Navigating Mom Life: The Unspoken Grief We Need to Talk About

Navigating Mom Life: The Unspoken Grief We Need to Talk About

Alright, let’s dive into the real deal of stay-at-home mom life. Beyond the cute Instagram moments and endless diaper changes, there’s a silent grief that’s often swept under the rug. We’re talking about the moms who’ve chosen to hit pause on their careers and embrace the stay-at-home mom gig. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, with losses that aren’t as obvious but pack a punch – from career dreams to friend breakups and the whole family dynamics shift.

baby feet

My Journey to Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

During my first pregnancy, the vision of returning to my role as a physical therapist after giving birth seemed like the natural course. Everyone I knew went back to work after having children. And after working as a physical therapist for nearly a decade, I had a solid career foundation.

However, as I researched childcare options, a sense of unease crept in. Neither a nanny nor a daycare center brought me the peace of mind I needed. It became clear that I didn’t want anyone else raising my child but me. I wanted to be present for all the significant milestones, from the first step to the first word, and even the seemingly small joys like walking into his room to see his post-nap smiles. 

Dealing with the Negativity

So, I committed to being a stay-at-home mom. I found myself among the minority in my circle of friends and neighbors. When I shared my choice, some reactions were less than supportive.”Why would you waste your degree?” and comments about potential boredom and lost earnings echoed around me. Yet, I stood firm in my decision, recognizing the unique advantage my professional background brought to parenting. A Doctor of Physical Therapy would raise my child, someone trained to observe, problem-solve, and enhance the quality of life – qualities I was ready to apply to motherhood.

Contrary to concerns about boredom, I saw each day as an opportunity to invest time and energy into creating a nurturing home, researching effective parenting, and being fully present for my family. The value of staying home far surprised any money I would make at work.

However, despite the logic and financial sense, I still felt this weight of loss that I couldn’t ignore. The professional achievements and social connections associated with my career brought a unique form of fulfillment that, despite my commitment to motherhood, I couldn’t entirely replace. I felt like those achievements washed away once I chose to stay home. The silent grief of that loss lingered, a tough reminder of the complicated choices we make for our families.

newborn baby sitting on moms lap

The Weight of Those Quiet Losses

So, you know how we often hear about the grief of losing a loved one or going through a breakup? Well, imagine that, but subtler. Choosing to be a stay-at-home mom means bidding adieu to your professional identity. The career ladder you were climbing suddenly turns into a jungle gym at the local playground. It’s a transition that leaves you feeling like you misplaced a piece of yourself.

If you’re like me, you spent most of your 20s proving yourself professionally, changing roles, getting promotions, and working many hours. Part of my identity was wrapped up in my career. So, to be able to step away from it so quickly to raise a baby felt a bit tragic after the fact.

people in an office sitting around computers

Farewell, Office BFFs

Spending your time with a baby, going for walks, and attending mommy and me classes may sound like a grand adventure, but let’s discuss the downside. You’re now removed away from your tribe – those work buddies who got your coffee order right and understood your daily grind. The distance can turn into an emotional one, and suddenly, you’re mourning the loss of the camaraderie that used to make Mondays a bit more bearable.

Sure, you can still catch up with your former coworkers, but something happens when a baby enters the picture, especially if no one else is a parent. You have less relevant topics to chat about, they have less time to meet up, and your worlds start to separate.

three people sitting on a bench talking

Relationship Evolution

Now, let’s get real about relationships. Not just work buddies but your friendships. The people you meet with for a happy hour, take weekend trips together, or host girls’ nights with. Staying home with the kids can shake things up on the home front. Responsibilities get reshuffled, and you might find yourself in the midst of a Netflix-worthy drama. Even your social life takes a hit, and you’re left figuring out the new normal. It’s a transition that’s not always smooth, and you’re left wondering if your friends got a script you missed.

Like parentless coworkers, friends without the responsibility of raising kids have a different agenda. Their flexibility, availability, and spontaneity can make it hard to find common ground in this new life.

two people hugging with sunset in background

Acknowledging the Feels

Here’s the thing – it’s okay to feel a bit down about all this. The sadness that comes with these losses might not be as flashy as a breakup, but it’s valid nonetheless. Lean on your squad – whether it’s friends, family, or a professional counselor. Talking about it can be a game-changer.

I remember having far too many conversations with my husband about how lonely I felt. I could stay home for days at a time, and no one would even know…the world would go on. And unfortunately, that happened more often than I’d like to admit. He and I would brainstorm about meeting new friends– mom friends. Friends who knew what I was going through, who I could problem solve with and bounce ideas off of. Friends who had similar values to me, as this seemed more important now than ever. 

an adult holding a child's hand in a field

Finding Your Momma Mojo

Beyond the sadness, there’s a superhero vibe within every mom who’s taken this route. We’ve been through the trenches: touched out, burnt out, overwhelmed, and exhausted. But you may get to a point in mothering where you just have to put your big girl panties on and figure out how to make it work for you because no one else will create the life that works for you. 

You must dig deep to find what makes you tick, what gets you excited and motivated, and what brings you peace. Maybe it is twice-a-day outings to a nearby park or a fitness class that will watch your kiddos while you work out. Maybe it’s developing a regular cleaning schedule to feel like you can stay on top of the chaos kids bring into your home. Or having fellowship with a group of like-minded moms. 

Every mom will have different things that bring her joy. And you might even find that from month to month, week to week, day to day, your needs change. Embracing the stay-at-home life, making new connections, and finding joy in the chaos – it’s all part of the journey. Yes, there’s grief, but there’s also an unexpected strength and resilience that blooms in the midst of it.

Remember, mom life isn’t just rainbows and baby giggles; it’s a wild ride with unexpected bumps. By keeping it real about the unspoken grief that comes with being a stay-at-home mom, we’re creating a space for understanding and support. Life is different than we expected. Motherhood is different than we expected. Our children are different than we expected. Let’s lift the veil on these quiet losses and embrace the messy, beautiful reality of motherhood.

"Navigating Mom Life: The Unspoken Grief We Need to Talk About" with a photo of a person holding a child in the fall with leaves on ground


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