Being a SAHM has turned me into a wimp.
“WHAT? How could you say that? Stay at home moms; they’re the backbone of our society! It’s a job just like any other (minus monetary pay) and the most important one at that! It takes a strong woman to be at home 24/7…”
Yeah, I know all that. I’m well aware that ALL moms are amazing and strong and incredibly important in raising kids that aren’t A-holes. Most days I remember this woman-power but I still have my “off” days. And on those days, I personally feel like this status has turned me into a wimp. Allow me to explain:
I used to teach elementary kids. Every day, I was responsible for their education and safety. Everyday, I interacted with coworkers and superiors that I wanted to please, angry parents that needed soothing, and I solved problems on the spot. After a long day’s work, I’d come home to be a doting wife and determined mother to my baby daughter. I was a multitasking queen; in the zone to handle whatever popped up that needed my attention. Then, I decided to stay home full time. This SAHM gig has been fantastic in so many ways but to be honest, I’ve gone soft.
Don’t ask me to call the furnace company to request the guy come back and fix his previous mistake, because nope—I’m too wimpy.
Talk on the phone to someone (anyone)? Why not just text? That’s much less personal and scary.
Go talk to the other mothers on the playground and possibly deal with awkward silences? My fear of those moments keeps me from making a new friend, I’m sure.
These silly worries stem from all my many hours alone with little people who can’t wipe their own butts, feed themselves beyond gummy snacks, and who possess a limited and very repetitive vocabulary. I’ve allowed myself to be conditioned to be “lazy” in areas like personal hygiene, socializing, and confidence because most days, all I see are the four walls of my home (which need to be cleaned).
But worse than these silly hesitations is how terrified I am at the thought of reentering the work force one day. Sometimes I picture what life would be like if my husband, our family’s sole provider, were to die suddenly or lose his job. What would I do? Obviously, I’d be more than willing to jump in and try going back to teaching but… would I be too rusty? Is my teaching license still active? The worry that arises about not even knowing how to check its status, let alone renew it, has me feeling weak and confused. What has happened to me? I used to rule the day and now I hesitate to pick up my phone when someone is calling me.
How did this wimpy Heather emerge from the ashes of the previously confident, over-achieving Heather? It’s not like being a SAHM is an easy job. If anything, taking on this role has given me more skills than what I had before. For example, my cooking abilities have evolved past burnt mac & cheese, my house is way more organized than it used to be, and I can budget now like no one’s business (stretching one paycheck over an entire month is no easy feat). So when did I start worrying about my ability to jump back into the adult world outside my doorstep?
Honestly, I don’t think there’s any way to tell. There wasn’t just one more pitiful day without grownup interaction or one more obnoxious toddler tantrum that I could single out and name as the “cherry on top.” All the errands I’ve completed with two ornery kids in tow, all the repetitive chores no one likes to do that fall to my plate—it all adds up. It all feels so constant, without any resolution, end, or achievement in sight. I feel valued by my family but not by society. So thus, I begin to doubt my worth to society if I ever need to reenter the work force.
This was a sad realization for me and I honestly don’t have any happy resolutions to conclude this article with. I don’t know how I can avoid feeling like a wimp, except to dive head first back into the world beyond my doorstep and my endless errands. But since going back to work is not an option for me right now, I’ll accept a new truth I hadn’t considered before:
Being a SAHM has made me strong in areas I was weak before, and weak in areas I used to be strong. I guess that’s okay because…
No one is perfect.
Do you agree? Am I the only one who sometimes feels like a wimp since becoming a SAHM?