It’s a question that brings me guilt, but it’s still worth asking: What if being a stay-at-home-mom just isn’t enough for me?
There’s this song I keep listening too lately – Rings by Aesop Rock.
The writer confesses that he used to be an artist — not just because he liked it as a hobby, but because it was an integral part of who he was. But then life happens, and his art is pushed to the side for more urgent things.
He writes, “Routine day with a dirt cheap brush. Then a week goes by, and it goes untouched. Then two, then three, then a month. And the rest of your life, you beat yourself up. I left some seasons eager to fall. I left some work to bury alive. I let my means of being dissolve. I let my person curl up and die.”
I feel his plight.
The life that got away
It’s probably easiest to describe myself as an accidental stay-at-home-mom. This was never actually part of my life plan.
I knew I wanted the kids and the dog and the house and the SUV. I wanted date nights with my husband and movie nights with our kids. I wanted bedtime stories, fruit snacks, bike rides, and funny soundbites that would provide a lifetime of inside jokes for our family.
But I also wanted a career. I wanted to put those years of collegiate education to good use. I wanted to dream big things—and make them happen. I wanted to learn how to tell a great story. I wanted to write. Oh. My. Word. How I wanted to write.
And here I am, typing words on a screen. Writing about motherhood. Because that’s all I have to talk about anymore.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying.
It’s not that I don’t love being a stay-at-home-mom. I do. I really love it. I am honestly grateful for it.
But it’s kind of like how I have two boys and no girls. I love being a boy mom. I wouldn’t trade my sons for all the girls in all of the world. Yet there’s a part of me that wonders, “What if?” What would life be like if I had a daughter too? When my friends are getting their little girls ready for father/daughter dances or when we joke about future wedding planning, there’s a small niggling in the far corner of my brain, processing what will never be and wondering how much I am missing.
Being a stay-at-home-mom is kind of like that for me.
I can’t help but to remember that I used to have other things to write about. I had more to say.
My husband discusses world events with me sometimes, and I pretend I know what he’s talking about. Because I’m embarrassed that my 15 most recent Google searches are about the perils of pink-eye or appropriate disciplinary tactics for a 4-year-old who whines most of his waking hours. That’s the reality I’m dealing with here.
Is former me still in here somewhere?
A few nights ago, I looked for songs I’d never heard before. I stayed up far too late, reading album reviews, falling down the rabbit hole that is recommended artists on Spotify. I found songs I liked from commercials or television show intros. I made new playlists. I memorized new lyrics.
This used to be a weekly habit. But for now, it was just enough to give me a second wind.
I love being a stay-at-home-mom, but sometimes I need to be more than that. Sometimes I need to feed the inner artist. When my inspiration dries up, so does my energy and patience. I was a writer first. I was a creative first. And those things makes me a better mother when I let them rise to the surface.