This time of the year is always a difficult one for me. It’s the middle of winter, past the cheery holiday season, and everything is just cold and grey. Activities are limited due to severe temperatures and wintery weather elements, and it’s hard to be motivated to get out of your comfy, warm sweatpants. This time of year is, for lack of better words, blah.
The gloom of this time for me is different each year. Last year, I didn’t feel so bad- I was four months pregnant and had a lot to look forward to. It was the fun time of starting to noticeably look pregnant without being uncomfortable and I had plenty to focus my mind on. I was soaking up the last moments of time with just my husband while eagerly anticipating the arrival of our baby boy. A little grey weather wasn’t going to ruin my mood. This year, it’s a different story. This year, I’m figuring out that being a stay at home mom, though a privilege, is difficult- especially in this grey season of winter.
I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and I am so happy that at this time in life, I am able to do so. I understand that I may not be able to stay home until Judah and all of our future kids are in school, and that’s okay. I have always told my husband that I am willing to go back to work whenever it is needed.
By staying home, I’ve been able to dabble in activities around the house that I have always wanted to do but never had the time for. For example, I’ve discovered that I really love to cook, and not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty good at it. When I was younger, I was told a few times by a friend that I probably should leave the cooking to others, that I didn’t know what I was doing. However, once I started to teach myself during my college years, I discovered that what I was told wasn’t true. I’m not top chef material, but I do know what I’m doing. I am able to tweak recipes and experiment with different flavors and ingredients, which comes in handy when we are at the end of the month, and are scrounging through the pantry. I usually cook on the fly, so I don’t write my recipes down, but you can follow my pinterest recipe boards here and here.
I’ve also been able to tap into my creative side. I’ve started this blog for one, which has allowed me to express myself through writing. I’m starting up my own photography business, a dream that has been years in the making, and I’m starting to repurpose furniture. I’m grateful for this time at home to discover new outlets and ways that I can be creative. But most importantly, I’m blessed to be able to watch my son grow and play daily.
With these positives, there comes a harsh reality of the stay at home mom. It’s very lonely. I know that the present circumstances of life for me don’t really help with this loneliness, and I’m hopeful that it won’t always be this way. Having just moved to a new town, not knowing anyone, makes play dates non-existent. Being an introvert, it’s difficult for me to get out there and make friends; I usually wait for others to approach me. However, these days, I scour the grocery store for anyone under the age of 45 who is pushing a baby in their shopping cart, plotting how I might start up a conversation with them should I find them.
When I was pregnant, the prospect of being able to stay at home with my son was so exciting. Judah was born in the summer, and being in a lake town, there was so much going on and lots to do. However, we moved away from friends and familiarity, and then the winter came. There are some weeks that the only time I get out of our small apartment is when we need groceries. It’s hard. I also know it’s hard for my son. I scour the internet for creative activities to do at home with him, especially on days when it’s too cold for me to take him anywhere. I want Judah to be active, to discover and play, to make friends, and to have variety in his life. Right now, it’s hard to make that happen. I know that once the weather warms up, there will be a whole new world of activities and places outside to explore and discover, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that being alone with a baby that can’t talk back can be very trying.
It’s hard when your husband comes home from work and the only thing you have to offer to the conversation is how many times your baby pooped that day and what he ate for lunch. Of course I love being able to know these things, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But, I have to be honest, sometimes the days get really long, and it would be nice to have something going on…anything.
This was another one of those things that no one told me about motherhood. Everyone that hears that I have the privilege to stay at home always says how nice that is, and it is, I agree. But sometimes, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. No one told me that your house gets small, really fast. No one told me that even though you get to play with your baby all day, it can get boring. No one told me that staying at home can be downright lonely.
I know that being able to be home is a privilege. It’s something that Kyle and I decided was best for the time being, and we are willing to sacrifice certain luxuries and live tightly so that I am able to do this. I am so thankful for being able to stay home with my son every day. I love that I know what he eats, how often he poops, when he naps, and what toys he played with. It’s okay with me that some days I stay in my pj’s until well into the afternoon (who wouldn’t be?). I also realize that staying at home means more than sacrificing a few date nights and shopping trips each month. It’s emotionally tough. Some days, I have to give myself a pep talk to get energized. I have to trick myself into being excited to accomplish even the smallest of tasks, just to have something to look forward to.
I know that eventually, Kyle and I will make friends in our community. It takes time to settle into a place, especially when you settle in the middle of winter when most people are sequestered indoors anyway. But in the meantime, I’m not going to sugar coat it- it’s difficult. It’s lonely. It’s boring. It’s bleak. But it’s also a privilege. It’s a blessing. And it’s time with my son that I will cherish forever, and I hope he will too.