I've struggled off and on over the years with the transition to being a stay-at-home mom. It's what I've always wanted to do. Well, "always" as in "since I really ever considered what I'd want to do when I had a family".
I babysat for several families throughout my high school and college years. Being in their homes, watching how they did family life, and talking to them here and there impacted the way I view motherhood, raising kids, and God's plan for my own family someday.
Kristi, Laura, Cheryl, and Amy were all stay-at-home moms. They all did things differently. They taught and disciplined their children differently. They cooked differently. Their husbands all had different jobs--military, business owner, ministry. They are Christians who were seeking to honor God with their lives and in their families. I learned a lot from each of them. I learned some things I wanted to do and some things I didn't want to do. I was incredibly blessed to be a part of their lives and have them as mentors.
However, I still entered motherhood and was a little shocked. First, Rylee came into our family earlier than we had planned. (ha! I thought I was planning out my life. I've learned so much in the 6 years since then!) I went from teaching at schools (student teaching and subbing) and being heavily involved in the youth ministry at our church (where Joel was youth pastor) to being a stay-at-home mom of a little one. We had one car and lived about 20 minutes from our church, Joel's workplace. We had lived in Harrisburg for about 18 months when Rylee arrived on the scene. Most of the women with whom I had become friends were married but did not have any children yet. So, I was kind of the first among our group to take the plunge.
I found myself having a little postpartum depression. At least, that's what I think it was. Hormones. But, it was also transition. It was a complete shock to me to have to think entirely of someone else and put their needs above my own every single moment of every single day with very little "off" time. Joel was a saint. He is an amazing dad, and I thank God for him daily. I have no clue what life would look like right now if he had not been so great during those first days of transition (and every day since then, of course!).
But, I felt trapped. I was home, in a house not in a neighborhood where I knew anyone (or where anyone was home...we lived "uptown" and everyone worked), far away from other people in our church (which was pretty much my only connection to the city in which I lived), without a car, without a lot of money, without a clue what to do with a baby all day, with a baby who had reflux and tended to cry a lot unless held upright, ...
As for having family nearby, my mom came to visit just before Rylee was born, but wasn't there for her birth. I think we would both have changed that if we could, but we couldn't. My family was 8 hours south (other than Mom, who was across the country). My friend, Heather, was with us for Rylee's birth. What an incredible blessing! But, she lived 3 hours away and had to go back home, of course. When Rylee was about 4 weeks old, we drove to VA so we could meet some of my family halfway for them to meet Rylee. Then, we went to NC (where my family lives) in June, when Rylee was 2 months old, for my brother's wedding. That's when my mom finally got to meet Rylee (did I mention by mom had a mild heart attack in May, which prevented her from flying to PA to see us before going to the wedding?). We had gone up to northern PA to see Joel's family in May, while my friend, sweet friend Kathryn, came to visit from Arizona. So, I did have some friends and family to see...but they all lived far away!!!
Really, I'm not complaining. I'm not. I know it sounds like I am. But, I'm not. I'm just trying to explain the situation in which I found myself. It was hard. I felt lonely. I had no clue what to do. I wasn't sure what was "right" to do and what was "wrong" and this was not a dog or doll...it was a baby! I was a mom! Yikes!
I am so grateful that I already had a relationship with Jesus and was looking to Him for wisdom and comfort. He was faithful. He always is. But, it was certainly a hard transition and a time of much learning.
So, when I found this article and read it, I completely understood it. I like it a lot. I think there's a lot there for us to consider. I think it helps me understand what my role should be today. I'm now a full-time mom to three children. I'm not in those crazy days of crying babies, diapers, and chasing around crawlers. Life is different. But, there are many around me who are in those early days. They don't have family nearby. They are lonely. They are having a hard time transitioning. How can I help them? bless them? encourage them? That's what I'm working on.
Here's the article: Why Modern Motherhood is So Much Harder than it Ought To Be
*I am not endorsing this site since this is the only article I've read here. However, I think the article itself is really good. Just wanted you to know that!