As far as the eye can see, every tree and rooftop are sheathed in a glistening blanket of snow. The fireplace is aglow and I’m in head to toe fleece, having embraced comfort over fashion, a true Oregonian one year after relocating. My oldest children are in school, and the sweetest toddler on Earth is my homegirl. My husband is in his office, two jobs in, gently pecking away at his keyboard, making it possible for me to be without a formal career. Indigo and I have been hard at it this morning, playing in the snow (well, she mostly ate it), painting, reading, pretending, sipping chai, and singing, and now she’s slumbering upstairs. Coziness abounds in our home. I’m a nurturer by nature and my space reflects that. For me, this life is hygge (Google it), in every sense of the word.
Stay at home motherhood is relatively new to me. Work (hairstylist) forced socialization, up until this year. Often times I found myself overwhelmed, wanting nothing to do with women and conversation by the time the weekend arrived, preventing me from putting much effort into friendships. I’ve curated relationships that don’t require a constant presence or line of communication. Thank God for texting.
But now, here I am, jobless (aside from a few Saturdays per month), and I’m fresh out of excuses for antisocial tendencies.
If I’m being honest with myself, the desire isn’t showing up. Aside from being fiercely independent, my cup runneth over at home. My husband and I have a completely rewarding relationship with great exchanges of ideas and inspiration, and I’m blessed to receive mass quantities of love in the form of snuggles, hugs, and kisses from three mini sugars. I have a sweet little routine going. I’ve managed to, for the first time, find a balance between motherhood and self-care. Stress is almost nonexistent, outside of the sporadic minor meltdown and children waiting until the last minute to get coats and shoes on for school.
I’m afraid to upset the balance, tip things out of my favor by making any changes, even a lunch date evokes despair. I was operating in survival mode before I stopped working, running on adrenaline, and I realize that I was less of a wife and mother by more than I’m comfortable admitting to. I’m desperate to never feel that way again, to not deprive my family of my best version. I have an irrational fear of new commitments, of any kind, because I know my MO- all or nothing.
And, it’s turned me into a virtual shut-in.
I can’t decide what my comfort level is with this.
The sensible part of me acknowledges that women bring different layers of communication and connection than a husband. But, I’m not lonely, not pining for more. And, friendships take effort, time, commitment (eek!)- things I’m tapped out of with children and myself to care for.
I can also recognize that it’s important to have a support system, a tribe (if I’m being on trend). It’s hard to rally the energy to build said tribe in the event of a yet to transpire need.
Writing, reading, researching wellness, practicing spirituality, working on a side business, exercising, and healthy cooking are daily passions for me. Purpose abounds. I don’t feel underwhelmed as a stay at home mom because I fill every crevice of my life with rewarding endeavors. There are not enough hours in the day to pursue my ever-growing interests.
As a mother, my time has become increasingly precious. I must share it sparingly, out of fierce protection of my limited energies. These are going to have to be some pretty stimulating friendships to make them worth it to an already home-body-by-nature mama. I enjoy feminine perspective and sharing, but my inclination is to be fully present and social interactions leave me depleted, no matter how much enjoyment they’ve rendered. Some women are filled up after time with friends, but I know I’m not alone in my sentiment. I do have buds (old and new), but we aren’t up in each other’s business on the reg. I suspect our similar mentalities drew us to one another. And, in an emotional crisis, I could one hundred percent count on them. We just aren’t brunching or meeting up to chat over wine.
This is the current space I reside in. I don’t have an answer. Maybe it resolves itself as your children grow older. Maybe I’m dead wrong for not forcing it upon myself.
I want to hear from other mothers who share my experience and feelings... and from those who don’t. How do you work socialization into your world? What’s your take on finding balance and resisting the urge to be a shut-in?
Talk to me, Mamas.