Do you want to know what one of the happiest times of my decade-long experience as a mom has been?
I can see it clearly in head: It was the first summer after I became a mother and I was in training for my new job. I worked 8-hour days at the time, got to dress in a cute outfit for work and my husband stayed home with our daughter.
I came home around 5 and immediately hit the couch to snuggle with my baby. On my days off and weekends, I would read by the pool as she slept next to me or we would go for long, leisurely walks. I remember feeling an enormous amount of satisfaction that I was making a paycheck every single day and also had enough energy to “play mom” at the end of my workday. It felt, dare I say, almost easy.
Then, reality set in when I became a stay-at-home mom.
The truth is, being home has never gotten easier for me. I find being a stay-at-home mom freaking exhausting. It’s exhausting being “on” all of the time, it’s exhausting feeling like every last single decision in your home and family rests on your shoulders (the other day my husband asked me permission to throw out some old ranch dressing, if that tells you how ridiculous a mother’s mental load is) and it’s exhausting waking up every single morning feeling like the entire direction and course of every person in your house stems from you.
Somehow, I didn’t feel like that when I was an out-of-the-home working mom. When I was working outside of the home, I felt more like a person with a life, too. As a stay-at-home mom, I feel more like a presence. A shadow. A constant who is always here but not really noticed.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way.