Passionate About the Community
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Being a SAHM is Messing with My Head

When I took my maternity leave with my second baby I had every intention of returning to work. My husband and I were not exactly well-off. As the weeks dwindled down I knew we had to do whatever we needed for me to become a stay-at-home Mom. We drastically pared down our budget and I tearfully submitted my letter of resignation to the supervisor whom I adored. I loved my job and I knew there would be days ahead when I wondered whether I made the right choice. But I never anticipated just how much becoming a SAHM was going to mess with my head.

As a kid, I spent summers working at my family’s manufacturing company. When I was 17, I got my first waitressing job so that I could buy my prom dress. I worked all throughout college and since then have been gainfully employed. As it turns out, my job status became a huge part of my identity. All of a sudden I was unemployed. I could no longer use “I work in the nonprofit sphere” to describe myself.

My new job title became just “Mom.” And I took this new job title seriously. In fact, perhaps a little too seriously. When my husband wished I picked up “XYZ” on my weekly grocery trip, I took it as a poor performance evaluation. My husband was just sharing his preferences, but to me it felt like I was failing at my simple job. When family members questioned my parenting decisions or wondered why my baby still was waking regularly at night, I became defensive as both a parent, and a diligent employee.

I know there are tons of women who feel completely fulfilled by the job title of “Mommy.” Unapologetically, I am not one of those women.

This lack of a “legitimate” career fueled a full-on identity crisis. Rather than stew in a puddle of anxiety, however, I decided to take preemptive action. I know there are tons of women who feel completely fulfilled by the job title of “Mommy.” Unapologetically, I am not one of those women. I started regularly attending a Church I only frequented once or twice before. I’m involved in local politics. I volunteer my time with a local nonprofit to learn a new skill- grant writing. I’ve increased the regularity in which I publish blog content. I applied for a couple flexible, work-from-home positions to generate a small amount of supplemental income for my family.

As it turns out, despite the massive head trip it caused me, stay-at-home motherhood is a wonderful professional opportunity. Not having a full-time job has provided me with the time to pursue other areas of interest. I get to decide what I want to commit to, and the time-frame I’m willing to commit. I may not have a real job description, but I get to be Mommy and Church-goer/activist/volunteer/part-time worker extraordinaire!

Have you ever been a stay-at-home parent? Did you struggle to define yourself?

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2 Responses to Being a SAHM is Messing with My Head

  1. Brita Long March 16, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    I am a part-time housewife, and it definitely messes with my head at times. I quit my job almost two years ago to write full-time. Within a few weeks, my mother entered hospice care, and I more or less moved back home to help take care of her and spend as much time with her as I could before she died. I barely wrote anything during that time, and doing “nothing” for six weeks completely shattered my self-confidence as a go-getting writer.

    Take grief and physical health problems, and remove a full-time job, and you have me, a total mess.

    My husband and I are dealing with exciting-but-stressful stuff right now, and when it’s done, I’m going to see a psychiatrist. I talked to my primary practitioner about it, who agreed that the negative changes in cognitive abilities since my mother’s death could be depression and not just normal grief.

    • Kaity S
      Kaity S March 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

      Ugh. I am so sorry you’ve had to deal with all of that. My Dad lives in assisted living so much of the burden of his care is not on me, but it’s still stressful to have a parent with serious health issues. I’ll definitely be sending light and love your way <3

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