I know I’m not alone when I say that being a mom is not enough to fulfill me, but I still feel like the world’s worst human when I say it. Being a mom (specifically a stay at home mom) has its fulfilling moments, but it’s not always enough. I want more.
It is in my nature to be a caregiver. I love loving people, and I’m good at it! Before we had kids I focused a lot of my caregiving energy on cancer patients and their loved ones as a cancer information specialist at the American Cancer society. Before that I was a residential coach at a boarding school for autistic teenagers.
So, when it came time to decide whether or not I wanted to be a sahm, it felt like a somewhat natural transition. It felt like my communication and relational skills would be used in the most important way. I was wrong.
I love being with my kids! I love that I’m blessed to be able to teach them myself, and watch them grow. I love that they get to be together all day, and build a bond that is unbreakable. I love play groups and mom groups. I love building relationships with other sahms. I really do like being a sahm, but I sometimes feel like I’m wasting some really useful parts of myself.
I think it’s okay to not be completely fulfilled by my current ‘job’. I think it’s ok to want more.
Kids are exhausting! Jobs that are focused on kids have really high turnover rates. Daycare workers and camp counselors have an out. They can give two weeks notice and move on to the next job. Moms can’t quit when burn out sets in. We have to push through, and eventually we do, but it’s hard!
Some days I just want to leave our house without my kids and go do something else. Some days I want to feel like a productive part of the outside world.
I often want more. Have I said it enough to soothe the shock factor, or are you still gasping each time you read it?
I want more. Being home with my kids is not enough to fulfill the parts of me that like interacting with people who aren’t in the same stage of life as I am. It’s not enough to fulfill my desire to contribute to things that aren’t my family or home. IM NOT A BAD MOM FOR ADMITTING IT!
For a while I made and sold jewelry. Now I write. Both of these things have utilized parts of me that Momming doesn’t utilize. My adult brain gets extra stimulation, and I have a creative outlet.
I sometimes feel like it’s wrong to get more joy out of writing a blog post than I do from changing a diaper or playing with mega blocks, but then I realize that it’s ok to be who I am. It’s not wrong for me to seek out fulfilling activities that allow me to both be a mom and be myself. If anything, it makes me a better mom.
When I was working, all I wanted to do was stay at home with my son. Now that I’m home, I so often want to go to work. I don’t think that finding a job would be a solution. I think that I am doing what I’m supposed to do! I want to be a stay at home mom. I think that it is an important job.
I think that the solution, for me anyway, has been admitting that I’m not completely fulfilled. I am no longer ashamed of saying, “This isn’t enough for me. I want more.”, and finding the more that’s right for me.
I know a ton of moms who stay home and do things like direct sales. I know a ton of moms who work full time. I know a ton of moms who have creative pursuits like this blog.
If you’re beating yourself up about not being completely fulfilled by motherhood, STOP IT RIGHT NOW!! I don’t know a single momma who is just a momma (and if that’s the phrase that you use when asked what you do for a living, stop that too!)
Stay at home moms, what you do is important and useful to your family and your community. You’re growing productive members of society!
Working moms, what you do is important and useful to your family and your community. You’re bringing in a paycheck and growing productive members of society!
I don’t have the credentials to say this, but I’m saying it anyway. Motherhood isn’t supposed to fulfill you. That’s not why we have kids. Motherhood is supposed to challenge you! Motherhood is mostly about them, not you. Motherhood is keeping people alive. Motherhood is choosing to do things that wouldn’t have been on your radar otherwise. Motherhood is hard, and beautiful, and exhausting, and joy-filled.
You’re not only the parts of you that love being a momma, and that’s okay!
I don’t know if any of this will be helpful to anyone else, but writing it has been good for me. Thanks for reading!