I stay home. These words carry quite a stigma for any stay-at-home mom and especially me. I didn’t want to stay home. I didn’t want to deal with the people that would judge me for staying home. I didn’t want to deal with the snide comments or even those that were well-meaning. I didn’t want to face the unknown.
In July 2010 I became a mom, but my mind wasn’t there until after the birth of my son. Even with such a difficult first pregnancy, I still had on my blinders and expected to go back to teaching the start of the next school year. I taught at a year round school and we started school at the end of July. My doctor didn’t want me to go back to work. I guess it was just assumed, but I really didn’t acknowledge it. I begged and pleaded with my doctor the week before to let me go in and work the two teacher days. I promised I’d even take the elevator, I’d just simply sit at my desk and create lesson plans for the first 9 weeks of school (since that’s all I was taking off). He finally agreed that I’d probably be okay, PLUS I threw in there–when at work I was closer to the hospital!! I had this all figured out…
Until I didn’t. Little did I know, my son would be born on the first teacher work day that I was “allowed” to go to. Little did I know I’d be in the NICU spending every waking and sleep walking moment with my son. Little did I know in those wee hours taking my son freshly pumped breast milk to be placed in his NG tube, what lie ahead.
I never left my son’s side. My doctor allowed me to stay in my maternity suite for a week. The next weekend too many ladies started coming in to deliver so I got moved. I begged, I had the nurses beg the pediatric doctors to allow me to stay in the NICU family suite. I was so fortunate that I was with my son nearly 24 hours a day. Little did I know, just how much I’d take pride in this motherhood thing.
We get my son home, and about the end of September my husband starts mentioning how I should just stay home the rest of the semester. I agree because really it was just 4 or 5 extra weeks until the semester was over. November rolls around and I start getting fed up with being home. The motherhood loneliness set it. Yes I had my friends, yes I had the internet, but I started to get bored and felt unappreciated. The lies set in. My husband suggests that I just stay home the rest of the year. I put my foot down and refused. We had all-out arguments over this. I wanted a “normal” life. I wanted to go to work and feel appreciated. I wanted the kids, the money, the glories that come with teaching, I wanted the vacations, the luxurious life I saw on TV and what it looks like from others.
I promise you, God made it so clear to me that I was to be a stay-at-home mom EVERY DAY I was in my classroom. I won’t go into too many details, but I fell in love with my classes. I fell in love with every bit of teaching again. I got the accolades I wanted. I knew I was good and just proved to myself I was good, again. I had purpose. But when I got home I was wiped. I had already given my 100% at school. But I had a son and a husband that got nothing from me. We came to the conclusion quickly–ok not we, me because my husband already had it figured out!!, that would be my last semester teaching in the classroom while we had young children.
At first I used the excuse of getting my master’s degree. But those that knew me well, knew I wanted another baby quickly and I wanted to follow what I was supposed to be doing–raising my children. How did I get over those judgements? How did I deal with the sneers?
The answer: I do it one by one. Most of the time people congratulate me and tell me I’m doing what I should be doing. But I still have people in my life that make condescending remarks or it’s their silence that speaks loudest. I’m still learning to deal with the loneliness, the isolation at times. But what I’m doing is something more important: creating a bond with my children and family that will last a life time. My children and I know each other so well already. This website/blog wouldn’t even be occurring if it hadn’t been for my son knowing my needs at one particular moment. Click here to read the story.
I’m so grateful to be on a mission to create this family that God placed in front of me. I’m so grateful for being challenged every day of my life. You see, teaching is so natural to me. Teaching is something I’m already good at. Teaching and teenagers are a passion of mine. It’s easy. God knew I needed challenged. I say, Challenge Accepted.
Are you struggling with being a stay-at-home mom and the stigma that comes with it? Are you struggling because you want to be a stay-at-home but just can’t? What are your thoughts?