I’ve been struggling for a while with the whole stay at home mom gig. When people found out how close we were having our girls (16.5 months) those that had been there said the first year would be a fog but once we made it through it would get so much better. Honestly I didn’t find the first year all that hard, sleep depriving yes but a struggle from day to day no. Our youngest is almost 1.5 years old and our oldest is getting closer to 3 than 2.5 and I am finding this so much harder. They both have their own amazing and challenging personalities. They are developing their egos, testing their boundaries and I feel like my soul is slowly dying.
I feel like a horrible human being, and a complete failure as a mother because being home with my girls is making me the opposite of happy, which is how I’m supposed to be feeling. I should be grateful and appreciative of the fact that I get to stay at home with my babies and not go back to work but I’m not. I’ve done some research and I don’t think I have postpartum depression because I am not struggling in any other aspect of my life, just with being at home with my girls. I have been keeping this to myself like a dirty little secret, too scared to share it with the world because how dare I have these feelings and emotions and still want to call myself a good mother.
Recently I left home for 1.5 weeks and went to do SPFX work on a TV show in Calgary. That’s a 6 hour drive from where we farm. For those who are just joining me I worked in the film industry for 10 years before falling in love with a farmer and becoming one myself. I had closed that door and didn’t really entertain the idea of opening it until my old FX boss messaged me with a job offering. My reaction to having that offer made me realize how much I missed that part of my life and my husband was so supportive, telling me to go without even one thought to how hard that would make his life. There were a couple crocodile tears shed as I drove away and then nothing but excitement. I worked crazy long hours all week, the way we always do in film and loved every second of it. I didn’t think of my girls much or miss them. I revelled in reconnecting to that part of me that had been put on hold for the last 4 years.
What they don’t tell you about when you are pregnant is all the guilt that suddenly descends on you when you become a mother. The fact that I didn’t miss my girls or think about them 24/7 while I was at work wracked me with guilt, just another thing to point out how much I am failing as a mother. I had been home less than 48 hours and had a meltdown. I posted a video in my moms group (if you don’t have one find one! seriously such an important tool for surviving) I was crying about being overwhelmed, because being at home with my girls makes me frustrated and angry and then I yell and feel bad about being a horrible mom and about not wanting to be a stay at home mom. They helped me accept my feelings as normal and encouraged me to loose the mom guilt monster attached to my back. I have realized that I am a better mom when I get to walk away and come back, wether or not that is for work, exercise or girls night. I had a blast returning to film and am hoping to make it a fairly regular occurrence. I can’t take a full show but the odd week here or there is 100% doable.
I wrote this because I want everyone who has ever shared or struggled with the same feelings as me to know that they are normal and that they should not be ashamed or feel guilty. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world especially when they are young. We are sleep deprived, they take and take and take without knowing how to show their appreciation or give back and we are constantly trying to live up to unrealistic standards in our societies. We live in an age where perfection is splattered across our lives everywhere, internet, magazines, movies, advertisements, photoshopped everything. Pictures and stories are staged and airbrushed and no one wants to share the bad and the ugly only the good. Its like we tiptoe and push ourselves so hard to keep up with the unrealistic expectations of society. If you want to be a stay at home mom and are fulfilled by doing so that is amazing, honestly I wish I had it in me. But if you are like me and feel that working and spending time apart from your kids makes you a better mom embrace it. Get that guilt monkey off shoulder and give yourself a pat on the back. You are an amazing women, you are strong, multifaceted and you are passionate, never doubt that you are enough ❤️