Being a stay-at-home mom is far from glamorous.
One day a few weeks ago, when my father-in-law was in town, we decided to wake up early to go into the city. We were planning on catching the bus at 6:34 AM, so I knew I would need to set an alarm to wake up early enough for the adventure.
It has been so long since I set an alarm that I didn't even trust it would work. But it did, and as a first in a very long time, I woke up to a beckoning other than my son's. It felt great.
I woke up to a quiet house and my own agenda. The house was still and dark, and I snuck off to the bathroom where I brushed my teeth and put on makeup. Usually I quickly dash on some mascara strokes and maybe rub some blush into my cheeks, but on this particular morning, I got to take my time.
I felt so wonderful and put-together. I felt like such an adult that I even turned the news on, just to complete the mood. Everything about these fifteen quiet, solo minutes made me think of when I used to work.
I loved my teaching job. I had my own classroom, my own students, and was a part of a team and a community. My job required a lot of responsibility, creativity, patience, and problem-solving. Being a stay-at-home mom requires these things as well, but it doesn't give me the same sense of pride and accomplishment.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a privilege. I know this. I'm fortunate to soak up every moment with my oh-so-sweet son who is growing and changing at a shocking rate. I'm not saying I would trade this in; I am saying that being a stay-at-home mom is not easy and certainly not glamorous.
Here are six things I miss about being a working woman:
1. I miss feeling like an adult.
I watch Dora and Barney. I finger-paint and read books made out of cardboard. I go to the library and zone out while my son works with puzzles and stacks blocks. I know every parent does these things, but I do it from wake-up time until bed time.
One day, while we were at an indoor play place, I overheard a group of moms talking, and one said, "Everyday, I can't wait for three o'clock to come. That is when hubby comes home, and I go to work. It is like a vacation." I took solace in hearing this, knowing we all have similar feelings.
It's no wonder I started writing upon becoming a stay-at-home mom. We mommies need projects, hobbies, mental stimulation, a little solo space, and a way to release frustration and exhaustion.
2. I miss having my own life.
My life is my kid's. Because parenting is all I do everyday, I want to be good at it. I want things to go smoothly, and feel confident, so I don't just do parenting — I read about it, write about it, and talk about it. It consumes me. Puke. Poop. Pee. Sleep. It's my life.
3. I miss having a job where I don't feel so lonely.
A stay-at-home mom can never get enough adult interaction. My transition to the home with our first born was shocking. The house was always too silent, aside from the cries of a baby. I nursed, changed diapers, cooked, cleaned, sang lullabies, and felt oh-so-lonely and depleted.
This has gotten better since Little Prince has gotten older because we are now able to talk to each other. He is my best little buddy. Plus, we are able to go out and do more than we were able to when he was a wee-little guy.
I've also learned the importance of structure and routine, not just for Javin, but for myself, too. Still, it's a job of being in the home, and mostly alone. When my husband gets home from work, I wag my tail and clap my hands.
4. I miss feeling attractive.
When I went to work, I got up, got dressed, and made myself look good. When I was a new mom, we lived on a hot Caribbean island. Josh would come home from class, and I would be rocking a messy bun on the top of my head, and nothing but undies. This was not hot. I was like a milk cow with my utters out.
Although I keep my breasts in my shirt these days, I still wear lounge wear 100 percent of the time. I miss wearing cute clothes and high heels, but these things would be silly and impractical to wear now.
5. I miss feeling feeling important.
I used to have emails to check and meetings to go to. I had things to do, places to go, and reasons to get dressed in the morning. Now, the only place I have to be at a certain time is story time at the library. We kill time all day long. We go to the park, and visit the grocery store, sometimes just for something to do.
6. I miss getting a break.
I want to read a book, talk on the phone, or do the dishes in peace, but all these activities are different when I share space with my toddler. He snatches my book and says "mine!", he gets upset when I'm on the phone, and likes to help with whatever chore I'm doing. His help is sweet and endearing, but turns the chore into an extra chore.
When I go to the laundromat, he likes to put the clothes, the quarters, and the detergent into the machines, which requires a special kind of patience. But by the time the clothes are dry, he is too over it and I can't stay to fold them.
Sometimes I just want to move at my own pace. A job outside of the home ends and I would look forward to coming home, but this job never ends. Sometimes I count the hours until bedtime so I can just be, but then my bedtime follows so closely behind his because it all starts over bright and early the next day.
As a stay-at-home-mom, I get to be there for my child in every way, all the time. This is priceless. I know I will never regret the time we are spending together, and I will surely miss these lazy (and sometimes crazy) days we share.
But when I hear of my friends who are having babies and keeping their jobs, I'm happy for them because although they are now mothers, they will stay in tact as individuals, too.
This article was originally published at Stay-at-home Panda. Reprinted with permission from the author.