There I said it. I’ve lied to myself, friends and family for the past two years. It’s not that I hate being home with my kids, that’s the rewarding part. The fact of the matter is that it’s an overwhelming job. Parenting is not new to me, I had my oldest at a young age, I was 20. But her dad and I had great family support and we didn’t have to worry about childcare while he worked and I went to college. But when we got pregnant the second time, the ideal option was for me to stay home. I never thought in a million years I would end up hating it.
Prior to my life as a “SAHM”, I was a free-spirit contemplating getting a Ph.D. My plan after college was law school or a career in politics; I was on the fast track to greatness and my savvy social skills were getting me there. I have always been a social butterfly. I dined with college professors and deans. I rubbed elbows with governors and senators. I volunteered in my community. I clawed my way through a blizzard to meet a presidential hopeful from the state of Illinois named Barack Obama. I met dignitaries and D-list celebrities. This was my life until destiny intervened and shifted the course.
After the sudden loss of my mother-in-law and my grandmother, I put my family at the forefront of my life. My baby’s daddy and I got married and began family planning. At that time, the economy tanked, so to help save money we downsized to just one car and we put ourselves on a budget to save for a house. Long gone were the days of dining at Applebee's and Outback because we were too lazy to cook. Our trio was quickly growing as I was pregnant with twins. This time around I figured we could save on childcare expenses and I would just stay home with the kids.
I imagined it would be like in the movies. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn, make my coffee and start on breakfast. The hubs and I would have some morning nookie, I’d get dressed, do my makeup and hair, all before the kids woke up. We’d eat breakfast together as a family and we would see dad and the oldest off to work and school; the twins and I waving bye as he backed out of the driveway. Corny, I know. But it was my fantasy and how I saw myself as a homemaker.That is, until I became one.
The reality was that I was barely getting myself out of bed. I was exhausted from being up, down and all around with kids 24/7. Cabin fever from being in the house all day and my late night battles with insomnia were making me delusional. I was cranky and bitchy. Because of my lack of sleep, my anxiety attacks were returning. I was on edge and anything would push over. I could barely get it together enough to brush my teeth much less do my hair or make up.
Staying home was daunting from the jump. Many days all I wanted to do was lie in bed too tired to even blink. My life was suffocating me. I was sick of singing the wheels on the bus and Barney’s voice became nauseating. Sesame Street, Super Why and Yo Gabba Gabba were often my homeschooling substitutes. My brain was atrophying away because I had no intellectually stimulating conversation with grownups. And I only wanted to go on a playdate if it was during happy hour--but then what kind of mother would I be boozing while the kids play? I couldn’t be on some undercover story on The Today Show about drunk moms, so I had to get it together.
Then I met a friend who felt the same as I did. And I wasn't afraid to tell her exactly how I was felt. I realized there is this pressure mothers put themselves under, we feel we have to be superwomen and our sole mission is to hold down the fort. We lie about potty training, our kid’s behavior, disciplining techniques, our sex lives, how often we clean and our happiness. But it was cathartic for me to meet a real woman who had just as many issues as I did. We had great conversations analyzing the juxtapositions of our former lives and our current ones. She was funny, smart and her son offered great company to the twins and I truly believe his testosterone warded off their hourly catfight matches with each other. I also found solace in the fact that my twins will start preschool in the fall. I'm literally counting down the days.
Some mothers will be grossly offended about this post. I honestly don't care. Being a stay-at-home mother is not for everyone. Many career-oriented women who decided to stay home with their kids find the transition difficult--I was one of those women. The last two years have been a blur; I honestly can't wait to get back to my old self.
Aonya Kendrick Barnett is a Jersey-born, Kansas-bred 20-something-year-old anti-stepford wife and mother of the animanics. Her distinctive voice is like a cross between the Chipmunks and Macy Gray, she’s a self-proclaimed pop-culture junkie and a future cast cast mate of the real housewives franchise, a lover of hip hop and a challenger of conventional wisdom. She’s the editor of NotoriousSHE.com, an eMagazine delivering sassy and relevant content for and about the 21st century renaissance woman. Keep up with her daily musings by following her on twitter.