IN MARCH I MADE THE DECISION TO LEAVE MY 18 YEAR CAREER AND WORK FREELANCE FROM HOME AS A STAY AT HOME MOM.
I’VE NEVER BEEN SO EXHAUSTED.
Now I say I made the decision, but in all honesty, the cost of childcare in Vancouver made it for me. In a city where the cost of living means that my wage would be going directly to childcare, it just didn’t make sense. I chose to look at it as a blessing; To be able to stay at home with my daughter was lucky! I wasn’t happy with my job when I left on maternity leave, and it didn’t feel welcoming when the time came to potentially go back.
I’ve always had my side hustle though, and I looked at 2019 to be the year that I could really focus on GirlLovesGloss.com and help it reach new potentials. That is until the mommy burnout kicked in.
While I wouldn’t change it for a second, there is something to be said about being able to have a lunch break without a tiny human expecting you to share or tossing her peas at you. There’s also this instant guilt I felt, that I needed to somehow contribute to the household. As if raising a child, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking meals and scrubbing the toilets all wasn’t enough! Suddenly, I felt like in order to have value, I needed to also be bringing money in.
Now I can hear you scoffing, “Being a stay at home mom has so much value!” – and that is the truth. But I’m someone who’s worked since she was 14, who’s always provided for myself, worked and saved for the things I needed. So not having a steady source of my own income is a huge dynamic switch. For 10 years I simultaneously ran my own small business (which is always so much more than a 40 hour week) and worked 3-4 days a week at a day job. Yet, somehow, I was never as tired and exhausted as I’ve felt now as a stay at home mom.
The mommy burnout is such an intense and real thing. I threw myself into working through every nap. I stayed up until 1am meeting deadlines and editing photos. I’ve felt guilty if dinner wasn’t ready when my husband got home and the laundry had piled up while my toddler chased circles around me.
I think it’s a mother’s nature though, to want to do everything. We hold ourselves to such ridiculous standards. There’s that old saying, “Sleep when the baby sleeps” that every mother chuckles at. Let’s get real, we all know that when your child sleeps, is when you can actually get things done. I knew that when I started laying down in the middle of the day during nap time, something had changed. I didn’t realize how much I’d been burning the candle at both ends. I’d let my nutrition, physical and emotional wellbeing slip away in my lofty goal of trying to be super mom, super businesswoman and super wife. I had gained back all the baby weight I’d lost and emotionally drained myself. I was falling into that trap of being a Jill of all trades, but master of none, and was feeling like a bit of a failure.
“I’ve been terribly mean to the girl who looks back at me in the mirror “
The thing is, I’m a good mom. But why did I feel so down about it? I’ve been waking up exhausted, even if Everly slept through the night and we both got 8+ hours of shut-eye. I’ve been overwhelmed by trying to fit the simplest plan changes into my day. I’ve been terribly mean to the girl who looks back at me in the mirror and my self-esteem has plummeted. On one hand, I had intense guilt about skipping out on a park visit with my husband and daughter so I could get some work done. On the other hand, I felt equally as guilty if I wasn’t making my own money to buy things. You’re kind of damned if you do and damned if you don’t as a new mother. I know I need to work on letting go of my self imposed guilt and start empowering myself to feel better.
Your value as a mother is infinite, regardless if you stay at home, go to work, or do a combination of both. Even if the laundry doesn’t get done until tomorrow, or takeout gets ordered that night, or your kid got a little extra screen time while you unloaded the dishwasher. If you’ve struggled with the guilt of this (or going back to work) I promise you, you are a good mother too.
So in true better later than never fashion, today is for change. I’m focusing on releasing myself from the guilt I plague myself with, however little at a time. I’m considering my own health and nutrition just as important because I want Everly to grow up with a mother who is kind to herself. No more skipping meals to work during nap time and stripping myself of my energy and liveliness. No more burning myself out with unobtainable goals to be the perfect mother.
We might be halfway through 2019, but better choices for balance and harmony are starting now. If you’ve ever struggled with burnout, mom guilt or the choice to stay at home or go back to work, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love your thoughts, tips and encouraging words!
I’m grateful to be working with AURA Nutrition over the next couple of months. They have kindly sponsored this post to share my story. AURA Nutrition is a Canadian, female created brand focused on beauty and nutrition products. They help fuel and nourish women, from right here in Vancouver Canada!