The Other Side

by tinysneakers

It’s the start of a new year, and even more profoundly, the end of my baby’s first year of life. I know that means I’m supposed to start waxing poetic about what a fantastic year it was and how freaking awesome life with the little guy is. And I promise I’ll get to the happy and sappy stuff. Probably more than you’ll ever care to read.

But that’s not for today. Today I tell you about the part that no one seems willing to admit.

The part where I can’t fall asleep at night even though I’m thoroughly exhausted because I’m riddled with anger and resentment. There are days where I’m really, really pissed off and wondering how I got here. Resentment for all the hours of sleep I missed, the work I didn’t get done, the opportunities I passed up, the friends I don’t see. Angry that I spent my days stressing about how to get everything that needs to be done accomplished; angry that the some days the peak of my social life is school drop-off. Angry that I can’t run or get in a good workout. Angry that I’m unsatisfied intellectually and professionally. Angry that I feel so very alone in this.

And mostly angry that I’m angry.

As a mom, you willingly give up anything for your child. I never intended to be a stay at home mom- I intended to be a work at home mom. And I am- but barely. Every mom is probably snickering behind her computer screen right now. Of course it’s nearly impossible to work and take care of kids without help. I was constantly stressing about deadlines and getting things done and moving things forward, but it wasn’t working so I stepped back a little. That helps with some of the stress, but then it leaves me unfulfilled.

And then the guilt creeps in for being unfulfilled when I get to spend every hour of the day home with my child. Only the lines are much more blurry than that- I love spending that time with him. I cannot stand being away from him. When he’s awake and I’m with him, I don’t want to be doing anything else. It’s just a big picture thing- the feeling like I’m not accomplishing or contributing in a productive manner, and that the things I have to do are not the things I want to be doing.

The whole thing starts a cascade of emotions. There are days when I feel lost and unworthy. Other people can handle this, why can’t I? Why isn’t it enough but at the same time too much? I’m unbalanced and unsure and often resent the burden of responsibility that’s been placed on my shoulders.

This isn’t all the time. But no one seems willing to admit things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. The days that are filled with clingy crankiness can get rough. Although KB thankfully sleeps at night now, he’s not a napper. I hear about moms being able to get things done during 1-2 hour naps twice a day and I turn green with envy. I could do a lot with a couple hours. But I know the grass is always greener and I know everything changes in an instant.

I’m a broken record constantly begging for more time. More time! But I also know enough, that no matter how hard those moments and emotions and struggles are, that I need to appreciate every moment with my baby. I really truly wouldn’t want it any other way, it’s just an ongoing struggle to figure out how to make things work.

Enough of that. Sappy posts to follow. Winking smile

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica { EricaDHouse.com } January 3, 2013 at 7:43 am

I don’t have any kids and as I approach 30 it’s on my mind a lot more often now. I always wonder how I’ll be able to handle the stress as you just described so perfectly. I don’t know how well I could take it! I’m sure other Mom’s will support you on this and how absolutely not alone you are in your feelings.

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Katie Heddleston January 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

It’s great to get these feelings out – so many moms can relate. Can’t believe Kabes is practically a year!

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misszippy January 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

I’m really sorry you are going through this. It is NOT an easy job, staying home with kids. What worked for me when mine were younger was having a sitter come in P/T. I got work done, I got workouts in, and I felt a lot more fulfilled that way. It was the perfect balance for me. I hope you can figure out what is the right scenario for you to unload some of your stress!

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julie January 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

Thank you for posting this. I feel the same way all the time. Nobody talks about it, but they should!

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Monica January 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

Right there with you. My 8.5 mo old is not a napper either and I get so jealous of those Moms that are like “Oh, you know, I just do the housework during my kid’s 2.5 hour afternoon nap.” Then I look at the disaster that is my house and want to cry.

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Emily Malone January 3, 2013 at 11:02 am

Heather, I feel ALL of this. Particularly the part about being unfulfilled professionally and intellectually. And I feel completely guilty for it too. But like you, I don’t actually want to change anything because I can’t imagine not being home or – gasp – MISSING something! It’s such a catch 22, and I get caught in a vicious cycle that leads to zero progress. I have taken a lot of that resentment and frustration out on my husband this year, which is also not a productive solution. I don think it’s slowly starting to get better. Who knows. Thanks for being so honest!

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tinysneakers January 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels this way but still doesn’t want anything to change! I take it out on my husband too- poor guy. Sometimes that’s easier than taking ownership of my own frustrations. Things change so fast with these little guys that I just remind myself that these frustrations can change just as quickly!

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Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

You are definitely not alone. I felt lots of anger and resentment and still do at times. It’s hard! It was definitely the hardest adjustment for me – losing my sense of autonomy, my sense of self and you’re right – no one talks about it which just perpetuates the cycle of guilt for feeling this way. But we’re human and I think that it’s normal to feel this way. My kids are 3 and 5.5 and I just recently wrote a guest post about something similar: http://www.raising-humans.com/2012/12/27/growing-together-its-not-about-me-from-love-life-surf/

Hang in there. It gets easier. It helped for me to have some help when the kids were younger to give me a few hours of alone time to workout or do whatever it was that I needed/wanted to do.

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tinysneakers January 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

I loved your guest post! I can completely relate to what you said about understanding your role rationally but your gut taking more time to get used to it. It’s really refreshing to hear these things from people that have a lot more experience in the whole parenting thing than I do at just a year!

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Amanda January 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

I guess that’s the thing about motherhood- its sacrificing yourself, every single day. Nope, its not pretty. But that list of things we are “missing out on” is worth it to me, because the list of things I would REALLY be missing out on if I chose not to be here for my kids would have much more of an impact- and not just on me. Motherhood strips away our selfishness, and sometimes it really does hurt. Its a choice we made. And its really all about your perspective. Keep your chin up.

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tinysneakers January 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

That’s exactly why I think people hesitate to admit these emotions do pop up- because it doesn’t matter how hard it is, it’s totally worth it and I really wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s more about learning, evolving, and adjusting along the way as we figure it all out.

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie January 3, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Thank you so much for being so honest and open about this. I don’t have kids yet but it is good to know realistically some things to expect.

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Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's January 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

You’re definitely not alone. I’m also angry that since I’m the only one with kids in my group of friends they have just ousted me out of any social gathering. I’m a mom not an invalid. It’s hard to talk about these feelings without sounding ungrateful, lord knows I am blessed. Every single parenting experience is a different struggle.

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Marci January 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I felt a lot of that too, mostly in the first five months when I wasn’t working out of the house. When I went back part time, everything changed. I became my old self again–happy, balanced, slept better, got more done. For me, I need to get out and be around adults, but also be home part time. The half and half works for me, Logan goes to school, I get to be stimulated, run errands, and tidy the house. I know some people love being home, but it wasn’t for me full time. If he goes to school some, I would recommend extending the hours.

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I think you just took the words out of so many other mother’s mouths. My kids are now 2.5 yrs and I still feel that way sometimes. I work part time and am home with them part time. It’s a nice mix but there are times when I feel angry that my professional career is on hold and I’m not contributing enough. But then there are times that I think I’d rather not work at all and be home with them all the time. It has gotten better with time. Hang in there!

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Courtney January 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm

Aww hang in there. I deal with that in some dose every day. H has been much more trying in cling obese then A was and it is very sweet and very exhausting. Sadly it is just a part of motherhood. I never get everything done I’d like, and I scold myself for spending too much time with or on my phone, but often times it feels like yor only link to the outside world. And I spend many a night fretting that I didn’t play enough with the girls, they watched too much tv that day, I’m not creative enough as a mother, etc etc. call me anytime, it is TOTALLY normal (at Least for me) to feel that way!

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Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family January 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Girl I feel you. I was applying to med school when I met Chris, the Army changed those plans. Now, I am a SAHM feeling like I am wasting away my dreams. While I couldn’t imagine not spending this time with Em, I still feel a huge sense of being unfulfilled. I have to remind myself that I am not JUST a mom, I am HER mom and every single thing I do could shape her entire life. That’s a lot of responsibility so maybe I’m doing something pretty significant after all.

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Casey @ Thislittlechickpea January 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Thank you for such an honest post! As a working mama who wishes every day that I was able to stay home with my son, it is definitely refreshing to hear from the other side. My son has been an “easy” baby, especially in comparison to KB (sleeping through the night from under 3 months, 1-2 naps everyday, no problems with allergies, etc.) and I still get occasionally frustrated and need a break. As I get further into the journey of motherhood, I come to realize that every mom thinks they have it worse and no other mom feels the way they do, much less would ever talk about it! Keep your head up girl, as he gets older, it will get easier. Your career goals may be on hold for a while but you will get back into it and be just as successful as before!

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Melissa January 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Another, right there with you. Thanks for writing the words I have felt and said to myself. I love being home with my 14 mo daughter, wouldn’t have it any other way (besides more help). I also thought I would have more time, time, time to be a WAHM, among other things. The ‘work’ part is slow coming. Trying to find a balance.

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Halsy January 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Thank you so much for opening up and being honest! I really needed to read this post! I always feel guilty when i am feeling other feelings than the sunshine and rainbows! Being a parent is tough and I have a child that also does not nap and it can be hard! I sometimes feel like I just need some me time that never gets to happen!

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Daisy January 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Hey, you’re not alone! I work part time from home and the first year was tough, who am I kidding, it’s still tough – but it’s so worth it and I am finding more joy in each day. There definitely is truth to the fact that I love my baby who can respond and is turning into a human being better than the lump of cuteness that just eats and poops and thens sleeps if I’m lucky. I also don’t forget about what makes me happy and making sure I fulfill myself that way. It’s also important to be realistic… it’s great but it’s a choice and sometimes it sucks, but so is any job and this one is the most rewarding ultimately. Check out powerofmoms.com for some great insight, suggestions and stories of moms just like you. I found so much joy in that website wondering where my mom training was. Good luck!

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