It turns out, being a full time stay-at-home-mum is not for me. In fact, I pretty much hate it. Aside from feeling undervalued and overworked, I also hate what it is doing to my marriage.
I’ve Lost Me
Before I had kids my husband and I were equals. We had endless conversations about work, politics, home, family, money and the world in general. Since having kids I feel like I’ve lost myself. Somewhere in the monotony of nappies and naps and playgroup and doctors’ appointments, I’ve lost my independence. I barely have time to shower, let alone watch the news. At the end of the day I collapse in a heap and have no energy left for meaningful conversation.
Even working one day a week after having my first child seemed to break up the monotony and allowed me to find myself again. Since becoming a full-time SAHM those ‘me moments’ have all but disappeared. I feel like I’ve got so much less to offer in terms of conversation and interaction with my husband.
I Feel Unappreciated
Feeling like you are undervalued and unappreciated isn’t good for romance. Every day my husband leaves the house for 12+ hours and every day I run the family on my own. Sure he helps with housework and he’s mostly hands on with the kids when he is around, but all the thought-load and the practical day-to-day functioning falls on me. And it’s relentless.
I know not all stay-at-home-mums feel unappreciated. Some husbands place a high value on their partner’s work at home (and tell them this regularly), but for me, there is no thank you or even acknowledgement.
Every time someone congratulates my husband for “babysitting” the kids or helping with the washing or tells me how grateful I should be to have a wonderful husband, I want to scream! What about ME. Where is MY thanks for all the things I do for this family. I don’t get lunch breaks or a car trip to listen to podcasts or sit in silence each day. I don’t even get to shower on my own.
I AM thankful for a helpful husband, but I also want some appreciation and acknowledgement for what I do every day. All this resentment is not good for our relationship. I truly love my husband, he is wonderful and amazing in many many ways. But feeling unappreciated every day by the most important person in your life is not good for any marriage.
Before I had kids I would have described myself as an extrovert. Oh how wrong I was. As it turns out, I’m a fully-fledged introvert.
Full-time mumming is difficult when you need space and silence. I’m exhausted by the constant touching, talking and presence of multiple small people totally dependent on me. Even though my job pre-kids involved working with people, I still had time to withdraw, time for silence, time for me.
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Being at home full time with kids just doesn’t allow for any kind of down time. I don’t have a single minute of a single day that I am not within five metres of a needy baby or child. At the end of the day I am all peopled out. I don’t want to be touched, I don’t want to talk, I just want silence. This constant physical and emotional overwhelm takes its toll on our marriage. There is certainly not as much sex as my husband (or I) would like. There is also less meaningful conversation and less affection.
Things Need To Change
I know this isn’t sustainable. I don’t want to be a cranky, exhausted mum and wife. I know things need to change, but I have to admit I’m scared. I’m scared of what I’ve created. I’m worried that returning to work part-time will still see me managing everything home and kid related so I’ll just end up adding another ball to my juggling act. I’m not sure my husband even knows everything that I do in a week, and I’m worried he really has no commitment to taking on some of the load so I can get some sanity back outside our home.
One thing I do know is that the current situation can’t continue. I’m hoping that I can find a balance between part-time work outside the home while still enjoying these precious years with my young family. Hopefully it will be good for me, my kids and my marriage!
Have you found a balance between work and home? How does it impact on your marriage?