Congratulations! You made the decision to start a family and are now a Stay-at-Home-Mom (SAHM). So why is this transition so difficult? I can speak for myself when I say I have been there, done that and have three t-shirts to prove it!
I had a really hard time trying to figure out what I was going to do once our first child arrived. I loved working, had a great job and was really good at it. I was in a place where I felt valued, competent and in control, and to be totally honest, I got a great deal of kudos and praise, which did wonders for my self-esteem, too! These were all perfect reasons why choosing a rewarding career was so important. Now here I was no longer in an office and holding a tiny baby in my arms that God had entrusted to my care and who was totally dependent on my for everything. It was now my responsibility to make sure I was instilling the right values, morals and beliefs into her each day. What a privilege, so why did I feel so isolated and depressed?
I had known friends who had already begun this journey into “Mommyland,” but for some reason I had several preconceived notions about their life at home that proved not to be true. For starters, I thought I would have all kinds of time on my hands, I would be able to get everything done and more with all my extra time, and my house would look just as perfect as it always did. One week into this journey, I realized I had no clue. How could this be so difficult? Surely if I could manage a region in the Southeast of 20+ people, I could handle one little baby, right? I had read all the books, attended the classes & seminars and gotten advice from others, so why was I frustrated? Suddenly, my days passed without meaningful adult conversation, my body was deprived of exercise, my wardrobe went from office chic to jeans and t-shirts and the biggest appointment on my calendar was Gymboree each week! Now everyday was like Groundhog Day and at the end of the day when Jeff got home I tried to get out my 20,000 words, although my stories were now about naps and poop. Life as I knew it for the past 10 years was gone. What was I doing wrong?
It was ME – I was my biggest problem! I was no longer getting the recognition I used to and had no means of evaluating how I was really doing. There were no more performance reviews, promotions, bonuses, reward trips or even thank-yous. Life continued to happen and my list of “to-dos” continued to grow as well as the expectations that I put on myself for all I should be able to accomplish each day. I was getting frustrated by not being able to get things checked off my list, but missing the best part of just being. My reward now was the honor and privilege that I got a chance at a front row seat into the life of my child, but it took me sometime to realize how precious this really was.
This transition is a real game-changer – an Identity Change. It took me a while to really learn that my identity was not in being a Regional Manager or an Event Planner or a wife or even a mother, but my true identity was centered at who I was at the core. The person I was created to be with all of my strengths and weaknesses. There is only one me in the whole world and only one daughter like the one I was holding who was meant to have me as her mom. So the question became, what will I impart to my children? Will I show them that they are loved for being just them, or will I show them they are valued for what they do and present to this world?
Just like everything in life, this is only a “season” of time in your life. Your life will have many seasons and each one will prepare you for the next one to follow. I now have three children and have an the opportunity to be at home with each of them for the past nine years. Once I got right with myself I was able to see the impact I could have and truly appreciate the intentional things I was able to do with each of them. These times are precious and won’t last forever, so cherish it all! In the meantime here are some tips to help you make the transition:
- Create a weekly routine/schedule – this includes household chores too!
- Make exercise a priority!
- Get involved in a playgroup or moms group one day a week.
- Get out of the house – take a walk/run with your little one, go to lunch, shop or just run some errands.
- Let others help you when they offer – even if they don’t do it exactly like you would, you need the break and your kids will be fine.
- Make sure to schedule ME TIME – Girls Night Out, mani/pedi, take up a sport or class, read a book or just take a nap.
Enjoy Motherhood, my friends. It is one of the most rewarding careers in the world!
Tracie Nolde lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Jeff, and their three children, Camden, Chase and Kennedy.