Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Stay-At-Home-Mom Guilt Is Real

I've now been a stay-at-home-mom to Scarlett for over 3.5 years.  When I left my job in 2014 to become a full-time mom, I didn't have an idea of what the future held.  In those precious years since I stopped working, I've seen many firsts.  Some of those firsts I never want to see or hear again!

I have to be honest with you, the mom guilt is real.  When Scarlett was younger, it was my job and responsibility to teach her everything she needed to know.  I had flashcards and tools for learning shapes, animals, numbers, letters, and colors.  As she grew, we realized that she was speech delayed and spent a year working with a speech therapist.  Of course when issues arise with children we blame ourselves and ask ourselves what could we have done differently? Even if the challenge is not our fault, a mom still struggles with it.

Scarlett is in school three days a week for three hours a day.  When I have that free time, I try to take advantage of it and cook, clean, and take care of the house.  Some days I may have errands to run and won't get as much done sans child as I'd like.  

Once I pick Scarlett up and she comes home, I may have to vacuum, throw a load of laundry in, or even just make a phone call.  Scarlett always asks me to play with her and sometimes I can't.  I feel bad that I can't always be her built-in playmate, but I do have legitimate work to do.  I explain to her that I have to finish what I'm doing and then I can play with her.

Sometimes she understands and others she doesn't.  I try to tell her it's important that she play alone independently while I complete my tasks.  She's used to me playing with her, and doesn't always want to be by herself.  When she does agree, it makes life a lot easier.  I know this is also due to being an only child too.  If she had a sibling close in age, she wouldn't be looking for me to be her playmate so much at home.  

Some days I feel like it's hard to balance everything.  I have to make sure my child's needs are met while also ensuring my work at home gets completed too.  At night, I may lie awake and say did I spend too much time cleaning or organizing today when I could have spent more time with Scarlett? Is she on track with learning in comparison to her peers? Should I be teaching her even more than I already am?

These are just some of the questions that roll around in my head.  I try to shut my brain off, but it's really hard.  If you're a stay-at-home-mom, I can guarantee you've felt these same things.  I also have guilt about not working and contributing financially like I'd like to.  Everyone says being at home with a child is the most important thing for them, and I have to keep telling myself that. 

The mom guilt never goes away completely but some days I may feel it more than others.  I hope as Scarlett gets older my feelings of guilt lessen as she becomes more independent.  I know I'm not alone with these thoughts and feelings and it's something I have to grapple with.  For now, I will enjoy her as much as I can until she goes to kindergarten! By that point, I'll be going back to work too.

While being a stay-at-home-mom has its challenges, I feel very lucky and blessed I am able to do it everyday.

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