Guest post by Cathy Tibbles
"The ladder is a little wobbly... Stop being a girl!" I told myself.
Up the last rung and onto the snow-laden roof.
"Yup, that's ice damage," I thought to myself.
I took the photos and made my way back to the ledge to descend the ladder. Maneuvering my very pregnant belly around the top handles was a little awkward. And getting my foot on the rung when I couldn't exactly see my feet...
"This may be dangerous", I thought.
My husband and I had agreed all along that when it was time to raise children the one with the lower salary would quit his/her job and stay home.
It happened to be me.
We had both agreed, at the wise age of 20, that there's no point in having children if you're just going to punt them off to daycare every day. It hurt us deeply that there were so many abandoned children in daycares across the country. So I gave my notice and began my new life as a Stay at Home Mom. It was going to be full of bright sunny days, picnics at the park; gingham dresses and wide-brimmed sun hats.
At first, I loved every minute of staying at home. It was the first time in my adult life that I didn't have to get up and go to work.
And then we were blessed with a little pink bundle of joy. I know you're dying to hear the birth story but that will have to wait for another time.
This is where you'll hate me. My first baby was angelic. Seriously. 4 hour schedule right away. Nursed, played, slept. In six weeks she was sleeping through the night. Maybe she was scared I would take her up on rooftops again... Baby was a few weeks old by the time I had figured out breastfeeding and diaper changing.
I could work on getting my figure back... Meh. I could have cleaned the house... I really don't like cleaning the house.
Perhaps what I needed was a vegetable garden! I dug up a small square in my front yard. I really wish I had a picture to prove it. I really did dig up a section of lawn right beside the driveway. To say the husband was surprised is putting it mildly.
Baby played in playpen during her awake hours. And I gardened.
I still didn't like housework.
Gardening really didn't do it for me either. It made my arms itch.
Perhaps I could preserve some fruit and veggies like my mom used to do? Buy a boiler, some used jars, cut up some fruit canned. Check.
Still despised housework.
Decorating!! That was the answer to the absolutely mind=numbing boredom. The caulking on the tub was yucky. That's where the bathroom decorating started. I was only going to remove the caulking but the removing tool had a mind of it's own and soon I was replacing the entire tub surround. That's when I found mould! Oh be still my heart! It was so exciting!!
The bathroom remodel was hard work. And sheet rock is heavy. And apparently eye-balling measurements isn't all that accurate.
Still, I was utterly depressed, unmotivated, dissatisfied and bored to tears. And the house was messy. Unfortunately, it took seven months of counseling before I was able to admit:
I didn't like being a stay at home mom.
Being a SAHM was part of the very core of who I was. No one except a parent should be the primary influence on a child between the ages of zero and five. Those are informative years! My mom and dad sacrificed a lot to be a one-income family. If only everyone would put aside their dreams of extravagant vacations and motorized boats, this world would be a better place.
This belief was part of my upbringing; part of my education; it is what I believed was right.
Admitting that I didn't like being a stay at home mom wasn't just falling short of the ideal it was giving up on the ideal; possibly giving up on my soul. Was I so selfish that I couldn't put her care above my own comfort? Why couldn't I be like other moms and smile sweetly at my bundle while I cleaned the house? In heels. And lipstick.
I'm blown away that there are women who are okay with themselves without any big people approval. SAHM's get no outside feedback and admiration for their jobs. Yet they do it. Kudos to them/you!
But what about those of us who can't do it? Who are dying a little inside every single day?
It took me a few years, but eventually I accepted my imperfection. I accepted that in order to be the person I am called to be I had to be in the adult world. I accepted that although I may still hold the ideal, I cannot do it.
"You can do anything you put your mind to."
Our parents meant to remove limitations that they faced. They meant to encourage us to dream big and accomplish more than they had ever thought possible. But in our interpretation of this, have we taken it too far? Have we become an entire generation (at least the first born Type A ones) of women who are trying so hard to be the ideal that we are driving ourselves into depression?
I really have come to believe that the phrase, "You can do anything you put your mind to," is not to be taken literally.
Trust me on this; you cannot do anything you put your mind to.
We simply do not live in a perfect world. And we are not perfect. It's a huge relief when we accept this!
We can hug our babies, put on fancy heels, can some fruit. We can even clean the house if that's what we want to do.
Today, my girls see a woman who is trying her best to make a difference in the world and love them at the same time. They see failure; they see imbalance; they see tears and struggle and celebration. They see me.
They see a woman with goals and dreams and confidence and power. These are gifts. And I have them.
You my friend, are a woman with goals, dreams, confidence and power. Whether your goal is to stay home or to work outside the home be reasonable with yourself! We can do neither one perfectly. But we can be.
Cathy Tibbles provides her clients with honesty, dependability and top notch services - training, consulting & custom websites that foster community growth. Community is the ONLY way to make money online. She loves working with the Gen-x'rs as they can all agree that legging-clad behinds ought to be covered. She dispenses her (many) words by writing on her blog, taking apart websites on youtube, chatting it up on Facebook Live and writing about herself in third person. To get a higher-money-making website, download the complimentary guide "52 Quick Edits You Can Do Today to Increase Clicks, Sales and Impressions."