On multiple occasions I have been told, “wow, you are living the dream!” 92% of the time I completely agree with these friends, acquaintances, or even strangers who have voiced that opinion about me. I’m done with school and I’m married to the man of my dreams. I get to stay home with my adorable little boy every single day in our beautiful home in our quiet little town, while my husband works 8-5 with very little travel at a job he loves. On paper it sounds marvelous. And, like I said, 92% of the time it IS marvelous. But then there’s that other 8%.Another day I will talk about the happy and successful 92%, how could I not? That’s a very large percentage! But for now, here’s my breakdown of the small 8% that sometimes has me questioning if I am in fact “living the dream”.
1% - a different kind of me-timeThere’s still me-time, it’s there; but it is definitely not the same. Before baby, I never got excited about having a free minute to wash my hair. Reading 5 pages of a book at a time didn’t use to be such a vacation. I still get the opportunity to do the things I love but often times it is cut short or I end up falling asleep!
1% - lack of sleepThey say eight hours of sleep is optimal for daily functioning and good health. I’ve recently heard that sleeping from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is ideal and we should try to mold to that sleep timeframe. But then there are people like me who need more. I’m a 9-10 hour sleeper; always have been, and probably always will be. I like my sleep. I need my sleep. Baby B has not been very cooperative with my sleep schedule, however, and I have had to adjust quite a bit to accommodate HIS sleep schedule.
1% - lack of adult socializationIf there is one thing I took away from my college degree in speech pathology, it is, that from the very beginning, babies need language! I’m finally getting to the point where I don’t feel like I’m talking to myself all day, now that B is more interactive and communicates back. Even still, there are days where I really truly miss adult conversation.
1% - mundane daily scheduleWake up, breakfast, play, lunch, nap, play, dinner, play, bedtime. Add a few diaper changes and a couple episodes of Chuggington and that is literally my day. Every day. Often times I’m done with my daily to-do list by 10 AM and have no idea what to do for the rest of the day to keep us both busy and make time move faster.
1% - other mothersEvery mom has something to share about motherhood. A lot of the time, other mom’s opinions and advice are helpful and enlightening. Other times…not so much. I quickly learned to take all advice with a grain of salt. Not all situations are the same (not even close!) and every parent has a different method of doing things. Just because other mommas decide to share tips or information with me doesn’t mean I need to use them! I also went through a phase where my feelings got hurt a couple of times due to things being said about a few of my parenting decisions. I toughened up pretty quickly and now it takes more than a few words to have me doubting myself and the way I’m raising my little boy.
1% - doubt & fearI have been given a miracle of a son whom I am responsible for. Being in charge of another human is no small task! I remember being scared when he was a newborn because he was so very fragile. Now that he’s running everywhere and climbing everything, and banging his head multiple times a day, it’s even MORE scary! Am I a good enough mom? Am I making the right decisions for my little boy?
1% validation is very rareI think the best words I could ever be told are, “you are doing a great job” or “you are a good mom” or even a simple “thank you” would be nice. My little boy is just now learning to say “thank you” but the only time he uses it, without being prompted, is when he is handing me a toy or a pretzel. Often times, it is hard to go the extra mile when I know it won’t get noticed.
1% guiltAlong with living the dream comes the guilt I have that I’m living the dream. Divorce, miscarriage, working mothers who want nothing more than to stay home, poverty, poor health, and other family issues lie all around me. What gives me the right to be living the dream? I don’t always feel deserving of this wonderful set-up I have been given, and although I have my hard days, I need to be better at acknowledging other people’s struggles and help buoy them up the best I can.
Okay, enough with the negativity. Because, when all is said and done and tallied up at the end of the day, or week, or many years yet to come, I know that I will forever be able to say that, for me, being a stay-at-home-mom is the quintessential dream set-up. All things considered: yes, I am living the dream.