Thursday, December 31, 2009

Why being a SAHM is the hardest thing I've ever done

Can I be brutally honest here? This is freaking hard. Unbelievably so at times, for example, today.

I love my children. I wanted to be a mother from the time I first realized that it was an option. I remember my mother being pregnant with my sister when I was five years old and being thrilled because she told me that one day, I could have a baby in my belly too. I miscarried my first pregnancy, twins, and remember the devastation, the absolute utter horror at death of my babies, and the prospect that I might never be able to carry a pregnancy to term. I find enormous satisfaction in being a mother, it's a huge part of the way I define myself. I feel a little bit lost when my kids aren't near me, and freely acknowlege that I legitimately LIKE spending time with them - I've got great kids. They're smart and funny and I can't imagine my life without them. I feel a little sorry for all the other parents who don't have my kids, because mine really are amazing.

But full time parenting is so hard some days. When you've been up all night because one had a nightmare and the other one just isn't in the mood to sleep, when you've been trapped inside for days on end because it's so frigid cold outside, when you're the only adult all the time and the housework bubbles up around you - and you can't get the kids to stop fighting long enough for you to take a much needed shower. When the dishes are spilling over the sink (and you did two loads of dishes yesterday) and you've got construction guys and dragon castle components scattered with American Girl hair accessories and doll clothes tossed gleefully all over the living room... and your daughter is raging because webkinz won't let her do what she wants and your three year old is screaming, just screaming, like it's his new hobby... all I could think was that this is so damn hard. I sat in Jessie's room, trying to pick up all the tiny little clips for Rebecca Rubin before they got lost, and cried right along with Sam, as he stood in front of me, jumping up and down, begging me to pick him up (which is becoming increasingly harder as I get bigger) and nurse him. I ended up sitting on the floor, sobbing, and stopped only because when I cry too hard, I inevitably throw up because of the pregnancy. I'm so worn out and tired and some days I wonder if I'm really strong enough to do this.

I wouldn't trade these years for anything. I know that the years when my babies are little are fleeting, and have already gone by so fast... I'll never be able to pick Jess up and carry her around the house anymore - she's too big. The number of times when I'll be able instantly soothe whatever is bothering Sam just by being beside him is finite. I never thought I'd be able to be a stay at home mom, I thought, of course, my kids would be in daycare, how could I afford to not work? I never dreamed I'd be as lucky as I am. I'm pregnant with my third child, and watching one of the people I love most in the world struggle with infertility - I'm so incredibly aware of how blessed I am. But this is hard. There are days when a part of me envies my husband, who gets dressed, showers whenever he wants and goes to work all day with grown ups who don't ask for drinks or to get a diaper change, who don't yell at him for no real reason. Where nobody has to be bathed, where dishes don't need to be done, where the floor is always vacuumed and the trash is always emptied.

I love my children. My amazing girl child, with her passions and her furies, her creativities, her kindness and her beauty. My beautiful boy, big grey/brown eyes and so much love and sweetness all bundled up in this little package of maleness. My tiny baby girl, who's becoming bigger and more a part of my life every day. And I wouldn't trade my life for anything.

But I would really appreciate a day off.

4 comments:

Jessi said...

Everyone has those days and being pregnant just makes it worse because those darn hormones really take over.

I remember screaming at Ashlyn one day when she was only 15 months. Screamed at my baby because I was 9 months pregnant and just so overwhelmed by it all and the hormones. I felt like the worst mother in the world.

It happens to the best of us. Being a SAHM is hard. It is. But it's also the most rewarding job of any job in the world, and I know you know this.

Hang in there. I know it's tough especially being pregnant. I hope you get some sleep too.

Melissa said...

I wouldn't change it, my life is richer than most that I know of because I'm able to spend this time with my kids. My kids are happier, my husband is happier and I know that I'd have a really hard time leaving them every day. Really hard time doesn't express it - I worked for two months when Jess was a baby, and the first day back at work without my baby was the worst day of my life.

But there are days when I feel like I just need to acknowlege for myself that this time in my life, however rewarding and wonderful and fulfilling it may be, is also a really hard time as well. I'm on-call 24/7, solely responsible for two lives, plus pregnant with another - and I'm tired. I don't feel like there's any support or rest or break, even when things are calm (and they are calm a lot of the time), I'm still constantly poised for action, thinking in the back of my mind about what's coming up, and it never, never stops.

I love motherhood, and love my kids. But it helps for me to be able to say that as wonderful as this is, as much as I wouldn't trade it for anything - it's also mind numbingly difficult. That's a part of my life now too. I keep this blog for myself and my kids - so that next month or next year or ten years from now, I'll have a record of where I've been and where they've been. And as much as there's a tremendous amount of joy in being a SAHM, there's also a tremendous amount of work and stress. Not all the time, but sometimes it is really overwhelming.

Jessi said...

It's normal. You're not alone!

Amy said...

It must be something about today, because I am in the same place you are. I love being home with my son and would not change it for the world, but he's been sick or teething all month and yelling at me for no apparent reason. I was so overwhelmed today at lunchtime and had to go yell into my pillow while my poor little boy sat in the family room and cried. We ate lunch, took a nap and both of us have been a bit better this afternoon, but I could sure use a day off too.