Parenting: WAHM vs. Sanity
If there’s one thing our families and friends know about Abigail and me, is we love to network and socialize! Whether that means by hosting (or attending) informal playdates, or by meeting up with friends (kid-free) for dinner and drinks. We try very hard to maintain a network of other parents who can not only relate and support each other, but who can understand and appreciate each other.
Unfortunately, throughout the years we have learned how difficult that can be at times. Friends become busy and caught up with their lives, our schedules become too hectic: we cancel playdates, skip our dinner dates with friends, and all of a sudden we have lost touch with some of the most important people in our lives.
During the last two years, I have transitioned from working OUT of the home, to working IN the home. I admit, I do miss the extra income and break from parenting – especially now that my son has entered his toddler years. Everything has become 10x more dramatic and interesting these past few months. However, every time I find myself checking craiglist.org for jobs, I remember why I chose to stay home and teach Baby Signs: I wanted to enjoy watching and learning from my child. The spilled milk and scattered cheerios mean more than “another mess to clean up.” It means, “Mommy, I need some attention!”
In addition, aside from missing the extra income, I have been so surprised to have met wonderful moms (and women) these past few months – both as a mom and Baby Signs instructor. I have learned more from them than I could ever learn working away from the home. I feel much more supported – and honestly more appreciated – than I ever did working in an office. Additionally, I feel that the things I choose to do, whether for them or for the children, aren’t because I want people to praise me or tell me “what a good job I did,” but because I want to spend time with other like-minded people and give myself a mental break.
Being a work at home mom, I can recommend two things:
1. Find a good support network of other parents – or even WAHMs – and put in the EFFORT to maintain strong positive relationships. They will be your life-line when you feel your life is spinning out of control, because I guarantee you – someone has had a similar experience. I can proudly say that many of my “mommy” friends have helped me survive these initial years of parenting where I can admit I knew nothing about.
2. Don’t be afraid to set aside that email (or in my case, blog post) and give your child some attention. When I hear “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy…” and feel the endless pulling on my arm or leg, I look over at my child and see eager eyes asking for nothing more than love. While it’s tempting to ignore their cries for “one more second,” the times I find myself scooping him up and giving him a snuggle, both of us are happier and calmer. It’s a win-win situation.
As I look around the house tonight, I see dirty socks and PJs lying on the floor and sticky spots of who-knows-what on my couches, it all reminds me that this was the life I chose. This was the path I chose. And I could not – and would not - ask for anything else.