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Realising I’m not the mother I always thought I’d be Realising I’m not the mother I always thought I’d be
Before I had kids, I dreamed about being a stay-at-home mom.  Growing up, we were lucky to have my mom home with us most... Realising I’m not the mother I always thought I’d be

Portia and Madeleine- the lights of my life

Portia and Madeleine- the lights of my life

Before I had kids, I dreamed about being a stay-at-home mom.  Growing up, we were lucky to have my mom home with us most of the time, and I guess I thought that that’s how I would want to raise my own children, when the day finally came.  I dreamed of cooking hot meals every night for my little family, crafting and playing in the backyard with my children during the day and having playdates with my friends and their kids.  I loved the idea of having the whole household under control and making life easy for my husband by rocking the homemaker role. Mom, you made it look so easy and so glamorous!

As it turns out, I am happy in that role about 1 day per week and otherwise feel totally and utterly stifled.

Being at home alone, all day long, with 2 young children is just… not for me.  It took me 3.5 years to figure that one out, but I’m absolutely sure of it now.  It’s not that I’m ungrateful of the fact that I even have this option! It’s just that this option is not the one that works for me.  I have many mama friends whom I know would love to stay home and maybe aren’t able to for financial (or other) reasons, and I feel for them, because I know what it feels like to want to be in a position you’re not currently in.

I wish it were different.  I would love to love being a stay-at-home mom.  The cold, hard truth is that it’s not what makes me happy.  Any parent knows that it’s unnecessary to even say things like “don’t get me wrong, my children are my world and I love them like I’ve never loved before”, because we all love our children like crazy. But, I’ve come to recognize that loving my children unconditionally doesn’t mean that I need to be with them 24 hours a day.  Loving my children means being able to provide them with all the physical and emotional support, encouragement and tools for tackling life that I possibly can, and I cannot do this for them if I’m not in the right physical and emotional space myself.

When I dig deep, this is what I know about myself: I’m as much a social butterfly as I need time for myself.  And that is a deadly combination when I’m stuck in the house all day long.  Children or no children… it just doesn’t work for me.

It’s hard to be true to oneself, especially when children are involved.  Our kids come first.  It’s engrained in us AND hammered into us from outside influences. I’m finally at the point where I’m understanding that as important as my kids are to me, I am equally as important to them, and this means I need to do what’s right for ME to be able to give them all the very best that I can.

At first, when I came to this major realisation, I felt like I had failed.  I convinced myself I was just doing something wrong and that there are parents that would give anything to be where I was, so I needed to give my head a shake, suck it up and just keep going.  It took a lot of soul-searching to admit to myself that this isn’t a matter of failing or succeeding.  This is about happiness and well-being and I haven’t been listening to my head, my heart nor my gut when my entire body was telling me that I wasn’t where I should be.

So, where SHOULD I be?  That’s where this all gets even trickier.  The whole point of me entering into the entrepreneurial world and running my own business was to have the flexibility to be there for my children and to be there for them MORE.  I worried that by returning to work full-time, I’d miss out on all the special ‘early years’ moments that I really didn’t want to miss out on.  So, where’s that beautiful balance that we all seek?

I’m peeling back the layers to find answers to those questions.  Here is what I know so far:

I can be the most important person in my childrens’ lives (alongside their daddy) in quality hours every day.  I don’t need to spend every waking minute with them for our relationship to be deep, meaningful and beautiful.

And that’s about all I know for sure, but I figure it’s a good starting point and I now have a focus to work around.

The  logistics will fall into place. They always do, when your heart is in the right place.

 

Jessica Blumel

Nice to meet you! I'm Jessica a.k.a North Shore Mama. This site was born out of my love for my daughters and the desire to share my motherhood journey with fellow moms. I believe we're all in this craziness called 'parenthood' together and North Shore Mama is my way of reaching out to anyone who needs a laugh, a cry or dinner inspiration. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Tamara

    April 3, 2014 #1 Author

    You and I are very much in the same boat. The time you do have with your kids is all the more valuable. Keep being the amazing mom you are.

    Reply

  • julie nowell

    April 3, 2014 #3 Author

    Oh jess.
    When I started my first biz after being “at home” with the kids for 3 years, my mother said to me “well darling, you did try”
    I tried very hard to be a stay at home mom, but it isn’t what makes me happy.
    Being a work-at-home mom with enough time for everything and knowing when enough is enough (for both work and play) IS the right thing for me.

    You will find your sweet spot, be courageous in chasing down your dream and be honest about what works for you. We need to show our kids how to be happy mothers, otherwise they will always strive for someone else’s vision of “parenting”

    Good luck buttercup.
    J
    http://www.3chickensandaboat.com/not-a-stay-at-home-mom/

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      April 4, 2014 #4 Author

      Thank you so much Julie! I love your post and your words of wisdom! It’s so great knowing we’re not alone on this journey :)

      Reply

  • Lisa Corriveau

    April 3, 2014 #5 Author

    OMG, you’re so not alone in this. I have been writing a post like this in my head for about a year now. Unfortunately, I need to wait until Brontë is a bit older, but there’s no way I’m staying out of the workforce until she’s 3.5 like her brother.

    When I was in my early 20s, I didn’t see myself being a full-time SAHM & now that I’ve tried it, I know my 21-year-old self was right: it ain’t for me.

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      April 4, 2014 #6 Author

      I can’t wait to read your post, Lisa :) We tried, right! And now we know which path to take so we end up in the right place!

      Reply

  • Angela

    April 3, 2014 #7 Author

    I’m not a young mother, my girls are now 21 and 24, I have been a stay at home mother all this time, but work from home. I went back to work when #1 was 6 months old but my job entailed lots of travelling and early meetings which didn’t fit with breast feeding! So I stopped. I went back to paid working after 8 years. I found being at home incredibly stressful and a friend and I decided it was lack of control. At work if you as a colleague to do something, it’s done, babies and toddlers? Not so much. I had fun with my children and we have a very close relationship, but now they are grown I am still doing a home based job that I dislike because it is too late to change.
    If being at home with your brood makes you happy and you can afford it that’s great. But if resuming your career will make you happy, and you can be organised with childcare and holidays, do that. Your children are a part of your life and will grow up just fine all the more for you being a happy fulfilled parent not a mother who is always looking over her shoulder at what might have been. Good luck.

    Reply

  • Sara Lawson

    April 4, 2014 #8 Author

    Nailed it Jess! I’ve had the exact same feelings as you and its so nice to see we’re not alone, reading the various other comments. I can honestly say returning to work part time, for me, has been exactly what I needed. My paid job is so much more enjoyable 3 days a week that my boss has even commented on how much happier I seem. I also try to make the most of the 3 days I have with the kids. Truthfully the unpaid job is a heck of a lot harder but the end of the day I know I will look back and appreciate all the moments I got to spend with the kids, and know they will appreciate those moments as well as their days in daycare with all their friends. I’ve discovered for me its about balance and I’m so thankful I’ve been able to achieve it and lucky we can make it work. Thanks for posting this one honey!

    Reply

  • Kristina

    April 4, 2014 #9 Author

    Great post Jess!

    I’m one of those that feels the opposite. I want to leave my job so badly so that I can be there for my kids more (do school pick up and drop offs, etc) BUT I could not be a stay-at-home mom. There’s nothing wrong with it and, as you pointed out, it’s not for everyone. I would definitely have my own business and I know my MIL would be there to support me (hubby too!). Do what you think is best for both you and your kids. Remember, Mommy needs to be happy so that everyone is happy 😉

    Reply

  • Jodie

    June 2, 2014 #10 Author

    This is a very interesting post Jess, and I definitely agree with you, and some of the comments: you can’t be a good mom if you’re not happy, so doing what you want is not being selfish, it’s simply doing what’s best for your kids :)

    Reply

  • Mahsa (the Crushworthy)

    July 28, 2014 #11 Author

    Hi! Great post… I’m feeling the exact same way right now. The first 6 months after having my daughter I was convinced I would want to stay at home the first few years. As she approached the one year mark, I really missed having a professional life and not have everything revolve around baby :) I’m taking a couple extra months off to feel it out as I don’t know what we’re doing for childcare (we’re number 175 of the wait lists in Vancouver!), but I really do believe things will work out. I feel very lucky to have the choice on whether I want to go back or not as that’s not the case for many moms I know, but I think by doing what’s best for me I can be a better mom too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Jessica Blumel

      July 28, 2014 #12 Author

      Thank you so much for your comment Mahsa! You’re right, we are lucky to have options and the ability to either stay home or go back to work, should we choose! Good luck with your decision. :)

      Reply

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