My bestie and I are both stay at home moms. We joke about the fact that ‘we have it good’.
We know this isn’t how it feels all the time, we know it hasn’t always been this way, but at the end of the day, we feel grateful for being able to be stay at home moms.
I’ve been thinking about this for many years because this statement bubbles up a lot of different emotions for each mom. Some stay at home moms really don’t feel like they have it good, and I can’t disagree with that. There have been days where my husband would walk in the door from work and I would walk out to get a breather. Not every day is good, but as a whole it is.
I don’t say it is good because I am naive or blindly optimistic. I say this because there I’ve come to see that there is something that is making it a good experience for me.
This is what I think it is . . .
The other week I had a house full of kids and moms and the coffee was brewing. My bestie’s husband stopped in and I poured him some coffee and gave him a cookie. He laughed and joked that if this is what it was like to be a stay at home mom he would quit his job and join us. Of course, he only saw a piece of the picture but coffee dates are a common occurence for me and my friends.
Then the other day I was at the lake with my bestie and all our kids. I could unravel the shit show of chaos that was part of that day, but all in all, I got to chill at the beach in the sunshine with my best friend.
Two nights ago it was my birthday and I went to a girlfriend’s house for a wine tasting. To my surprise, we met up in a barn loft beside the river. It was full of decadent foods, twinkling lights, flowers, wines and all the women I really love to hang out with. It left me speechless, it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
When I stepped out to use the washroom later in the night, I stopped as I walked back up to the barn. In the still dark all I could hear were the laughs of my favourite people spilling out of the barn with that warm glow of the lights. And I realized why this stay at home mom ‘has it good’. I have them. These ladies, to do life with.
The fact is being a stay at home mom can really suck. It can be isolating and relentless and overwhelming. I would never dare take three kids alone to the beach. It would be a lonely week to have coffee dates with only myself every morning. And I couldn’t imagine not having a crew of friends who I can eat cheese with under the moonlight on a special occasion – more specifically, friends who have walked in my shoes all day and know how indulgent it can feel to put on lipstick and drink from pretty glasses.
I am a stay at home mom who has it good BECAUSE of the women I get to do it with.
These women help me parent my kids, they teach them things I can’t (like physical activity), they make really great cake, they throw parties for my kids to celebrate potty training, they know all my weaknesses and speak into my strengths, they love my kids like their own, they listen to me talk about the Enneagram and Outlander on repeat, they laugh at me and my momfails and offer to come even out my kids’ haircuts when I botch them up (every time).
When I was pregnant with my first I moved to this small, country town and then soon after I gave up my career. If I would have stopped to think about how my early days of motherhood would play out in these circumstances it probably would have scared me into panic mode. But through a lot of lessons in friendship and one really fantastic woman who knew how to get me out of my house with a new baby – I’ve found the value of friends outweighs where you live, your job prospects, or how your kids are driving you nuts.
So if you are a stay at home mom who doesn’t ‘have it good’ let me say a few things.
First of all, we all feel that way – go ahead and say you are lonely and angry and lost. Especially if you have a baby, even though they are small and cuddly they can unleash an emotional thunderstorm in your sleep-deprived life. So – recognize your feelings. Maybe ask yourself if you are being a martyr, maybe talk to a counselor about it, maybe have an ugly cry in the tub (for me it took all three!).
Second, get out the house any way you can. Even if you are putting miles walking the same sidewalks in your stroller every day. Anytime you can put yourself into action, even if you are walking in circles in the neighbourhood, it is better than staying at home feeling restless and scrolling social media. Motion is so good for your emotional well being.
Finally, get to know someone. I know this could be a whole other blog post about making and being momfriends, but as someone who has made, lost, fought for, fought with, and gone without friends – it will be worth putting yourself out there. Invite someone for a park date, say hi to the new mom, say hi to the shy mom, text a friend you know might be feeling alone too, show up for people in your real life. Be a good friend.
You will make mistakes, it will be awkward but your life is always better with friends (it is science!)