When Motherhood Isn’t Your Thing

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I always knew I wanted to stay home and raise a family. Before Darren and I ever decided to marry, I told him what I wanted to do and he agreed–someday, when the time was right, I would leave the workplace and stay home. And that’s exactly what I did–after 6 years of marriage, work, home buying, and traveling, we decided it was time to start a family and whole-heartedly welcomed a baby into our lives.

I loved the first year at home–though of course, at times, it was very hard and was a huge adjustment from my former office job. That first year was just me and Roman most of the time as Darren was working, going to school, and remodeling our house. From sun up to sundown (and plenty of times throughout the night) Roman was in my arms or at my side. I was zeroed in that first year, present and focused on enjoying my baby boy before he was no longer a tiny little thing in my arms. I am proud of that first year and have very few regrets about how I spent my time with our son.

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But this year, with a now 18 month old toddler, things have been different. I’m struggling. No, I’m drowning. I’m starting to realize that the baby stage was my happy place but this whole toddler stage just isn’t my jam. Roman is a wild, busy little thing and we are both going a little batty being stuck inside during these long winter months. He’s bored and I’m bored and we’re both driving each other crazy.

Truth be told, I want to put him in daycare and go back to work. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that but I’m just surprised to find myself feeling this way after so many years of wanting to start a family and stay home.

Maybe I’m just tired, discouraged, or disillusioned. Maybe it will pass as things often do.

Or maybe motherhood isn’t my thing and it turns out I’m really not all that good at the one thing I spent my whole life preparing for.

I don’t know.

I know Roman isn’t going to daycare because it makes no sense for me to go back to work right now. By the time I settle into a job and know what I’m doing, I’ll be pregnant again. That’s just where I’m at in life right now. I want more children and I want to stay home with each child for at least the first year and you can’t just hop in and out of work at your own leisure. So for right now, my life is at home.

I don’t have a problem with committing my life to home for as long as this is where I need to be. I’m just struggling to figure out how to make this whole home all day every day with a cranky toddler thing work in such a way that there’s some peace and happiness in our lives again.

I want to be a good mom, not the cranky, frustrated one I’ve become of late. But how do I reconcile who I am and how I’m struggling with patient, loving parenting and a happy, healthy home?

Beats me.

If you have answers, I’m all ears.

I’m sorry this isn’t my usual “life is beautiful and magical” type post but I’m just not there right now. This isn’t a mommy blog but I’m knee-deep in motherhood and struggling to find my voice in this space as I once did. I miss writing and photographing and I’m determined to get back to it. But in the meantime, this is where I’m at, this is why I’m absent, and until I can come back with something nice to say, I’m not coming back at all :]

14 thoughts on “When Motherhood Isn’t Your Thing

  1. oh Kari, how beautiful is all of this. As you wrote this, I was busy with my daughter and her 18 month old daughter being here. Yes, 18 months are busy. I had forgotten. But, as I watched my daughter deal and get frustrated and question her ability to mother, I remembered. My daughter was here waiting for her new home to close in Florida and she was here while her love was starting his new job. Here was the choice so that she and the baby could have some time with us, and also not be cooped up in a small efficiency apartment while their house closed. This is a short season, although it feels like forever. Soon they will be all grown and potty trained and able to fix their own food, and you will once more yearn for those days of craziness. Yes, you are a good mom. You are equipped perfectly to be the mom for Roman. For the Lord created you to be his mom. No one else could give to him exactly what he needs to become the man he will one day be. You were hand chosen to raise him. You are equipped, and because of that, he is a blessed little boy. ❤

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  2. Don’t say maybe motherhood isn’t my thing… Look at you, Read your posts. Spring is here and you can get outside. You need a hobby, something that will challenge you. But your job right now is Mommy.

    p.s. Terrible Twos is just around the corner… ask Cheryl what you were like. Oh wait, I know… a little angle.

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  3. Another good one. I think every mother has felt the way you are feeling now. This will be little comfort to you, but it does go fast–and then you’ll want it all back again.

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  4. Hi. Long time reader, first time commenting. I’ve always admired your writing and enjoyed your blog. I have a little girl a couple of months older than your sweet Roman and also stay home with her. Just wanted to say that I appreciate the candor of this post. Like you, I always envisioned myself at home with my little ones and it has taken me aback (to put it very mildly) at just how challenging staying at home is. And I’m not referring to the daily logistics, but the emotional and mental wilderness that this journey entails. Or maybe that’s just motherhood, no matter the path. I can’t say really.

    What I have found is that self care has taken on a level of critical importance. It is so easy when caring for my family 24/7 to not just neglect my needs, but to become so out of touch with myself that I’m not quite sure what exactly it is that I do need. Self-care requires a conscientious, daily commitment on my part, but seeking out the things that rejuvenate me is critical to my sanity and my mothering. So seek out what fills your souls, moves your body and relaxes your shoulders. Motherhood is not easy work, but as your follow up post to this so beautifully captures, such important work. Hang in there.

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  5. I don’t understand why you think you can’t dip in and out of work, why not, people do that all the time. If you want to work even for a few hours children benefit massively from the social aspect of daycare. If you truly feel bad about not committing to a company as you may fall pregnant again why not volunteer? Just a few hours can help voluntary organisations as well as help you get out there and discuss things non baby related. Also, please don’t put your life on hold awaiting the next pregnancy, whilst I hope you get your idea of the perfect family brood, things don’t always go to plan. If it does great, if it doesn’t do not allow yourself to be disappointed either. A positive empowered woman is the best mum so do what you need for you. If you get chance find the recent you tube of Jada Smith talking to her child about her life, inspiring.

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  6. Friends are so important in this stage! Find some other moms, and also spend time with friends with no kids. Find a weekly thing you can go to with your son – like a class or storytime at the library – to help break up the day and the week. Try to do something each day that brings you joy.

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  7. I’m impressed that you loved the infant stage so much. I don’t do babies! Currently, my first is 3 yrs and my second is 5 months old. I remember how happy I was when our first baby made it to the year mark. I could do this now! I could be a mom to a toddler. Of course, he was in daycare and I was working. Now, I stay home with our two kids as I quit after the second baby and I knew it was going to be the hardest thing so I did my best to prepare by giving MYSELF specific things to do (and thankfully my husband makes it happen):
    1. get out with a walking buddy
    2. 3-year old goes to preschool
    3. monthly writer’s group
    4. monthly book group
    5. play soccer again (when spring eventually arrives)
    What are you doing to take care of yourself? It’s so easy to get wrapped up in doing everything for our sweet kids, but don’t forget how important it is to take care of mom, too.
    Oh, and way to rock it as a mom of an infant. That stage is so hard, exhausting, confusing, emotional, and so on!

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  8. Like Cheryl said, every stay at home mom has felt this. Every mamma feels this. Being inside with the children, especially when the weather is wild outside is the craziest thing ever but the days shift, moods shift, stages changes. It is a crazy ride. My two now 8 and 5 are both at school and I am slowly feeling I am crawling back to the woman I was before but very much changed since motherhood. I look back and the days of sleepless night and the result of me being in a strange comatose world change unruly toddlers seem almost long gone. When I was in the thick of it , it seemed never ending. I felt alone, grumpy, sad and unfulfilled. I have often wondered about the career that never became but in truth whether you are a working mum or a stay at home mom, the role of motherhood is the hardest, solitary, unthanked jobs but ultimately and more importantly the most rewarding and the best and most crucial roles we ever do. We are raising the next generation, they need us to guide them until they can fend for themselves and then they still need us. We are the source of their spiritual, emotional and educational development . We (mothers) are the child’s first teacher. Most don’t speak of this, I always wondered why everyone else seemed to cope but it is that unspoken subject. So thank you for this most and stay strong. 🙂

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  9. Thank you for your truthfulness. We all have different things that push us. Maybe motherhood is that obstacle for you. But I agree with Cheryl and think that you just have to keep moving forward and keep trying.

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  10. Believe it or not EVERY stay at home has felt this way at one time or another, every one of us. But as a mom whose children are now grown and gone from my nest, I can only encourage you to stay with it. I can remember feeling like I was wasting my life, my talents, etc. I had no time for anything BUT mothering, and it was exhausting in every way. Now I have all of that time that I wanted and I realize that my children, my family, really are my greatest accomplishment. Praying for you, really I am, not condemning, not saying you’re wrong and I’m right, just praying for you. 🙂

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  11. Just because you want to go back to work, it doesn’t mean that “motherhood” isn’t your thing. There are great mothers who love being mothers that happen to work as well. I’m happy that I have a job that allowed me to stay home with my baby most of his first year. I admire mothers who are stay at home moms, but I know that personally my son and I would drive each other crazy if he stayed home 24/7 with me now that he’s older. When he was younger-yes, but not as a toddler. Thank you for sharing what most mothers struggle with but keep quiet about. I was in your shoes once. Now that I’m back at work, we are all happy.

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