a long time to even call myself that. My degree is in geology, I’m a 200-hour certified yoga teacher and also—obviously—I’m a writer. Stay-at-home mom, though? Nah—I don’t have the patience for that.
I don’t, really.
I have a quick temper and those things that some moms make look simple are difficult for me—like going to the grocery store with two young kids, going to the bathroom alone, and even maintaining long-distance friendships.
But I am a stay-at-home mom—and, usually, quite happily. Additionally, I plan on being home with my kids when they’re teenagers. Again, plans change—but this is my ideal goal.
The reason that I plan on primarily wearing my “mom” name-tag as my kids grow up is simple—the physical daily life of being a mom might become easier, but the challenges of their lives become more intricate—and I want to be there for that if I can.
Having this aim of being a stay-at-home mom to teenagers means that I’m not looking to my upcoming years as stock for myself—for my own needs, wishes and wants. Instead, it means that I take great care to try to fulfill myself now. I will not lie—it’s not easy.
Yes, I hope to exercise and write more often, or at least with more ease, when my kids are in school full time—but placing importance on the present means having my husband watch the kids so I can workout and feel healthy today, not tomorrow or someday.
I hope my children are noticing how I take care of myself and love myself.
I hope they learn through this example that self-care and finding joy where we are right now are not things to shove to the wayside for any reason, even parenting young children.