One reason I named this blog "The Cultivated Mother" is because honestly, there are a lot of days when I wish I was working outside the home. It's such a slippery slope for a stay-at-home-mom to say she doesn't like being at home with her kids. It's not that I don't enjoy my children. It's not that I don't appreciate being their main teacher in life. I get to experience so many things with them that even my husband misses out on because he works. I get more time to myself (in some ways) than I probably would if I was working a job AND being mother and wife at home. And there will never be anything that can compare to my daughter saying, "You're the best mom."
However, all of those good moments don't make me feel personally fulfilled every day. There are many days where I feel like I am yearning for something else. Something else outside my home that makes me feel like I'm being who I was meant to be in the world. I got a Masters degree in Marriage and Family therapy, but there are millions of things I would enjoy doing not just for a career, but for a sense of purpose. So why am I at home with the kids if sometimes I'd rather be furthering my career? Because my friends, I'm married to a sailor. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have fantasies about working 40 hour weeks - part-time would actually be ideal - but when you're moving every 12 to 24 months, it's kind of hard to look like a good bet to an employer. And it's even harder, in my case, to try and get a counseling license.
I don't have another option besides staying at home with my children and with the cost of daycare and preschool, it's the cheaper option too. And because I have this drive to succeed, being a "good stay-at-home-mom" really creates a lot of mental stress for me. If you are a parent, you are probably aware of all the blogs, magazines, shows, and products out there that tell you how to become the best parent ever. I constantly feel like I'm behind or that I'm not doing enough for my kids. There are thousands of crafts, educational activities, workbooks, life skills, and games that I should be doing with my kids to help them flourish. But see - there I am "shoulding" on myself again. Why do I put so much pressure on myself to do all that stuff? Why do I let myself feel as though I'm failing at something? Why do I compare myself to other moms, with other personalities, other children, and other lives? I want to try to begin and shift my thinking so that I'm not spending most of my day trying to add "things to do" to my list. I want the only thing on my list to be "do what feels right." If I make a lot of crafts? Great. If I spend the day playing with my kids? Fantastic. But if I don't do anything all day besides feed the kids, change diapers, break up fights, and do some laundry, I've still fulfilled my purpose for the day. And ultimately, that's what I'm aiming for.