Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'm not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom. And that's ok.

Almost six years ago, I left a job that I loved in order to become a stay-at-home-mom. It's something that I've always wanted.

Always dreamed of.

Always felt was my calling.

My first daughter was only 3 months old at the time, and man did I struggle just to keep up with day-to-day things. I kept wondering to myself 'Why is this so hard?! She's a fraction of my size, but SO demanding!' I got frustrated. I got angry. I felt defeated, worthless, depressed. However, I plugged on because it was what I wanted. Or so I thought. Not 4 months later, I became pregnant with our son. I felt there was no need to try to go back to work then, why would someone hire a pregnant lady that would be back out of work after 8 or 9 short months? I shoved those feelings aside for what seemed like an eternity.

     I discounted my own feelings!

However, I also felt justified hearing a handful of other mothers sharing the same frustration, anger, and worthless feeling, so I just chalked it up to being "normal".

                 I didn't feel normal, though.

                              I felt so low... Lower than I had ever felt before.

Still, I shoved it aside, and tried to delve into my babies. See, the problem with me just trying to force myself to be happy, to play with my kids whenever possible, feeding, changing diapers, bouncing, singing, shushing, walking, changing diapers again, feeding some more, and crying myself, is that I lost myself. I lost who *I* was. Who *I* wanted to be, which at that point, was not to be a stay-at-home-mom. Did I love them? Yes. Did I cherish my time with them? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely not. At least not all of the time. There were good times, sure. But more often than not, I hated myself. I hated myself for having these thoughts of wanting to just run away and never come back. Of wanting to scream at them for crying...even when they were so young. Looking back it was probably a bit of post partum depression. I had gone to my doctor about it, too. He told me it was probably just a vitamin deficiency, and sent me on my way with instructions to take certain vitamin supplements.

I felt worse after that.

     Like I was a monster.

           Like I didn't deserve to have these beautiful babies of mine.

Then, the mother load of drama hit, I lost track of my cycle, and we wound up pregnant with baby three, five months before we wanted to. God has a sense of humor, I tell you!!! How on EARTH was I going to tolerate THREE kids, when the two I had almost drove me over the edge every day?! How was I going to get anything done with three? How were my husband and I supposed to connect ever again with three kids? I know, I know. There are families with more than three that are perfectly happy! GOD BLESS THEM. I didn't know how they did it, honestly.

I wasn't happy. I wasn't happy at all. I could no longer put my finger on why, though, because I had lost myself so long before. I was stressed beyond belief because I felt smothered, claustrophobic, stretched too thin. We decided to move, and started to look for a bigger house. All while I was at home. Every day. Dealing with two toddlers while seven months pregnant. It was my responsibility to keep the house clean and presentable on showing days. To drag two young kids and my pregnant butt out of the house upwards of seven times a day so we could move. I was exhausted. I wanted to cry, scream, kick, hit, claw...but I stuck it out. We had an offer, and accepted it within a week. We had also been out house shopping during all of this, and had put a contingency offer on our new house. THANK GOD it worked out the way it did. We signed off on our house, had a baby, signed on our new house, and moved...all within a month. It was insane and stressful, but we did it!

Once that was all done, we were living in this beautiful home (with GOBS of wallpaper...which, mind nearly all still up three years later...haha), near my sisters and my mom, and only a short distance from my dad. I thought "YAY! Maybe I'll get out sometime! Maybe I'll meet new people!" Man, was I wrong. Yes, I got out to spend time with some family a little more often, which was nice, but I was stuck in this new area, in this new house, with new responsibilities, two toddlers and a newborn...and no friends. I dealt with it, but had this nagging feeling that I needed more. I wanted to go back to work, but kept reminding myself "this is what you wanted!" So, again, I shoved it aside. Made a promise to myself to get out more, try to meet some more people, make new friends, all that jazz. I'm an introvert. I'm shy. I have anxiety when it comes to meeting new people, so needless to say, getting out didn't happen. Ever, really. I was a hermit.

I still felt unhappy, worthless, angry with myself and with my kids even though they're just kids. I started toying with the idea of going back to work again once all three kids were in school full time. I had dealt with these feelings for three years already, what was four more, right? I would push the thought away, let it creep in, push it away again, over and over and over again. I remember a phone call with my sister one day. I was at one of my lowest points, and was in tears. She said to me "Stacy, you need to get out of the house. You need to get a job. Get some adult interaction." I remember yelling at her saying "I DON'T WANT A JOB!!! I want to feel good! I want friends! I want people to come visit me!" I really felt like that was true, too. How could I not since this was exactly what I had been telling myself for so long! Well, I decided to start applying for jobs as they came up and met my exact criteria. I could be picky because I didn't have to have a job. We were doing alright on one income. Applied - rejected. Applied - rejected. Applied - no response. Applied - no response. Applied - no response. I decided to go ahead and update my resume on Monster, and applied for a receptionist position with a local Attorney office. I received a few phone calls and emails from other people, but none of them panned out (I'm looking at you, "you have to come to Lansing first thing in the morning for an interview,

Then...then it happened.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from the Attorney office I had applied to. They wanted me to come in for an interview the next day. So, I checked with Michael to make sure he would be home, and I got it all set up. I was offered the job on the spot. I accepted it on Friday, and started the following Monday. It was full-time, not part-time. I was scared, excited, worried, afraid of how the kids would adjust. It happened so fast...and you know what?

I couldn't be happier.

I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mom. And that's ok. And I'm ok with that. The last two weeks have been overwhelmingly enjoyable, but I wouldn't change it for anything! I feel like I've been working at this office, with these amazingly helpful, hilarious people forever. Guess what? The kids are doing just fine, too. Michael is doing just fine as well. Things are getting done around the house when he gets home before me.

And...I'm doing just fine. I'm doing more than fine.

I'm feeling fantastic.

God bless