For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be two things: a teacher and a mother. Those two things have never wavered, but my timeline for them did. Things have happened and my plans have had to change, and not necessarily for better or for worse, they just simply changed, and thats okay! Because of those changes, I am now mom to three beautiful boys.
These three beautiful boys of mine are my life. Quite literally, my whole life. From the moment they were born, my heart changed, my mind changed, my body changed, my life changed, and in ways I never knew possible, good and bad and everything in-between.
After Noah was born I suffered with some postpartum depression. He was three months old when I had to go back to work. I sacrificed any sort of social life so I could work swing shift because child care was so expensive. I would go to work, pump on my lunch break, get off of work anytime between 12 and 2am, go home to a hungry baby, feed and change him, get a few hours of sleep before I had to be up on his schedule, and then repeat. I was so exhausted in every possible way, but these were the things I knew I had to do to provide for my baby, and there was a sense of peace that came with those struggles.
Fast forward a few years! I had been working at a local credit union and loved my job! I was on days, I could see Noah every lunch break, there was no weekend work, and I was able to really make some great friends. And then I got pregnant with Mr. Aydan! It was really an exciting time for us. I was excited to have another baby, I was loving my job, everything was great!
If you’re a working parent, (even if you aren’t, I’m sure you’re still aware) then I am sure you know how expensive childcare is. We thought we had a sitter lined up for after Aydan was born, but that fell through. So we were looking and looking and for two children in daycare full time, it would have taken my entire paycheck. We weighed our options: do I go back to work, keep the great benefits, to then have to pay my entire check to someone else so they can raise my kids? Or do I just leave my job and be a SAHM? It was a really difficult decision to make, and in the end, I chose to stay at home with my babies.
When Aydan was born, at first it was great! I was getting into a rhythm of being a mom to two boys and learning the new SAHM life. And I wasn’t showing signs of postpartum depression, AWESOME! But then things started to change. I just kind of flipped a switch, and everything was awful. I felt isolated, alone, depressed, stuck, lost. I felt so overwhelmed with our everyday life, that I just broke! And it lasted for at least a year. I was in this sea of struggles with waves so big, that everyday seemed to crash into me and drown me. Very few family and friends came to visit us (we were living about 25 minutes out of town at that time), there wasn’t a lot to do, the walks were limited, it felt like I was in a prison.
We knew that we needed to move. I needed a place that I could go and walk, somewhere closer to family and schools that we wanted our growing children to go to, grocery stores, etc. For my mental health, I needed out of where we were. So we moved into the home we are in now, and things started to change a bit. I was able to be a little more proactive in my mental health journey. I had family near by to help me and support me. I finally agreed to see my doctor and was diagnosed as bipolar, although I had known and thought this since I was in fifth/sixth grade. Having that official diagnosis, a lot of things started to make sense. As I was being an advocate for myself, I got pregnant again! I had to stop taking the medication I was just put on, and had to hope that with all my new crazy pregnancy hormones, I could just make it to the end.
Have you ever been detached from a pregnancy? This was a first for me. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with the other two, I felt this overwhelming feeling of love. With this last pregnancy, I felt this anger, a sadness, a resentment. On top of those disheartening feelings, I was diagnosed with SPD at 16 weeks pregnant (also a first) and couldn’t even walk two blocks. Getting out of bed, sleeping, sitting, standing, everything hurt so bad. They boys were getting into everything, running around like rabid animals. I was home by myself without being able to walk anywhere from the amount of pain I was in. It was a very dark time for me. The boys wouldn’t listen to anything I said, they were on countertops, in drawers, just running amuck all of the time. With all of these high emotions, I was hoping he would be born on time like his brothers, but I had a feeling he was going to cook for a while, and that gut feeling was right! He was born 8 days late! But once he was born, I was shocked at how quickly those feelings of detachment went away, and how fast that rush of love swept me off my feet. I am so saddened everyday that I didn’t get to love him the way I did with the others, and I feel so undeserving of the perfect baby that he is.
And now, here I am. SAHM to three little boys. Nox is six months old now. Friends and acquaintances are having their first babies. I am 25 with three. Not only do I have the three kiddos, but I have two very hyper children. They can be little lovers, but geez, these kids are just damn crazy! Running off the walls, yelling, fighting, punching, kicking, biting, pulling hair. And I’m THAT mom. They don’t watch anything violent, everything has to be rated G or TV-Y (hello Daniel Tiger!), they don’t have tablets, they don’t get to use my phone, I make them play outside with their tractors and the trampoline, and yet here they are, punching each other. Ummmm, why?!
I yell A LOT, I clean A LOT, and I cook even more! We currently have a broken dishwasher, its so cold outside that even MY kids don’t want to be out there for more than five minutes, we have a sick baby, no naps, early mornings, long nights (even though bedtime never changes). Most days I dread having to wake up and do it all over again. Please, don’t get me wrong, I love them with every fiber of my being, but I really loathe being a SAHM. I miss my friends, I miss peeing by myself, having a scheduled break every few hours, driving with the music on, being able to dress up to a standard, not being needed by three tiny humans AT THE SAME TIME ALL THE TIME, feeling rewarded in some way.
Right now, I feel we have more bad days than good days. It’s exhausting. And I try to change my mindset, literally all the time, but it just boils down to an unhappiness with my current “job”. I find myself hiding in my room, locking myself in the bathroom, walking outside to the backyard and sitting in front of the backdoor so they can’t follow me. At night after they’re in bed, I put the baby down and just sit in the burning hot shower thinking about what I’m doing wrong as a parent.
I understand this isn’t anyones “fault” but my own, but I do know this isn’t how I pictured it. I know that I am not meant to be at home all of the time, I know in my heart I still want to be a teacher, I know that I don’t have the time or the financial means to accomplish becoming a teacher right now, I know I have a heart to serve others, I know that this isn’t forever, I know I love them dearly and always will. On our good days, I am over the moon I get to have these cherished moments with them, but on bad days (again, feels like most days) I question what I am doing wrong, how did it get to this, is this really my life right now, why won’t they just listen to one damn thing that i tell them to do EVER, are they too young to cancel Christmas?
Being a stay at home mom, in my opinion, is the worlds hardest, most challenging, most thankless job there is. Would I change it if I could? Some days yes, and some days no. Will I look back on all of this in the many years to come and be happy and thankful that I was a SAHM? I really, really hope so. For now, I will just take it slow day by slow day and hope each one is better than the last.