Being a stay at home mom is way more difficult than I thought it would be. I always assumed it was just making sure the kids are fed, lots of playing, and spending the days in my pajamas. Piece of cake!
I have never been more naive.
When my oldest was 10 months old and I went from Project Manager to Baby Wrangler, it felt like my world turned upside-down. I longed for the office camaraderie and the *gasp* work that left me feeling accomplished and part of something. The never ending loop of feedings and diaper changes left me feeling alone and as much as I hate to admit it – less-than. I turned to blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram to spark ideas and figure out how to make this stay at home mom gig more fulfilling. It seemed like every mom I came across was a Wonder Woman, balancing kids with a booming business from home. All while blogging several days a week in a squeaky clean home office. Well, if they can be all of those things, so can I! Right?
Enter what was sure to be a lucrative career selling Scentsy, only to get burned out quickly when I realized every single friend or acquaintance knew at least one other Scentsy rep. Then I bought myself an inexpensive sewing machine, opened up an Etsy shop in September of 2014 and expected the sales to roll in. Did some craft shows and holiday bazaars, met some amazing creative types and discovered a love for T-Shirt quilts. Sure, they were fun! But trying to balance motherhood with quilt orders while being eight months pregnant proved difficult. I had to take a much-needed break before my youngest made his arrival.
By February I was jonesing to get back on the Etsy scene.
I took on a couple bedding orders, but bedding was getting boring. With a new baby that was breastfeeding around the clock and little choice in the way of cute, comfortable nursing wear, I took a leap and designed my own breastfeeding top. If I was looking for something functional and cute, other mamas had to be, too! The launch was good. Orders came in. A local business wanted to sell them in-store. Holy crap this is it! I can do all the things. No concern about FOMO for this mama. I CAN be a mom and a business woman and have tons of awesome, popular followers on social media.
I felt on top of the world.
My smart, cautious husband reminded me that I was but one person and how on earth could I make all the things and be everything for everyone? Be careful, he said. You’re going to get overwhelmed and stressed out, he said. Nah, I can handle this. Tons of moms do this stuff and look totally happy and love life and their kids and have it all!
He was right, of course. As much as I hate to admit it. As the orders came in and the requests for small batches were made, my brain slowly started shutting down. I am but one person. How can I make all of these tops and be a wife, mom, master of the house, friend, daughter, sister – and most importantly, make time for myself.
The house was a disaster, my oldest was spending way more time on the iPad than I’d ever imagined thanks to deadlines that had to be met. The sweet baby was hanging out in his jumperoo for long amounts of time instead of exploring his new, exciting world. Don’t even get me started on the laundry situation. I was so tired at the end of the day that I had nothing left to give and found myself in a pretty depressed mood by the time my hubs walked in the door.
I hit a wall.
Though all of these things were going right, my depression was worse than ever. How is it that I am becoming Super Woman and yet I’m miserable? Some serious soul-searching was needed.
And that’s when I realized what I’d been battling since my first born was just a chubby little babe. Fear of missing out. FOMO. That feeling of being less-than because I am a stay at home mom made me feel like I was missing out on life. All I ever wanted was to have the ability to stay home with my babies, raise them and be present for every awesome moment and when it finally happened I panicked and tried to run the other direction. I’ve been spreading myself so thin over the past two years that I haven’t been able to ENJOY my kids. The need to be a financial contributor in our family was so strong that it took over everything else.
But isn’t the whole point of being a stay-at-home-parent to be available to take care of the day-to-day?
“Hold down the fort” while the other parent goes to work and gets the paycheck? My husband reminded me that the job of taking care of two rambunctious boys is stressful enough without trying to add three other jobs on top. By trying to do so much, my most important job – taking care of my family – was getting pushed aside.
The relief that overcame me when I clicked vacation mode on Etsy solidified my decision to take step back and simplify my life. I played with my kids without the weight of a to-do list looming at the front of my mind. I sat down with an iced coffee and rediscovered my love for The Sims at nap time instead of immediately running to the sewing machine.
My blog’s theme has gone from product-pushing to lifestyle. A place for me to talk about new recipes, adventures and the latest DIY. This life is messy and cluttered and loud, but it’s lovely, and it’s mine.