I love being a stay at home mom. It’s the hardest, most fulfilling, grueling, exhausting, sometimes non-appreciative job I’ve ever had, but I love every single second of it. I wouldn’t trade my life, not even if I was offered the chance to be CEO of my own publishing company (many of you know this is my dream).
And while I may love every minute I have to spend with my beautiful baby boy, helping him to grow, encouraging and stimulating him, it doesn’t mean I don’t need a little bit for me.
I’m almost at the end of week 4 in my SAHM career. Every day has been different. Some days are exhausting, while others are relaxing. Some days I feel like I’ve accomplished so much not just with Davey, but also with my writing and daily chores. I literally have days where I take a deep breath and say, “Ah, how sweet this life is.” Other days I find myself at the end of my rope, anxious to tie a knot and hang myself with it. I become so overwhelmed that I can’t help but sob uncontrollably, sometimes nearing a panic attack as my sobs begin to form huge lumps in my throat and I gasp for air, anything to keep me alive.
While most jobs are pretty predictable, being a SAHM is unpredictable. And if you’re like me, at almost 37,unpredictability is a HUGE adjustment.
I waited a while to have my son. I explored my life and the world, got an education, had a career and at one point was untethered to any real responsibilities. If I became exhausted by a job, then I left it for a while and recharged my batteries. If I became overwhelmed with a career, then I took a vacation. In both cases, I was able to leave the stress and discomfort, but as a SAHM that luxury isn’t so easily afforded.
I’ve stewed over this for a while, let it build up to a near boiling point of pressure before I finally exploded on my husband last week. I’d like to say I’m not my old self when I explode. I hope that I’m not as dramatic about it, but I suppose we’ll have to consult my husband on that. I chewed at how to talk with my husband about the fact that I needed some “me” time especially since I was the one who pushed so hard to be a stay at home mom. How was I to tell him that although he was working all day, I needed him to give me at least an hour every night to myself? And worse yet, would he throw it back into my face about how I’ve chosen the lifestyle that I am in? Would he complain to me about how hard he labors every day just to make me happy by allowing me the opportunity to be at home with Davey? Would he just ignore me, but pretend to hear every word I said? Would he just agree with me, then sweep it under the rug or not bring it back up again in the hopes that it’s been forgotten? I didn’t know, but whatever the outcome was to be, I had already spent over a week feeling guilty for my thoughts of needing at least an hour a day away from my child.
When I approached my husband with the subject, I explained to him that I didn’t need an immediate resolution. I also wasn’t looking for an argument, for him to feel guilty, or for him to feel attacked. I told him how much I loved him and appreciated the sacrifices that he made for this family, but I also told him that I need a break albeit just a short one because it’s amazing how quickly a mom’s mental health can bounce back after a half hour bubble bath with a good book.
Fortunately for me, I have an awesome husband. He understood my needs, my feelings, and my desires. He completely agreed with me and even seemed to relish the idea of getting alone time with his son, something that I wasn’t fully prepared to hear. He didn’t ask me how to resolve the issue or if we needed to have a set time everyday in order for me to take a breather. I don’t need an everyday one, but the occasional break would be nice.
Last night was my first foray into my independence arena. My husband came home from work, we had dinner, Davey got his bath and yours truly took off for an hour of yoga at the gym. It was bliss, truly the greatest thing. I feel like I de-stressed my body and mind, but my son wasn’t far from my thoughts. I did wonder how he was coping with daddy around and not mommy, but I have faith in my husband. He’s wonderful with our son and even more gracious with me.
I spoke with a few mommies in my playgroup today. I posed them the same question about needing some personal time. Do they need it? How did they approach that with their husbands? Did they feel guilty about it? And what do they do when they’re given that little bit of gold time? Some used it to go the gym, others to spend time with girlfriends.
What about the rest of you? What do you do with your “me” time or do you even take advantage of it?