Life as a SAHM
4 months ago, I had a job in Corporate America where I was required to send a weekly update to my boss every Friday. The update tracked my accomplishments – it included materials I had written, projects I had edited, courses I had created, classes I had taught, people I had trained, etc.
4 months ago, I would sit at my kitchen table every Sunday and make my personal ‘to do’ list for the week. It included things like my mileage for the week, workouts, blogging ideas, organizational tasks, yard work, errands, etc.
My productivity was easily measured by the check marks on my weekly update and the slashes through my to-do list.
I measured my own worth by what I was able to accomplish. My identity was wrapped up somewhere in those weekly updates and those to-do lists.
And then I had Atlas.
I left Corporate America behind and joined the ranks of Stay at Home Moms (SAHM). I knew life as a SAHM would be hectic, busy and maybe even stressful some days. But I also knew I was the queen of organization (not to be confused with the queen of humility – that is someone else). Since I would be home all day, I would obviously have time to keep the house immaculate, work on those Pinterest projects, blog every single day, start working on that book I’ve been wanting to write and of course make new and creative meals for Dave each night.
I learned real quick life as a SAHM wasn’t what I imagined. My house is immaculate once a week for about 2.5 seconds and then it looks like a daycare again. Pinterest? I actually avoid it like the plague. 4 Months ago Pinterest sort of made me feel like a failure at life…it would send me into hysteria now. Blogging every single day? Well, you all know that hasn’t happened. That book? My new goal is to have it published by the time I’m 35…I’m giving myself an extra decade to complete it. And does chicken and rice count as a creative meal? Because that’s what we had for dinner last night. And the night before.
During the first 8(ish) weeks following Atlas’ arrival, I went through a real identity crisis. To be totally honest, in some ways I would say I’m still traveling through it. I’m still learning my new role, my new city and my new life.
Here’s the thing: There’s no real way to measure the productivity of a new mom. This is tough for a perfectionist who is task oriented and goal driven.
Now that Atlas is getting out of that newborn stage things are getting so much easier, but those first 8-12 weeks were a doozie. Dave cooked a lot. He cleaned too. I started several loads of laundry…none of which I actually finished. Dave would always end up folding it and putting it away. I didn’t have time to sit down and make a ‘to-do’ list, which was fine because I wouldn’t have been able to check anything off it anyways.
During those first few weeks navigating life as a new mom, a lot of tears were shed because I felt useless. I was working harder than I ever had in my entire life, but yet at the end of the day I felt like I had accomplished nothing. I had nothing to show for my exhaustion.
But I’m coming out of that stage and looking back and realizing, I wasn’t useless at all. I couldn’t measure my productivity in writing, so I assumed I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I felt like I should have been able to do more (confession: some days I still battle this thought).
This month I realized something important though. Something that changed my perspective. I am actually accomplishing a heck of a lot. Our society just doesn’t have a good way to measure what I’m doing as a new mom.
I’m praying circles around Atlas all day. Every night as I rock him to sleep, I whisper Luke 2:52 over my baby boy. I pray that he grows in wisdom and he finds favor with God and man. I pray that Dave & I will raise a child who is tenderhearted and compassionate – I want to raise the kid who reaches out and offers a smile and a helping hand to the children in his school who are bullied and picked on (I’m assuming he isn’t picked on – if he is, then I’ll need to pray for bail money because I will cut a kid who messes with my baby). I pray every day that we raise a boy who grows up to be a courageous, loyal and hardworking man that some girl will be proud to call her husband and my grandkids will be proud to call dad.
I read to him. I play with him. I respond to his needs, his laughs, his smiles and his cries in an effort to create a trust and a relationship that our entire family will benefit from in years to come. But you can’t check any of that stuff off a to-do list so it can’t be ‘measured.’
Life as a SAHM isn’t what I imagined. It’s harder than I ever dreamed, but more rewarding than I ever thought possible. Even though I’m working harder than I ever have, I thank the Lord every day for blessing me with a husband who provides for us so I can be the one to meet the needs of Atlas during this stage of life.
So, if you peaked inside the window of my home tonight (we’re assuming you’re a creep in this scenario, I guess), you would likely look around and think I got nothing done today. And to some extent, you would be correct. But my life right now isn’t measured in tasks, to do lists and weekly updates. It is measured in love, laughter, prayers and memories that I’m going to get to keep forever.