Photo: Layna Rae Photography
Never in a million years did I ever think that I’d be a stay-at-home-mom. Before I had my son, my dreams and priorities revolved around climbing the corporate ladder and earning a fat paycheck. As the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college or earn a Master’s degree, I also felt a certain self-imposed obligation to put it all to “good use.”
Another reason my pre-baby self knew I could never be a stay-at-home-mom was because I’m a genuine extrovert.
Extroverts sometimes get a bed rep for being obnoxious, off the wall, attention hogs – while not completely false, I certainly don’t identify with those characteristics. I do, however, identify with the genuine definition of a extrovert, which means that I get my energy from being around other people. Being alone for extended periods of time is absolutely exhausting and draining for me, so when karma came around and I found myself choosing to be a stay-at-home-mom, I knew I had to make a real effort to not feel lonely and depressed.
So what do I do?
I hit the mom dating scene hard – Creating a tribe was (and is) of the utmost importance to me, and I wasn’t shy about letting everyone and their cousin know that I was on the market for mom friends. I put myself out there – on my blog, on social media, and in real life; I talked openly about my desire for friends who were in the same life stage, and the universe answered (as it always does!) Guys, I was literally set up on a blind mom date by an acquaintance from college, and at the time it made me super nervous, but it’s turned into one of my most treasured friendships. My point is, making new friends can feel scary and uncomfortable, but it’s worth the work!
I leave the house every single day – I won’t lie: on the days that my friends and their kids can’t get together, I kind of panic. If I don’t have a goal and purpose for the day (i.e. meeting up with friends, taking my son to a class, etc.) I automatically feel deflated. To pump myself up and avoid being a witch with a capital B by the time my husband gets home, I must leave the house every single day. Yes, that means that some days the most “extroverting” I get to do is with the cashiers at Target or Kroger, but it has to happen. This mama can’t sit with a babbling baby all day and not completely lose her mind.
I bought a few passes – Most one-income families can’t afford passes to every fun place in Richmond (*raises hand*), but budgeting for a pass or two to places like the Metro Richmond Zoo or the Children’s Museum have been a life saver. The zoo is great for the summer, spring and fall because it gets us outside, and the Children’s Museum is great for the winter or rainy days when the kids are bouncing off the walls (and you feel like the walls are closing in on you.)
I have a life outside of my “job.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a corporate mom or a stay-at-home-mom, being a mother is a 24/7 job. As a stay-at-home-mom, though, it’s easier for the lines between “mom” and “self” to blur. I make a real, conscious effort to create time for myself, for my marriage, and for my friendships outside of motherhood. I still do things and go places that don’t include my son, and I don’t feel one ounce of guilt about it.
Never in a million years did I ever think it would be possible to be this satisfied as a stay-at-home-mom, but life has a funny way of working itself out, doesn’t it?