I became a mom at 19. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to have children. I loved babies and taking care of them. I am a caregiver, it’s just in me. I became a full time stay at home mom in early 2007. I had only been working part time since October 2006. Layla was about to arrive and we decided it was the best for our family. We sacrificed a lot for me to stay home, but it was a decision we will never regret.
It was a big adjustment, though. I wasn’t prepared for the emotional side of the change; it was very unexpected. At first, I loved being home with my oldest and having the flexibility that it gave us. It was great! Then I started feeling bad about it. I have always worked and helped to support myself and my family. No longer contributing financially was very hard for me to come to terms with. I felt bad if I spent any money, even if it was on something that cost $10. If it wasn’t a necessity, I felt guilty. This wasn’t my money, this was my husband’s money. It was really hard for me to have to rely on someone else to take care of me.
Then there was the loneliness. I no longer had the adult interactions I once had. It was now limited to my husband calling me during his lunch breaks and the cashier at Target or Wegmans. I was used to always being on the go and being around other people. I remember talking to my husband about all of these struggles and wondering if I’d ever feel better. I’m sure the pregnancy hormones heightened all of this.
Now, here we are, 8 1/2 years later and I have to adjust again. My 3 kids are all in school. My youngest started Kindergarten. The years of being needed at home full time are gone. I have been running my own business for 4 years, but I’ve done this with a little one home (aside from preschool 2 days a week for 2 hours).
I know many parents are sending their youngest off to school this year. I’m not alone. We all will have different feelings on the matter. Some will be excited for their new found “freedom”, the opportunity to discover themselves and have time to themselves. Those who work out of the home full time are probably thankful for a lower or eliminated child care bill. It’s always nice to save money! I’m happy they are excited and looking forward to this new chapter. There is nothing wrong with not feeling really sad or bad about them all being in school.
It is different for me, though. I don’t want to find myself because I feel that I found myself when I became a mom. When I finally adjusted to being a stay at home mom, I knew that was where I was meant to be. I didn’t have any purpose in my life until I had my children. Sure parenting isn’t always easy, but it has given me a reason to want to live. I know some find attachment parenting ridiculous and even think moms who are so “obsessed” with their kids are weird, but this is who I am. I know that part of being a parent is to raise them to go out on their own and be independent and we are doing that. However, right now, I’m letting go of a chapter of my life and I need to mourn that. I need to adjust. I will be sad and feel like I’ve lost a bit of myself. Why should there be shame in that? It’s who I’ve been for so long. I have my business and will be busy. Maybe having that will force me to adjust quicker. There is a part of me that is thankful for them being in school full day now. I can create a schedule and have better quality time with them. I can set business hours and do better for both my family and my clients. But for today, I need today. I need a minute to feel and not apologize for it or feel bad about it.