Tuesday 7 February 2017

Isolation as a WAHM - you are not alone

Being a stay at home mum sounds great.. I remember when I was younger, it was all I ever wanted. I'm quite a home body anyway I guess, so being at home all day everyday with a cute baby sounded like my idea of heaven.

Being a WAHM or work-at-home-mum seems to appeal to even more people. The benefits of being with your baby all day, able to play with them and getting to see every milestone whilst still working and earning money sounds like the ideal situation to be in.

When I had Aria's 9-12 month review with the health visitor last month, she asked if I'd returned to work. 'I work from home so I never really took time off anyway' I replied. 'Oh perfect!' she said.

I know she probably meant well, as it does sound idyllic but sometimes I don't think people understand how hard it can be.

I remember answering her in my head with.. 'Yeah, trying to send invoices and make videos before deadlines with a screaming, teething baby hanging off your lap is perfect!'

I find the juggle between work and motherhood so difficult, it's hard to split your time and it's hard to switch from one to the other. I always feel like my head is the clouds, thinking about everything at once.

As well as that, there is something else that is hard and that is the isolation and loneliness.. I know I'm not alone when I say this.

 I personally did find it better in the baby stages.. while I was pregnant I managed to get lots of work 'scheduled' and ready to go so I didn't have to focus on it as much. I would venture out in my 'free time' (whatever that is), I'd meet friends for coffee or go to baby groups and then work in nap time. It was just how I pictured.. but as babies get older, it gets harder. 

I struggled getting back to being a WAHM instead of just a SAHM. Gone are the coffee dates, as you have work to do.. gone are the shopping trips or days out, as you have work to do.. and gone is the adult conversation.. as you have work to do.

On the tougher days, when the toddler demands more attention, won't take their afternoon nap or are teething... work piles up and so your evenings see you once again, sat with your headphones in catching up with work instead of watching a film with your husband or popping out with friends.

Your days are spent inside the house, just you, your work and the toddler. The soundtrack of your life becomes toddler tantrums, the annoying voice of Peppa Pig, the tapping of your keyboard and the background drone of your washing machine.

I know so many woman feel this too yet most of us feel too ashamed or guilty to speak out. To other people you have 'everything' and are living the 'ideal' or 'perfect' life.. so that mum-guilt weighs heavy when you feel so lonely and that life isn't perfect.

As humans, we crave social interaction and without it, we can get low self-esteem making the whole situation and that 'mum-guilt' even worse.

On the tough days, it can get a little overwhelming but you should not feel guilty. It doesn't make you ungrateful, or a bad mother, or unworthy of the child and job you have, it makes you human.

You are not alone.



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