I used to feel guilty for not being ambitious. Despite people constantly giving me recommendations on what I should do to make money, I have never been motivated by it. I don’t feel as though I am a lazy person. I just truly did not know what I wanted to do with my life.
For a few years I was in PR/Marketing, and I hated it so much. For me, it was a career that felt so phony and completely purposeless. I would roll my eyes at how seriously the clients took their ridiculous requests and I knew it was not for me. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that it serves a purpose in the world and can obviously be quite lucrative, it is just not for me. When I left there to become a flight attendant my intentions were to travel around for a few years before REALLY figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I realize now that I knew what I wanted, I was just embarrassed to admit it.
My parents split up when I was really young. I feel guilty writing this because my intention is not to hurt their feelings and call them out on being bad parents. I don’t doubt that they loved me, there were just times in my life that I knew they didn’t love me (or my sister) the MOST.
This is possibly just me being sensitive and needy, but I never felt like I was anyone’s main priority. I’m aware that this is a juvenile way of thinking and that they did their best. They were very young when they got married. I’m sure that by the time they were on their own again, there was almost an attempt to make up for lost time, while finally being able to do the things they had missed out on. Whether that be the people they dated, the careers/jobs they had, or the socializing they missed out on, it was not all about us. It was a different time.
Because of this, I just knew I wanted to be a mom. I wanted my kids to know how much I love them all the time. I knew that rather than searching for a career that I probably wasn’t going to be all that passionate about, I wanted the stability and the calm that I felt I had missed out on. I worried because… well… what kind of a feminist would that make me?! I wanted to get up and pack their lunches every day (sorry Stacey, your saltine crackers with peanut butter did the trick, but I was always envious of Heather’s English muffin pizzas), and be there waiting for them when they came home from school. I slowly became the annoying mom that leaves little notes in their packed lunches, will cut their grapes until they are 42, and attempt to shape sandwiches like hearts on Valentine’s Day.
Even though I’m often yelling in the mornings and crabby with them due to my exhaustion, I’m confident that they know that I love them more than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from being the old school perfect housewife. I am constantly drowning in piles and piles of laundry inside my always messy house, all while being the world’s worst cook (no exaggeration – ask my family).
The one thing I never expected from this life, is just how hard other moms are on each other. Just as I recognize that you can be an extremely driven person with an amazing career and still be a fantastic parent, I don’t always feel as though positive thoughts are reciprocated when your only job is to stay home. I feel invisible, like I don’t serve any purpose. I’m not sure what it is, but it almost feels like pity? “Oh I could nevvvver do what you do”, “I can’t imagine being home with my kids all the time, I would be soooo bored. I don’t know how you do it”.
Answer? I have no choice. This isn’t exactly where I thought I would be. I admit that I thought that by the time they were both attending school I would be back out in the real world, feeling as though I am a part of things again. I never imagined that I would literally have to be on call AROUND THE CLOCK. Nobody in their right mind would hire someone who can’t commit to any sort of schedule thanks to my pilot husband’s own wonky schedule, and leave at the drop of the hat if Maeve’s school calls. Not to mention that financially, this wouldn’t even make sense.
Everyone seems to have so much respect for my husband being the breadwinner of the family, but I don’t feel as though I get the same praise for staying home. With Maeve our circumstances became entirely different than we had anticipated. I can’t be made to feel any more invisible than I already do. This happens when your entire world becomes wrapped up in your kids. There are some SAHMs (stay at home moms) that really own this role. They run their families like they are a business with all of their extra curricular activities, vacations, volunteering, etc. We basically have none of that, and I’m still struggling!
I can’t go anywhere or do much of anything, so I often look for little things to make my kids happy. For example I just spent the last three nights staying up all hours putting together little Halloween treats for the girls and their friends. I know how this goes. I am going to be made fun of by the other moms. This always happens. “How do you have so much time on your hands?!” or my least favourite “You are such a Pinterest mom!” Said as though it’s a compliment, but it is so damn condescending and never fails to make me feel dumb. I’m not a complete moron, I’m well aware of certain women saying these things with the intention to make me feel small and irrelevant.
I have found this to be true since I had my first child. There seems to be some sort of competition that moms are in, that I don’t recall signing up for. I am definitely not the modern housewife/SAHM that you see on TV. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had my nails done, and I’m not going to be able to afford to get the much needed Botox, lypo, or the butt/boob lift any time soon. I have to carry on being the frumpy grumpy tired housewife that nobody really notices.
I understood my own desire to be an amazing mom, but I thought there would eventually be an end in sight. For the time being, my sense of accomplishment is that Maeve is thriving in school. All the hard work to get her into the class she is in has paid off. She is so excited to get on the bus every morning while independently setting off for her own little adventure. Or that her older sister is finally back at school and socializing with real life friends, and not just the kids that popped up on her computer screen for the last year and a half. I have to keep looking out for all of these little things in life, just to keep me going.
My life hasn’t exactly headed in the direction I thought that it would, but I am just going to keep chugging away and work with what I’ve got. I made my own little hilarious and loving people with someone that makes me laugh every day (don’t tell him I admitted that). I accomplished something that I had always wanted to do. It often feels like it is just the four of us against the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
To my fellow moms out there, the next time you see a SAHM that you may think is trying to one up you and win some imaginary “Mom of the year award”, just know that in actuality she is probably just excited to be having a conversation with another human adult, and is hoping you will ask her to do something so that she has a reason to get out of her leggings and feel like she does exist!
I am a stay-at-home mom in my 40s, still finding it hard to believe that this is my title in life. Mom of two young girls and married to a pilot (in other words… part time single parent). I am ‘Auntie Boom’ to Willowjak, and have the tattoo to prove it! My youngest was diagnosed with autism at 2, and finally a rare genetic disorder called DDX3X at 5. I’m almost always tired, and I feel as though my goal in life is to survive. I’m sure that I am not alone on this quest.