I'm just putting this out there because I feel a little desperate and I don't know where to start.
I'm sure my struggle is really common.
I'm a SAHM to a great 10 month old boy. I'm just feeling so......we'll I hardly even know what I'm feeling.
We moved to a new town in September where I have no friends or family, it rains more here so it's not fun to get out as much, and I just feel so blah. In the past we've always quickly made our friends in some church related group, but I'm going through a time of rethinking my faith right now.
I wish I had something else going on in my life to think about. I'm an artist and a creative right brained person, so just getting a part time job is not what will fulfill me. I'm so jealous of my husband. He has an important job and works with important people and goes out to lunch with co-workers. He tries, but he can't really understand how I feel, because staying at home with the baby sounds like bliss to him. He always encourages me to get out of the house in the evenings, sign up for something, or try something that will make me happy. He's always willing to take care of the baby. About once a week I go to a coffee shop to think, read, journal....but it just feels like damage control...regaining just enough sanity to get through the next few days...maybe having some interesting thoughts here and there, but never really soaring.
I just feel lost and don't know where to start. I feel like I'm constantly searching for something, my identity, ...my purpose. During my day with the baby, I don't feel very present because my brain is constantly trying to think of something to fill this gap. I've thought of a few ideas, but I wonder where I'll find the time or energy. Some random ideas have been things like learning body henna and doing pregnant belly henna, cooking blog, fertility related blog, taking a class, getting an herbalist certification, learning block printing, some sort of pregnancy portraits, somehow making a difference in people's lives, and teaching in some capacity. I want to feel important, valuable, talented, and smart.
On top of feeling isolated and missing my friends and family, I feel tied down. I don't like the idea of hiring a random babysitter and I my milk supply is just hanging in there, so I don't have a good reserve in the freezer.
I know that if I can develop something else in my life, I can be a better more present mom. At least that's what friends have told me has happened for them. I wonder if there are any books that might help me.
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...after reading through this, it's obvious that I need to try to make friends and start making some art. (I think I'm doing the mom martyr thing too because I don't want to spend any "fun" money on myself when there are groceries and diapers to buy.)
...but I'm still going to press submit...because I could still use some words. Thanks.
I know exactly how you feel. We just moved to DH's home town where the only people I know are my in-laws. I still don't really know my way around and it's FREEZING here(I'm in NE South Dakota) so going outside is rarely an option. I've been a SAHM since DD was born and she's now 2 years old. It sounds like you know what you need to do, the thing is to just do it. I'm sure you'll start feeling better once you have something else to do to make yourself feel better. I started making a lot of our own cleaning supplies like laundry detergent and window cleaner and for some reason, that makes me want to use them more so I clean a lot. I also bought some yarn and made some dryer balls. I might convince DH to start using homemade deodorant and toothpaste as well. Making that stuff helps me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile, not just sitting at home with a toddler. Getting certified as an herbalist sounds like a great idea to me. Keep your chin up mama, you're not alone and you'll find something that will make you feel like yourself again.
Wife to DH 08/09 and SAHM to DD 09/08 and DS 11/11
Surprise! Expecting #3 Nov. 2013!
I can definitely identify with you, as I had a similar situation with my first child. This may sound like it's coming from left field, but getting my vitamin D levels up was a huge help for me. Being inside to get out of the rain takes its toll in many ways, not least of which is the simple lack of sunshine. I have a spot which is very private and gets sun only around noon time, and I try to make it out there at least once a week. Or else I take D3 supplement.
I also did a lot of artwork before kids, and it's been something that I still haven't figured out how to incorporate into my life as a mom. I'd like to hear from other artists who've figured it out. When my first was 8 months old, I decided that I would do housework during his first nap, and do artwork during his second. It was literally one week later that he dropped the second nap. And now that boy is four. He doesn't enjoy craft projects, so doing tandem artwork does not work. And my younger boy would rather paint the walls and furniture than any sort of canvas, so it's been a real bust.
I like the above post regarding making your own body products. Two of my best friends are people who I'd met that had mentioned wanting to learn to make soap. So I found a soapmaking course, then called these two girls for a trial round, and now we get together at least once a month to make soaps, salves, lotions, toothpaste, and laundry detergent. They didn't know eachother previously, and I had only seen them around town, but now we're like three soul sisters. Maybe you could start something similar with the goal of making art work together in a single setting? Like a shared studio space? Hmmm, maybe that's what I should do, too. Good luck to you.
One thing that helped me was finding (and again) starting my own natural parenting group. This helped me foster friendships with like-minded folks, because (and I may sound bratty) I wanted to find woman to connect with who shared some of the parenting/life values I had. You can also look for a holistic moms group in the area (they are nation wide) and although you pay, it's a great resource/place to meet AP mommas.
Crap I have an important call I need to take from a family member! I'm going to write more later :) If I leave this open my 3 year old WILL sabotage my computer
I am a SAHM mom to a 9 yo boy and 10 month old baby girl. Around the sixth month mark, I was seriously itching to doing something other than take care of a baby and nurse all day. I felt like I was dying a slow death. I had a small cake decorating business out of my home before I had her, so I told everyone I was doing cakes again. I was bombarded with orders and the first month was great. I felt important, valued, respected, talented, all the affirmation I got was just what I needed. But I'm quickly realizing that raising my children is my most important job. Not sacrificing time with my family to make somebody elses birthday cake. I spent a ton of money on new cake stuff and wish I hadn't now. Having a 9yo has given me so much perspective, because I know they grow up so fast, even if it doesn't feel like it now. Work on changing the thoughts that are running through your head. Think of how lucky you are to be home with your baby, how lucky you are to have a DH that is home and supportive. I often think of single parents and those who are deployed in the military. And remind yourself that you're raising a human being and not simply managing an inconvenience.
Do you eat well? Take vitamins? Get enough rest? A nap makes a world of difference to me sometimes.
I find baking for the family gives me a sense of accomplishment and we get goodies to eat. I also exercise in the evenings, just ten minutes of weight training makes me feel like I did something for myself. I would love to start making my own cleaning products. But that's more to save money and be natural than a creative outlet.
I really feel for you because I know exactly where you're coming from. There are several places on the internet to sell homemade stuff (one I know of is Etsy). You might want to look into something like that. I hope my rambling will help you in some way. ((((hugs))))
I am a SAHM of a 10 month old boy as well, and was a designer before this. So I feel ya.
Some of it is finding your identity as a mom. I don't know about you, but my job and career - those were my entire identity. I'm a designer, it's who I am (and my friends were work friends, so you can imagine where that leaves me). So now not being a designer.. who the heck am I? I've spent some time recently evaluating this... and once I started to flesh out my mom identity I felt better. I also acknowledged that while I may not be home forever, I am now, and gave myself permission to be fully present in it. I don't know why I needed permission, but apparently I did. Additionally, attending some groups where I can talk to like minded moms has made some difference. ALso it gets u out of the house a couple times a month. Unfortunately I'm still working on finding an outlet... I like making things so maybe a craft. How about you?
It's so hard because being a mom can be thankless. I don't think dads understand how much we do.
You are important, valuable, talented, and smart. And if you need to talk or email, let me know.
I really appreciate everyone's comments, and I look forward to more.
Here are some thoughts lately...
Sleep. I quit taking naps a while ago, which is rough when I get up from 1-3 times a night and go to bed later than my baby. I think I'm constantly sleep deprived, and that probably counts for more than I assume. I just feel like I can get more done that way. It's funny though, because today I took a 2 hour nap and I don't think anything less got done. I did, however, feel more happier and sane. We just had left overs for dinner, and dh helped me pick up the house in the evening.
I found it interesting that a few a you mentioned that doing some sort of home maker related activity actual helped. (caitlin & mommarific) You would think it would be the opposite, but I can see how it's like embracing this role and this time...in a way.
cms2, I really appreciate the perspective you've given. I could totally see myself taking on too much, getting all excited, and then realizing that all I really want to do is be with my family and take good care of them. It's a struggle, but I'm constantly trying to remind myself that they do grow up so fast. It is hard to fully understand that my baby will be a 9 year old boy in no time. I do need to change how I think about it. I've tried...but I think it's almost impossible when I'm lacking sleep. I think I'll try to make that more of a priority. Thanks for reminding me of the basics. I do not want to think of my son as an inconvenience. It's not like he popped up on accident. He was fully planned. I'm that person who has always wanted to be an awesome stay at home mom and raise my babies well. It's the most fulfilling thing in life I can imagine. I used to dream about this day and think of all the fun things I would do with my kids. I really want to try to remember that frame of mind and dive in and embrace this time. I know I'll miss it when it's gone and I don't want to have too many regrets.
mommarific, I've been a little wary of mom groups because it just seems like more baby stuff...but I think I'm going to give it a try. Some community would do me good. There's one in town that I think I'm going to join.
dootsmama, help me understand what you mean by "fleshing out your identity as a mom." Can you give me some examples? I do feel like I'm having an identity crisis sometimes and this might be helpful.
Thanks so much everyone! Sometimes this forum can be so helpful.
Oh! Also, I had some other ideas...
Actually getting dressed in the morning and wearing something besides yoga pants and a nursing tank all day. ..and a shower and make up if I can swing it.
I was also thinking of signing up for some sort of class like yoga, belly dancing, calligraphy, etc.
Also I want to think about taking care of my mind, body, and soul. I need balance, in general. So something physical for my body like walks and one of those classes I mentioned. ...doing things that feed my soul like art. ...and I haven't figured out what I want to do for my mind.
My two children are older now - 8 and 4 years old. I do remember when I had my daughter, the first 18 months disappeared in a blur of sleep deprivation, body in shock healing from the birth, and a loss of my sense of self and who I was. I am trying to remember back those 7 years ago, to the point where it became easier. I think it was when I could fit the baby around my life a bit, rather than totally having to put myself last all the time.
Try to do little things - a cup of coffee with the baby in a stroller, a walk around the park. I found most of the mother and baby groups to actually help me feel less alone, and probably benefitted me more than her.
For me, it was accepting that my life had changed, it would not be the same as before i had children, and finding my feet in my `new` life as a mother. I started to enjoy wandering around museums with just me and her, or even just the mall.
Now, I hardly recognise the `old me`. I am a mother, it is what and who I am. I just had to accept it!
Good luck, it does get easier. I promise!
I find myself hoping that rainy new city you're in is near me (Renton, WA), so that we can be friends. But, failing that, I want to encourage your belly-dance class idea. I take belly-dance and it is so much fun. Sometimes it is the only thing that keeps me sane as a new mom.
I second whoever said get a shower! With only on kiddo, it's probably pretty realistic to be able to get a shower daily. That helps me tremendously, and getting dressed..not living in lounge clothes. Also, being a part of a playgroup helped me feel better about being a SAHM. I went through this HUGE shift when I got let go of my job(I helped design and make jewelry all day, it was awesome). I felt like since I was at home, I shouldn't go out often since it was my job to take care of the house, kiddo, etc. I was really relishing all the time I had at home, cooking, cleaning constantly, trying to make sure I had picture perfect meals on the table, etc, then reality set it and as my son got older, I found that staying home all day and never going anywhere was really making me depressed and isolating. I searched online and found a playgroup, joined the next week and ever since then I've been going to playdates every other day during the week. It helps to be around other adults and moms who are doing the same thing you are now. I would also try and nap when your kiddo does. Even if that means you have to lay down with him. I have found that when I lay down with my son, I always nap. If I lay him down then get up and leave the room, the nap doesn't happen. I always find other things to do. I also plan on joining the gym in January and I'm very involved in my church, and have commitments that I've made with them, so that helps.
DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)
I just wanted to offer big hugs to you, and say I *totally* understand how you're feeling and where you're coming from. For me, it worked to stay home-based, but add creative and (this was key for me) collaborative projects with like-minded mamas that could easily be done mostly from home. For a time, with a dear friend, I led support groups for new mothers out of our local birth support center (this was awesome and helped me feel that I was making a difference and helping other moms, plus it was interesting and got me out of the house a few hours a week), then with another dear friend, I started a small, grassroots Waldorf preschool (I wasn't the teacher, just the co-founder and served as a board member) -- that was a blast. My dd had friends around, and so did I -- while the other mamas and I envisioned and did the behind-the-scenes work for the school, it was always tea and catch up time while we did the work. These mamas became my best friends and some of us still meet as a women's group. Now, I'm moving into a private practice as an intuitive (we're homeschooling, but my dc are older now and I can do this more easily) and I love working with my clients, they are all so interesting and inspiring. I do have to say, it was only when my youngest turned, say, 6 that I really felt I had some real freedom again. Sigh. But I wouldn't trade the (mostly) full-time love and care I gave them either. I would have regretted leaving them in the early years to pursue my own interests more full-time, I'm sure of that. But it was always a struggle for me to balance my "two sides."
You are still in the early trenches of stay-at-home parenting, when it is so consuming and you can feel so overwhelmed all the time. It is really, really hard to have a creative side and also want to be there full time for your child(ren). The keys for me were creativity in community, and doing projects that fit my interests at the time. You will figure it out, just go for it! (Do you have the book the Artist's Way? this one gets good reviews too: http://www.amazon.com/Artistic-Mother-Practical-Fitting-Creativity/dp/1600613489 You may also like Maren Tonder Hansen's book Mother Mysteries; that one really helped me make peace with my mothering journey.) Good blessings on your journey, mama!
what about just getting out around people more during the day? Like going to a cafe and a library and wherever people are hanging out? It sounds to me like you need the company of other adults- and other people in general. I also have a baby similarly aged- 9 months- and we were living in a place where it was pretty hard to get out and do things- so ds and I spent a lot of time alone while dh was at work, trying to entertain ourselves. We are temporarily moved now- because of this- to a place where there are things such as a cafe, library, good organic grocer/deli- places where people hang out, close to where we are living and easy to get to. . And it helps both my and my ds's sanity and joy so much to just go out and be around others.
Are you in a place where you can get out more and do these types of things in the day? Or is it hard to get out?
You sound like you are in a funk - maybe some low level postpartum depression. You need to shake this off!
I think this is somewhat typical, if it makes you feel any better. I went through some of the same thing. The change in identity, the isolation, the sleep deprivation. It's a lot to take in.
So make some plans. Leave the house - every single day. Go for a walk. Go to a cafe. It does not matter what you do but do something. Find adults to talk to, even if it is about baby stuff. Someone other than your husband.
And nap. That old chestnut about sleep when the baby sleeps - it is so true. It makes such a difference in your mental state.