Last year, I quit my job to be a stay-at-home-mom. I can’t believe it’s been more than twelve months already. I didn’t quit because I hated my career. I enjoyed the work I did and I was secure in my work identity.
Anytime someone asked me what I did for a living. I proudly shared I was a chemist serving moms and newborns. I owned it!
I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed sharing my work title (and all those that preceded the last one) until I didn’t have it anymore.
Now, when I’m asked about my work, I feel less confident sharing that I’m a full-time mom. It may come out as a mumble instead of an exclamation.
Why can’t I just say “I’m a full-time mom” with the pride and confidence that the title deserves?
I did some introspection and here are my thoughts.
6 REASONS STAY-AT-HOME-MOM-LIFE FEELS LIKE AN IDENTITY CRISIS
1. The Comparison Game
Women have children every day and many of them go back to work afterward and manage to be amazing moms and providers. My decision to leave my career and fully focus on being a mom sometimes seems like I took the path of least resistance. BUT, it’s not least resistant – motherhood has challenges, no matter our individual circumstances.
Yet, I too often compare myself with the mythical mom I thought I’d be before giving birth and other moms in real life and on social media.
How can she have three businesses, a clean house, great hair, manicured nails, a supportive partner, and well-behaved children?
Now, that I am aware of my tendency to compare, I ask myself different questions like:
- Why do I think that another mom has it all together when all I see are well-curated photos?
- Who says her life is what it seems?
- How does comparing myself to her make me feel?
- How am I making my life better by assuming something about someone else?
- What actions would be more useful for my family and me?
It’s mind management and it’s difficult but necessary.
2. The Tug-of-War
Figuring out what I value most led me to quit my job. Yet I find myself in a tug-of-war.
- Wouldn’t it be awesome for my daughter to see me working?
- Did I go to school and earn four degrees to be a full-time mom?
- I want to be with my daughter. Am I doing it for her? Or for myself?
- When is the best time to go back to work?
While I can’t always control my thoughts, I’ve decided to just live in the present and pray for guidance. I’m enjoying being a mom and my daughter is thriving. That’s what matters most right now.
3. The Privilege
I understand that not every woman wants to be a stay-at-home-mom and it’s not for every woman. However, there are women who would love to stop working to stay home but can’t afford to lose their income.
It’s a privilege to stay at home voluntarily but moms can be saddled with guilt when they admit that every day at home isn’t amazing.
How do we articulate how hard some days are emotionally and even physcially without being accused of being ungrateful?
4. The Conformation
I’ve been with my husband since college and married for five years before having a child. In those years, there was very little conformity to gender to roles. We both worked and cooked and life was easy-going with very few defined structures.
Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, I feel like the I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T woman attitude has been humbled. Traditional gender roles have crept into our family life. My husband is the bread-winner and I do the majority of the homemaking.
Did I betray my inner feminist?
5. The Transition
Lifestyle changes are rarely easy but caring for a newborn can be just as overwhelming as it is amazing. There is a transition period that isn’t always smooth.
There is this period when the baby takes all your attention and energy. Then, one day you are no longer sleepwalking and you’ve survived the fourth trimester and postpartum shedding didn’t leave you bald.
You realize life gets easier, but in the beginning, it’s a struggle that can feel difficult and maybe even isolating at times.
How do you share your new title proudly when you are new to the role and learning something new about being a mom each day?
6. The Juxtaposition
When I was working after becoming a mom, I didn’t like coming home exhausted with little to no energy left for my daughter. I didn’t enjoy feeling rushed all the time. I didn’t like the feeling of not being fully present and focused when I was at work and at home.
I’m not stressed or rushed.
- I have time to sit and enjoy breakfast and have extra long cuddles in bed.
- I plan impromptu picnics in the living room and sing songs in the kitchen with spatulas.
- I no longer have a few roles, I have dozens of roles (teacher, chef, chauffeur, entertainer etc.).
Life has changed drastically and we don’t yet know what that means in the long run but it feels amazing (most of the time) and more exhausting than I ever imagined.
I am beyond thrilled with everything I accomplished before becoming a mom but now I’m on a new journey. My new role has made me more passionate, more conscious, more intentional, and beyond grateful.
My pre-mom identity may have been about proving my value to the world, now my world is my family. I love being a wife and a mom more than I imagined and I hope that one day the title of mom gets the same reverence as every other respectable role. But I know that has to start from moms cherishing and lifting up the title with confidence.
Dear New Stay at Home Mom
If you are a new stay-at-home-mom struggling with identity concerns. Just believe what you are doing is important and valuable. You aren’t alone and most likely you are on a path designed specifically for you and your family. Enjoy the giggles, the cuddles, the kisses, and the mess. It’s all part of the journey.
Next time someone asks about your career, tell them you’re a mom with confidence.
Are you a stay-at-home-mom? Did any of the thoughts I shared resonate with you?