The Stay-at-Home-Mom Syndrome: Do You Suffer from It?
by The (Un)Experienced Mom
When I was a little girl, I always dreamed of becoming a mother someday—one that stayed home and raised the children. I wanted two kids, since I am an only child. Both of those things have come true, so why doesn’t it feel wonderful 100 percent of the time? I used to enjoy working hard at work (thanks for the great work ethic, Mom and Dad!), because I knew that eventually I would get recognized and even possibly promoted for it. And, of course, I loved bringing home a paycheck. Both of those things fueled my ambition and gave me a sense of satisfaction, sometimes instantly. But when I had my first son 2.5 years ago, my ambitions started to shift and became focused on raising my child. I assumed, wrongly so, that my satisfaction would automatically follow me into this new role.
Now, don’t get me wrong; I enjoy staying home with my kids and having the opportunity to be so hands-on all the time. But if I am being honest with myself, it doesn’t always feel comfortable. Sure, my kids are healthy and well adjusted, the house is taken care of (although lately, I use that term loosely), and everyone is being fed because of my hard work, but knowing that doesn’t hit that same sweet spot of satisfaction that working outside of the home did. It’s just different. Unlike with work, there’s usually no instant gratification in this job, which can make it hard to want to be ambitious. And since ambition and satisfaction go hand in hand, when one is missing, the other can be stunted.
I feel horrible admitting it sometimes, because so many moms wish they could stay at home. Also, it’s my perception that society often perpetuates the idea that stay-at-home-moms should enjoy it all the time, because they chose to stay home. But just like with any other job, why shouldn’t we be able to say “You know, I just don’t like my job today!” without feeling guilty? When I say this to my hubby, he usually responds with “Well, go back to work then if you don’t like staying at home.” I can’t blame him for thinking this is the logical answer to my thought because men are usually problem solvers who think in black and white. But this thought is grey, complicated, and one that doesn’t necessitate an answer. Sure, I could go back to work, but that doesn’t feel comfortable either. I just want to be able to have this thought and feel at peace with the fact that some days even being a stay-at-home mom can feel tough, sucky, and unsatisfying.
What I have done with this thought is found something that does give me a sense of instant gratification and satisfaction—blogging. It’s a way to air out some of the thoughts I wrestle with in a way that’s helpful (and sometimes humorous) to me and others. This fills in that gap that’s there and in turn makes me a happier and better mom! And as the saying goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”