I’ve been wracking my brain on how to say this. And not sound like a complete whiner. But it’s not gonna happen. I’m about to whine like there hasn’t been a whine before. Feel disclaimed. So here it is….parenting can be lonely. Staying home with little ones is one of the world’s biggest blessings….I truly believe that….but it’s also very isolating. It’s dare say…lonely. It’s the kind of soul-baring loneliness that makes you feel insecure and unworthy and like a piece of total loser with a side of what has become of me. It’s like being on a desert island full of kittens. Which is amazing for the first thirty minutes until you realize that you will become hungry at some point. This analogy is going nowhere fast so let’s just move on.
(obligatory cute kid photo)
Let’s just take a look at it mathematically. I like to say that everyone has a couple reservoirs of power….one is labeled “PERSONAL POWER” and that goes toward sustaining your personal self….eating, grooming, dressing, brain power, general interaction skills, memory, and anxiety maintenance. It’s all the things that you need to be a functioning human in society. And the other reservoir can be labeled “OTHER”. That OTHER pool can be used toward EVERYTHING ELSE. Think of all the other things you may like to do or must do for your ideal way of life….travel, hobbies, socializing, organic grocery shopping, you name it – it comes from your OTHER power bank. Let’s just say that on a good day, a kid from the age of 0-3 requires on average 60-80% of your OTHER power….it goes to monitoring safety, engaging them in activities, feeding, clothing, general cleanliness, diaper changes, and overall child rearing. Things that you liked to do before kids….well, you have about 40-20% of your power left in that OTHER battery pack to do those things. You CAN still do them…it’s just not at full capacity as before….because you know…you still have a kid to take care of.
Sure…things change with time…kids require various amounts of overall time and energy…so things can vary. On a rough day, that kid can push well beyond the 80% and requires ALL of your OTHER power and then some. That power requirement needs to be supplemented. Where does the extra power come from? It comes from your Personal Power pool. It means that you may not change out of your yoga pants, or you eat canned peaches for dinner instead of your normal home cooked lasagna, or perhaps you forget to buy dog food. It’s a void that needs filled. And you can do it. It just requires sacrifice.
So let’s get back to the point of loneliness. With kids in the mix, it creates this weird two sided desire….this feeling of wanting to be completely alone and the wanting of being social. You spend increased amounts of time pouring into other people – specifically kids – and then not filling the need of being poured into. You feel guilty if you spend time away from the kids because 1. babysitters are dang expensive and 2. you think about the kids the entire time because you can’t just flip a switch and turn off the need to be a spectacular parent and 3. you kind of forget how to be social….especially if your OTHER power bank has been depleted lately. Remember how your PERSONAL POWER picks up the slack? Well, that affects your interaction skills. So boom…you are there to be refilled and can’t even sponge in all that social goodness because your body and brain has forgot how.
Hence…being in a room full of people and feeling completely lonely.
And then there is the dilemma that I have….two kids under the age of 3. And one that is 4….which in my mind still requires about 30% of my energy. So here I am…requiring what I say is 150% of my OTHER power bank….my personal power is running at 50% and literally I have no idea what my parents phone number is, when two of the kids birthdays are, seven loads of laundry to do….and that’s after washing, folding and pretreating it all weekend, I’ve completely forgotten my social security number, and my interactions with humans that use big words is limited to a 2 second conversation with the lady at the register. And I’m fairly certain that she asked me how I was doing and I said “yes, they are all boys.”
Then there are the friends that choose to still interact with you with the kids in tow. But three things can happen. One, someone falls asleep, behaves like a completely unrecognizable angel and you feel like that thirty minute conversation energizes you to the point of flying to the moon. Two, the kids become the neediest needs of Needville and you can’t hold any sentences together, interact at all and feel like the entire exercise of social interaction was a complete waste of energy. And Three, the friends help…which in turn makes you feel like a crappy parent and an even crappier friend. And yes, you do gamble for that chance of Mt Everest type highs….but remember…it still comes at a cost. Even the act of getting your crap together to interact with others requires power. You may do it for a full recharge…you may just be depleting an already energy deficient Personal Power bank. It’s sometimes so worth it. And sometimes you just choose the loneliness because yes, washing your hair isn’t in the cards this week.
Jeremy and I like to joke that once we hit four kids, it was just too much for friends. You can’t go out to eat with people…it requires a booth AND a table. Food goes flying. Strangers tell your kids to be quiet which is basically the full moon to this Mama’s werewolf transformation. YOU WANT TO TELL MY ONE YEAR OLD TO STOP THROWING?! HE IS ONE. ONE!!! AND IT’s NOT HIS FAULT THE SERVER GAVE HIM A BOWL FULL OF COLORED SHRAPNEL! He doesn’t even know what the word “crayon” means?! And then you bite someone’s head off and leave them for dead. At least you do in your brain after you profusely apologize and publicly reprimand your child “No throwing baby. No throwing.” Stern look. Stink eye. Distraction.
So what happens? You stay home. You cling to the hope that one day, you will have four responsible and kind young men with strong backs and everyone will want to be your friend because you have the monopoly on yard care hands and moving help. You keep your head down and nose closed as you change the diapers, clean the blowouts, and try to get the sink at least 50% empty. You plan for the most exciting night of your week….shampoo night. And heck you might even go wild….conditioner. And you text your friends because that’s what you got right now….three seconds of blissful peace, locked in the bathroom, to text Bitmojis that don’t even look like you because the cartoon version of yourself looks so put together.
And you know what? It will be worth it. It will. I have told so many parents of this situation…and they, with their older children, tweens and teens and grown up kiddos….they all say the same thing. This too shall pass. You will forget this fog. You will be social. The energy…it gets depleted in other ways…but you will get your sanity back. Not your laundry room necessarily. But your time slowly creeps back in….hobbies can follow…and even shaved legs and home cooked dinners….but never your heart. Your heart you gave away to those kids and that is where it will stay. And one day, you will be lonely again….but it will be for them. For those kids that depleted you 200%. And you would do anything to have that back….greasy hair and all.
So I hope that if you are having a day….a rough, over 100% kinda day, you know that you aren’t alone. Not really. There is at least one other mama out here wearing a tshirt with a mustard smear and serving a pop tart for lunch and feeling weirdly isolated even in a room full of people. We can all stick together in solidarity….knowing that we are doing the bigger thing right now….that it’s sacrifice that is the greatest type of love. Much love mama. And a virtual playdate….where the kids are angels and you can climb Everest later.
Becky S says
Katie, I’ve so been there so many times with my 4 girls! I work from home running my own business and 3 are in school now (10, 9 and 5) and one in preschool (3) but it can drive you batty when you are doing yet another load of laundry, another sink full of dishes, reading the same book the 19th time or cleaning the toothpaste covered bathroom counters for the umpteenth time that week all without a word of thanks and feeling so depleted. I’ve got a supportive hubby and seems like yours is too…ask for help. A night off every week to look forward to or heck an hour that is purely yours every day. I try to find the joy in the littlest things too…my 10 year old got up and helped my 3 year old change her PJs at 3am after an accident (Woohoo!), the non-stop bickering between my bigs that was broken up by girlish laughter and sisterly advice, and savoring snuggles with my last “baby” and looking at those long eyelashes. Lastly remember it’s no one on this earth’s job to fill you up. Your strength can only come from Him. It’s not your kid’s job, your husband’s job, your employer’s job, hobbies, etc to fill that hole inside….there is no peace like that which comes from the Savior. I’ll be praying for you Katie! You got this! One moment, one step, and one leap of Faith at a time…but you got this!
I love and appreciate your honesty, Katie. You are a wonderful parent. XO.
I love and appreciate your honesty, Katie. You are a wonderful parent. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. XO.
❤️! This might be the post I’ve related to the most! Motherhood is oh so hard, but oh so rewarding. But is so good to hear someone else label it lonely. That’s the perfect word for this stage as a stay at home mom.
I needed to read this so much right now. Thank you for putting words to my current experience, it’s funny how sometimes just being able to label something somehow makes it more manageable. And to know I’m not alone!
I always love these rambling thought posts. I feel very lucky to have the current work/life situation I have with two under the age of three right now. (Disclaimer – privilege details about to come your way.) I get to work from home, and a nanny comes to our house to watch the boys. Last week, I had a Monday off, but my husband didn’t. I gave the day off to the nanny and watched the kids by myself (honestly, something I am terrified to do). It was a great day – and a great reminder that I DO know how to watch my children by myself (because let’s be honest, I share the responsibility with my husband in the mornings, evenings, and weekends), but I couldn’t help but find myself thinking about how lonely I was all day. I wondered how lonely other SAHMs were. I often feel guilt about continuing to work when I could potentially stay home with my kids, but that one day alone made me realize it is not for the faint of heart! The loneliness is real. I truly applaud all caretakers (parents, family members, and paid help) for spending their days with little ones. It is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating, but I think it is often very hard to look past the exhausting parts on a day-in, day-out basis. Xo Katie and all the other moms that might feeling like they are near the edge today (and everyday)! We all know you are a super mom(s)!!!!
Yes to all of this! I’m a sahm to 3, ages 5, 3 & 7 months, and I say all the time that being a sahm is both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. And that no matter how many kids you have, it feels like a lot of kids. Thanks for the post!
Rebekah Archer says
Yes. So much yes.
And this is not whiney – this is real.
Just had our surprise 4th and feeling all the lonely over here in mn. All of it.
Thank you for writing this. I’m staying home with a five month old, and I love him so much it scares me, but it is HARD, yo. Thank you for articulating this so well and validating the depletion I feel at the end of the day. And then after he’s in bed and I am collapsed in the couch, all I want to do is pull out my phone to look at videos of all the cute things he did during the day. 🙂
Parenting. It’s weird.
Why don’t you start a play group with friends from church? You could host it every time, or rotate through the different moms. Then you’d have the chance to have some adult conversation as you watch the kids play. I did that when I was a young mom and really enjoyed it.
Love this so much! I only have 2 but that is our max capacity of kids. I am always in awe of those with 3+ kids because I honestly don’t think I would have it in me. It’s all I can do to keep the house cleanish, the laundry done, meals somewhat prepped and prepared. Now that my son is 6 and in school and my daughter is 3.5, I am finally starting to feel like I can come up for air. As in I actually had the desire to start back sewing and to try to do a small quilt. Of course it will be for my daughter but I am so excited to feel the creative juices start to flow again.
I did that. Like I said – it still comes at a cost. Sometimes you just don’t even have the energy for that. And sometimes you get absolutely nothing out of it and it still requires so much energy to organize, prepare, and execute. I’m not saying its out of the question…but I wrote this on one of those days….a tough one….not everyday is so draining…some are so energizing but I wanted to document the feelings because they are real.
xo – kb
I hope you send me a pic if you finish your quilt…I’d love to virtually celebrate what it represents with you 🙂
xo – kb
LOVE this post. Where I live, most mothers I know work, so a playdate really isn’t even an option. Or for the two SAHMs I know, the playdate is far more stressful than the social interaction for me. I’ve learned to give myself a lot of grace. Also, I call this venting, not whining.
Yes. To all of this. I needed to hear it.
I have four kids who are pretty tightly spaced (9, 11.5, 13, 15). The early years were rough. I remember walking my oldest to kindergarten with the youngest in the Baby Bjorn, #3 in a stroller, and #s 1 and 2 holding on to either side of the stroller. I got a lot of looks. I also remember the no-shower, yoga pants years. I also remember the bad fast food (survival mode). And I remember having no friends. Or my only friends were other moms who I had nothing in common with besides our kids.
It will definitely get better. And my one piece of advice: make your kids self-sufficient. I don’t mean neglect them. But teach them to do their own laundry (mine started between 6-8–once the older ones started, the younger ones wanted to do it too), teach them to pack their own lunches (it will be messy, but the counter/floor/fridge can be cleaned), teach them to cook food for the family. Kids are quite capable and usually want to help. Eventually, they can really contribute to the family machine, and they’ll do it willingly because they’ll know that things run much smoother when everyone helps.
*My above advice doesn’t imply that you are doing things wrong. It’s just one of the few things that I think I’ve done right in my up and down parenting career.*
Thank you so much for writing this. Being a parent is amazing, but also incredibly hard, and as you said sometimes isolating. Love your truthful and vulnerable posts about life. 🙂
Whew..all the feelings with this post! Thanks for putting it into words and for making it seem like I’m not the only one. After a long week last week it left for a cranky mama all weekend which was taken out on the hubby that works his butt off all week so I CAN stay home with the kids. And I’m so glad I can, it’s just the day to day same ol same ol that can get so overwhelming and feel like I’m not doing anything at all! its weird being a parent, and you’re right about needing to pour back into yourself, but then that causes guilt too.
I also keep seeing your sister whenever I’m out, and I just need to meet all of you already because I feel like a total stalker!
I understand what you’re going through and I have ONE child! LOL! Just know you’re doing a fabulous job (you really are). If I could somehow give you a hug right now I would (how about a virtual one?) Great great post! 🙂
I tried this when my kids were little and thought it was awful. Way to much work. So many of the Moms used it as a bitch session. Hated there husbands, life, whatever. It gets better!
This is so true and so well said. I feel the same way and I only have two boys (5 and 21 months) and I work full time so I do have some adult interaction. But when I am home with them I both want to spend time with them and want everyone to leave me alone so I can just be me again. Both feelings at the same time! You’re not alone.
Shanoah Lynn says
Thank you for this. We have just made the decision for me to stay home with our kids when my maternity leave ends in May and as much as I know it is the right decision, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the loneliness. It is comforting to know I am not the only one. And that we will all get through it.
I totally agree about the work that goes into any attempt to be social. It’s just not worth it to me right now and I honestly feel a little better just accepting that that part of my life is on hold for a while. BUT that acceptance doesn’t make the loneliness any less real. So glad to hear another mom’s honesty!
This is in no way me saying, oh appreciate it, I wish I had what you have so please don’t take it that way. But I sooooooo wish I could stay at home, I’m jealous of the families that can swing it! Financially it just wouldn’t work for us. I still kind of get everything you’re saying and I have work taking up a % of me as well and I hate it. I come home and want to clean/straighten up, and cook, and do laundry, and work out, but I also want to spend those 3 hours between when I get home and bedtime with my son and not focusing on the house (or myself for that matter). This motherhood thing is a tough balancing act for sure
I’m glad you shared and were so honest about it, I’m positive there are tons of amazing momma’s in your exact shoes (and some in a different pair) feeling the same way.
Chins up, ladies! We’re all doing the best we can 🙂
I love this post. It’s so true. Being a parent is the most amazing, yet most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I work outside the home, but I admire parents like you that either stay at home or work at home with their littles.
Thank you. I needed to read this today. I’m a first time Mom and I love being at home with my daughter, but I’ve been feeling super lonely and then I feel guilty for feeling lonely. Thank for helping me out this into words.
We only have two, not even close to in the same boat as you, but I had a magical “ah ha” moment I must share that will keep you pushing. 10 and 7 years old and I was still doing all parts of the their laundry, and that “ah ha” moment came with the thought of “they are plenty old enough they can fold it and put it away themselves.” Once that dawned on me (which this will be a couple of years from now for you but I hope this gives you hope for that future day) it went through our whole lives. Dude, you are old enough, get yourself breakfast, make your own lunch, help pick up dog poop. Now, I had to shove my type A personality aside and ignore the wrinkled clothes and crumbs, but MAN was it life changing! You are almost there!!!!
This has been my winter (cold and lack of sunshine hasn’t helped). It’s my first winter with two little kids, a husband that travels for work and friends that have disappeared, or so it feels. It’s so lonely! I keep telling myself that we need to be more proactive socially but it still hurts when you see everyone’s Instagrams of their Friday evening with all your friends and you aren’t included. Again. Did they not ask me because they know about bedtime? Did they just forget because we were wrapped up in baby bubble and it became normal not to see us? Are my kids annoying? Am I a bad conversationalist? Is it even worth going out when I can’t have a real conversation anyway because I’m chasing a toddler and going potty and making bottles and staving off the late bedtime meltdown? Add in being rather introverted myself and what’s the point.
I don’t want to resent this age or being home. I don’t want to look back and wish I had done more and regret how I didn’t fully enjoy this time. Because it does go fast. But it’s hard to be motivated when there’s still 15 pounds of baby weight, two pairs of jeans fit, the laundry is never ending and it’s all about naps and snacks ALL DAY LONG.
It is really good to hear this from another mom. Social media puts such a perfect filter on everything that is rather discouraging at times. So thank you!
Michelle Ann says
I have always thought it amazing you can be a DIYer, blog, and look after four kids. You must be doing something right!
This post could not have come at a better time for me – I was literally searching postpartum depression info. I have two boys 18 months apart and the younger is about to turn 6 months. I love them to pieces and am struggling so much with the fact that my everyday and my life right now feel so, so lonely. I want to love the privilege of staying home with them so badly and I do have those moments, but as you said, there are some really down days. It makes me feel like a much better mom to know it is ok to not love it the way it seems so many other moms do!
Emily Donaldson says
This post is exactly what parenthood feels like sometimes. It literally brought tears to my eyes…thank you! I do believe it will get better, and that when it does I will look back and long for these days all over again. Time is such a funny thing…thanks for your honesty!
It will get better when your baby can sit. The next bigger step comes at about 12 mo, when the baby answers in his way and you get energy back.
Keep up, and order a huge pizza! 🙂
Y E S and amen. I am tracking with you sister.
I’m so thankful our generation has texting. I can text a friend and she can respond when she has a moment free. Some days we do this all day long. It is kind of like a lifeline. It saves my sanity.
My kids are 7,5 and 2 and I feel this completely. I have no family close by and kids with severe food allergies so I trust no one with them. And so since my first was born I can count on one hand the times I’ve gone out for a night without them. I often wonder what the other side looks like. Do you get comfortable going out without them and having a social life? Learn how to talk to adults and make new friends. I wouldn’t trade this time with them for the world but it often leaves me feeling bittersweet. You are not alone.
So true. I have weeks that make me feel amazing and weeks that make me feel like I’m ruining their lives. But I love them the most possible and tell them so all the time. That’s the best I can do. The years go by so fast but the days can go by so slowly sometimes.
Thank you for this post – I just wanted to say that as a mom of three boys under 5, I totally look at you and your beautiful family as an inspiration! It’s so clear that you love your boys to pieces and are doing an amazing job both with your family and your work on your home/blog. I love following along on your adventures – thank you for sharing!
I totally understand where you’re at. I do work full time outside of the home and I really don’t have any close friends with kids that are the sames ages as mine (1 and 3). I know this is just a season and it’ll get easier to go out in public and socialize with friends. It’s a season of sacrificing doing the fun thing for the responsible thing and it’ll be worth it. Be encouraged that we’re in this together and our strength comes from the Lord. You’ve got four incredible boys and in a few years when their in their tweens/teens you’ll be missing this season 🙂
Melissa Fields says
Katie and Jeremy too,
You guys are WARRIORS! You’re deep in the trenches of the hardest job in the world: raising kids. And yes, it will change, though not necessarily be easier…just different. There are some things about it that are so fulfilling and others that make you want to get in the car, drive west, and never look back. A warrior’s life can be lonely, but also important, so Thank You! Thank you for being honest and trying hard and recognizing that parenting GOOD kids is the real challenge. Lots of people can make babies but not everyone remembers to work hard every minute of every day to bring them up as great as they can. Lean on parents, friends, relatives, everyone! Heck, I bet there are even some teenagers around that might give you some help (maybe even free!) or possibly a housekeeper to deal with the house so you can worry about being Mom.
There today. On the floor. Needed this badly. Thanks for making me feel more human and less horrible. I have a 4, almost 3, 1 and just found out another coming I’m already feeling isolated and just adding another couple of years to it is really throwing me for a loop. Thanks for being so honest. I love it too but the pay is bad and the hours are not great
Late last year I quit my job and followed my husband to Italy for a career opportunity with our 3.5 and 1.5 year old daughters. Sure. Sounds like a dream. But lonely. So lonely. My husband works long hours, so I’m alone with the girls most weekdays from wake up til bed time. I’m not insured to drive here, so I don’t have a car. We live in a city center, but weather has been rainy and drab. There have been solid weeks that we haven’t left the apartment. Yes. I understand the loneliness. I can barely communicate with people here, much less make friends. So. Hugs, girl. So many hugs…from one Georgia girl to another. And if y’all want an Italian vacation…..I’ll give you a place to crash, as long as I can call you a friend and have one of those adult conversations that I recall from a past life.
Oh Katie!!! I wish I lived closer to you… I would run over to your house every morning after dropping my kiddos off at school and hang out and help with your adorable boys!!! Now that mine are in school (only 2 boys but I would have ten if my hubby would let me) I’m the lonely one in a whole different way… Like I want to avoid my house like the plague because it is too quiet and lonely!!! Why do our emotions have to be so complicated!!! But seriously I don’t have four but when mine were both little and I didn’t get out of sweat pants… Oh wait, I still don’t I remember being there and just wanting someone to talk to that understood more than five words in a sentence!! But the advice you got was sooooo true, it changes but the loneliness just shifts into other places!! It helped me a lot when my older son got into school and I found other mom’s with yonger ones like myself and we would take our younger kids to do things together… Still some of my best friend are from my oldest sons kindergarten year!! This will pass and the fact that you even think this way or contemplate these things shows how great of a mother you are… Your kids get your all and that is amazing and takes one heck of a momma… But the reward for this is priceless!!! My grandma had three boys and one girl and to this day her boys love their momma like no other and will do anything for her!! It’s adorable and a relationship I hope I’m building with my boys!! So before I write a book here… I’ll just check and see if my hubby can move me out to Atlanta and then we can be friends… It is a really gorgeous place compared to desolate old Texas where we live!!! You’ve got this momma!!!
Thank you for sharing this. You articulated clearly so much of what I feel on those rough days. We moved to a new area last year and that has added to the loneliness as we struggle to find and make friends. Plus, I’m four days from due with our third baby in four years and feeling every ounce of the depletion you described…and it’s nice to know I’m normal.
Rachel @ A Mother Far from Home says
I had 4 in 4 years but 99% ain’t 100% and now we have 5 in 5 years. YES I AM NOT JOKING and we say we have no friends, no life, and no idea if what we are doing is bad/good/or stupid.
As my mama says… “This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.”
That said, I have a 5 year old girl and 4 boys and since my life is in utter chaos I would invite you over and ignore your screaming kids and not mind if they colored on the walls or hit my boys because this is life when you have 4+ kids. It is energy others don’t understand.
Thanks for listening. Ha. 😉
❤️ Every sticky feeling and complex emotion I’ve been feeling on my heart you just described to a T, lady. I was literally JUST having coffee with a friend who doesn’t have kids … trying to explain these feelings to her but feeling like I wasn’t doing them justice. You summarize it perfectly and I thank you, sincerely for doing so. I’m going to read this to my husband tonight so he can better understand the tangled mess of emotions my heart is these days. He does a great job of supporting me and us but lately I’ve been struggling with how to explain all these feeeeelings haha. So thanks again for writing this. It was so so needed ❤️
Yes, I agree, wholeheartedly. I had so much more me time when I worked. I could have my coffee at work check emails read a few blog posts (my girly version of the news/weather/sports). I had real adult conversation and had the brain power to make intelligent remarks. I traveled working on a really cool project designing the practice facility for a NBA team, I felt like a rockstar you know compared to today. Now a year later, I’m sitting nursing one twin while the other swings, my 5 year old just woke up from one of those rare naps while my 2.5 year old is still asleep . I’m looking at the playroom that’s destroyed, telling myself that it only takes 15 minutes to clean up because of my awesome (talking myself up to myself) organizational and design skills. All the while really wanting to take half an hour to finish the spring/Easter wreath that my mom started this weekend for me. She got it 90% done and I just can’t find the time or energy to finish it. I felt so fulfilled working, but the balance was starting to feel off. I love staying at home, nothing compares to those sweet first smiles and listening to my 2 year olds stories and my 5 year old displaying so much love for his brothers. It’s amazing, and exhausting and I couldn’t put together an inteligable sentence if I wanted but I wouldn’t trade it for my former working self. Motherhood is humbling and sanctifying. Thank you so much for this post! You put my feelings to word perfectly. It’s so hard to understand that battle from the outside.
Thank you so much for expressing how I feel so well! I have 4 little boys as well, and I told my husband last night I never knew I’d feel this lonely as a Mom. I love being a Mom so much, and love spending my days with them, but it’s definitely a lonely environment at times! Loud, but lonely.
Oh yes. I have friends that work that feel the same way I do. Work outside the home doesn’t turn off the parent inside our hearts.
xo – kb
My kids are a little older (11,8 and 5) and now all are in school everyday. We had a moms group when the kids were little, especially with my oldest but I agree the play dates were not always worth it. The best ones were when a few moms and kids could meet at a local park… everyone could bring their own snacks, leave/arrive at their leisure and no one had to clean up. For awhile we would meet every Tuesday morning, not everyone could go each time but it seemed like it gave me something to look forward to at least once a week. I miss those days when everyone was happy doing the same thing for awhile… now we are the edge of the teenage years, yikes!
Yes!!! Amen!! I am a mom of four boys too (5,3,2,6mo) and I can totally relate!! My hair is greasy at this moment (as I rock and feed the baby and listen to the other three distroying the downstairs), I have three loads of laundry to do and a load in the dryer that’s been there since last week! God’s grace and daily strength get me through every. single. day!!!
Courtney Madden says
I really needed this today (and I’m not even a mom!). Thank you for your honesty and you’re adorable family 🙂
(Written as I turn down sound on baby monitor after baby’s 15 minute nap was interrupted by brother’s loud Lego banging.)
I can totally relate to washing hair as the highlight of the week. You feel so clean for that moment.
Thank you for this. I needed it.
Agree completely! Katie, I have two boys and even my husband sometimes doesn’t get that intense desire for alone time, or a two hour nap/reading time in bed or the DREAM of a hotel room by myself for a full night of sleep and waking up when I want to!! I the struggle is real and even more real when your good kids are having a not so good day! Thanks for sharing!
Whitney S says
Sending you big virtual hugs and high-fives for this. Today is one of those days that I was done before breakfast and nap time could not come soon enough. I have two kids…. ones 2.5 and the other is 9 months and life is basically just survival mode without much room for anything else. I am in absolute awe of you doing it with 4 kids!! You really are a super mom!
This is coming at the exact time I need to read these words. My almost 4 year old is miserably sick and my 6 week old won’t sleep or let me put her down. And my husband just left for a conference, out of town, for a week. As we sit and watch Mary Poppins, after several Paw Patrols, Daniel Tigers, and Super Whys I was mulling over what a crappy mom I am and how I just need a break or some extra hands. Thanks for your thoughts and words. It is nice to know I’m not alone with my personal reserves at -500%.
This! I have four girls (8, 10, 13, and 15). Putting the time in up front to teach them to help around the house and be somewhat self-sufficient pays HUGE dividends in the back-end!
Totally agree. My friends and I have started doing target dates after the kids are asleep. You get to get stuff done for your family while chatting it up with a girlfriend. I highly recommend these.
Dude. I only have one kid and I get this. I felt so betrayed at first because no one talks about this side of parenting. They tell you how glorious it is to have a baby and then throw you to the wolves.
Thanks for sharing.
I was just talking to my mom about this the other day. I have a full-time job outside of the home and a wonderful 3 year old and 10 month old at home. I am so very lucky to receive A TON of help from relative that make my out of the home job possible. But because of said job I can’t skip out on the personal care bucket as much (co-workers appreciate showers ;). However my challenge is that it never stops. The baby is up with me at 5:30. I run around balancing both of them while getting ready, manage to get out the door, be a boss-lady, run back home, fix dinner, clean up, play with them, do chores and baths, get them to bed, finish working for the day and then crash until the next day. I haven’t worked out in…….. years?!? Friend time is few and far between. I have yet to hold a birthday party for my 3years old (beyond cake and presents with family) because it all seems like too much.
I am slowly working on how to take time for myself and incorporate friends back into the picture, but, yes- you are right. It is hard.
Thanks for venting and letting me vent.
This is exactly what I needed today. I have three boys ages 4, 6, & 8 and last night the tears were flowing thinking about how I’ve let my friendships lag and how I miss just having friends to be with. I’ve done Mom groups too and yes, sometimes it’s worth the effort and sometimes it’s just one more thing to do. Thanks for the post to remind me I’m not alone in my feelings!
Just found out I’m pregnant with my fourth baby. Needless to say, I bawled through that. And probably not just because of the hormones.
Thanks for a boost, mama.
Christine Knight says
My kids are grown but I remember those days. I remember when my 2nd was 6 weeks old and it was my husbands birthday. I wanted him to come home to have a home cooked meal and have myself in fresh clothes. Nothing was going right with my colicky baby the more I stressed out. Of course, that made things even worse. My husband barely made it through the door and I had a complete meltdown. My plan for the day went the completely opposite of my intentions. Things did get better. Sometimes when you are in the trenches you forget that you are actually making progress. Hang in there it will get better.
After one week mid-winter break, it snowed this morning on the first day back to school. My daughter-in-law started hyperventilating about the possibility that school would be cancelled. Dreaming about school was the only thing keeping her alive last week at home alone with two ADHD kids.
You’re not alone. Well, with four kids, you’re actually really never alone … The one thing that used to help was us taking the kids for a long weekend several times a year. But we moved. Downsized. And can’t handle more than an overnight.
If it were up to my daughter-in-law, we wouldn’t have been allowed to downsize and move until the kids were in high school. Or just to be on the safe side, until they went away to college.
Love this. We just had our fourth boy (6, 3, 1, and newborn). We also feel like we are too much for friends right now. Like who can handle our craziness. And getting the four out of the door with teeth and hair actually brushed is so much work. We just look at it each other and say this shall pass and laugh at the insanity. I know we will miss these days but also can’t wait for it to be a little easier and to hang out with friends again.
This post is fantastic Katie. And I love your comment Maria. I am a stay at home Mom to 3 boys (3,1.5, and 1month) and it is exactly what you said both overwhelming and underwhelming. Some days I wonder how I am going to get through but you just do. I may have chatted with the woman at Amazon customer service a little too long just to talk with another adult! Every Mom out there needs to read this post cause it’s so spot on. Thank you!
Laura S. says
You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. I’ve got two girls, 8 and 12. I put them on the bus today with one almost in tears, got them off the bus only to find out the other one got to hear some “inappropriate” conversations today that she didn’t fully understand. As I stood in the kitchen still in my pajamas, heating up canned soup, I told my husband that I wished I had a friend to talk to…then I checked to see if you posted today. Thanks for being the “friend” I needed.
Thank you so much for this. I only have 2 but am going through it all. Love your honesty. Thank you again, it’s nice to know I’m normal
Thank you for this!
Oh, man, that’s too bad. Maybe try again with a different group? The ladies in my town try to do a monthly ladies night. We usually start at 7 or later, that way everyone can do dinner with their families and then relax. Everyone brings their own drink and a snack if they can. It’s low key and honestly I really crave time with women so much.
Amen!!! As a working mom who is a teacher, I spend my days with 20 3-5 year olds and my “free” time with my 4 & 7 year old. We’ve started dabbling in after school activities now that my oldest is in 2nd grade and that “free” time is even less free. As a classic introvert, it’s hard to find the alone time to recharge (yes, I know, I am in charge of our schedule but I don’t think my daughter shouldn’t get to try activities just because I need some peace & quiet). It’s been a particularly crazy 2 weeks so thanks for the reminder that I’m not alone!!!
(If it makes you feel bettter, I totally typed that my oldest was 6 and had to go back and edit it when I realized, she’s not And I only have 2 kids!)
As a brand new mom (12 weeks today!) of a baby who when awake wants to nurse 107% of the time, I can relate. Will I ever be able to go out to dinner again? What about Target? Your post is honest and every single parent out there can relate (even a new mama like myself). Sending love and juju and virtual hugs to all of us doing our best to raise these little ones! And thank goodness for dry shampoo, am I right?!
Jennifer W. says
Thank you. I am the only one of my friends with kids and I have no mom friends so it’s hard to put these feelings into words! This is so true, especially with the newborns.
I hear ya, Katie! This has definitely been the hardest part for me- being a lonely little petunia in an onion patch (it’s a song my mom used to sing, google it!). We have 3- ages 7, 4, and 3 and I homeschool the oldest. We also just moved. I have friends but that requires picking up the phone and ya’ll know how making a phone call goes with 3 rowdy kids in the background?! I’ve always been an extrovert but it gets harder after having a family- it is WORK.- you are right! And us mamas are just worked OUT.. Thanks for this! xo
Stacey Rodriguez says
I just cried! I’m the other mama with mustard on my shirt and every single dish in the sink and the dog licking the pop tart pieces up off the floor. Such an encouraging read. THANK YOU!
Karen T. says
Oh my goodness, you poor thing. I so feel for you. We’ve all been there and it does get better. I (only) have two boys and the best is when they grow up enough that they can help out. We rock the chore chart and man, is it nice to have the dishwasher unloaded or the windows washed (from my licky rabbit obsessed dog who can’t keep his tongue off the panes) or the grass mowed. I wouldn’t change it for the world but being a SAHM can be so lonely. Hang in there.
Ohhhh I can so relate! Yesterday my three boys broke me. It got to the point they were in the car waiting to be driven to school and I was a crying mess on the front patio. It was at that point that I looked up and thought, yes, I do love them and appreciate that I have this opportunity to raise them, but where am I in all of this? I sobbed all the way to school and they sat silently freaked out!
I adore your honesty Katie and you share so selflessly from the heart. Your boys chose the right Mum and as a Mum to three boys, I’d have you over to ours in a heartbeat. Fancy a trip to Sydney for a playdate? 🙂
We have his, mine and ours and they’re all boys. They were 8, 5 and newborn at one point, but today they’re 22, 19, and 14. I chose to quit my job and stay home with both of mine. I told myself they would only be little once and I would make money later. And I still maintain being a stay at home mom was the hardest job I ever had. There’s no sick days and after finding a piece of ham in a winter jacket out of the dryer (yes, it made jerky and I don’t even know where it came from) I seriously thought I was done. But, it DOES get better. Today, I have no regrets about the choice to stay home. I get time with my friends and the transition from CEO of their worlds to a consultant has been fun. So, hang in there. They will get older. But, try to find time just for you where you can spend at least an hour being you instead of mommy. In the end, if you’re running on empty and not doing something just for you, you’re not doing anyone any favors.
I can totally relate to all of this. The sudden isolation was maybe the hardest part of becoming a parent for me. You’re doing great. Leaving this comment is what I call serious social interaction these days 🙂
Thanks for this post Katie. I am a working mum, like some mothers here, staying home doesn’t make sense to us financially and I don’t think I am SAHM material. There are days our nanny needs a day off where I will be home with 2 kids (age 3 and 1)… and I felt like the most boring mama ever! The loneliness makes me feel like not doing anything. I serve frozen meals to my kids for lunch and instant noodles for myself. I let the TV do most of the babysitting while I do the dishes, and hoping that by the time I’m done, the kids would’ve settled for their nap on their own. I often feel guilty at the end of the day. Like I’ve been given the gift of quality time with my precious 2 but I just wasted it! Instead of an angel mama, I became zombified, screaming at my kid who loves to play with the trash bin, or when they refuse to eat… -_- But I hear you, all these shall pass and I need to be better at this game, before it’s over. 🙂 I am feeling encouraged now, and ready to tackle my next opportunity to be home with my kids!! I would love to know how do you plan what fun stuffs to do with your kid everyday, that requires almost no preps?
So it’s more books and puzzles and art projects and outdoor time. I use to do busy bags a lot though. Will loved them 🙂
Ann Merry says
Here was my situation. I had my girls in 76, 77, 78, 80 and 84. Back then, of course, there was no social media to help people feel connected. We had no family in town. We had a landline phone…. and long distance was costly, so phone calls between parents and siblings only occurred if someone was seriously ill or dead. We lived on a shoestring budget because only my husband worked….I did sell my tole painting but it wasn’t an income, just a few extra dollars to stretch the budget. We live in central Illinois, and back then the winters were quite extreme with constant storms and being snowed in fairly often. We had no air conditioning in the hot and humid Illinois summers for the first 20 years in this house. No microwave until 1978. We very rarely had fast food….we always had a nice garden. Now that I think of it, how did I deal with all that cooking?…..In 1980 we bought a station wagon…to replace our 2 door Chevelle Malibu. Three carseats in the back of a 2 door car was quite difficult, and with a fourth baby just born, we needed something bigger.
There was no extra money for vacations. Mostly our entertainment was the local parks, swim lessons, local zoo and the library’s free summer reading program and activities…in later years there was 4-H. And church on Sunday. The girls wore a lot of garage sale clothes, and I sewed alot for them, too. We used cloth diapers. We only had one bathroom, until 1985 when we added a second one. We did belong to a babysitting co-op, so that we could get out once in awhile..but that meant that I did a lot of babysitting for other families. Our girls loved their childhood and remember it fondly…lots of friends in the neighborhood to play and bike with…no boredom requiring constant snacks….no toys requiring batteries. In fact, they don’t ever want us to sell this house! It was our “starter” home 41 years ago, and we somehow raised 5 kids in it, and they still love this house.
That said, I know for sure that I had things MUCH easier than my parents did! Raising kids is not easy…never was and never will be. But they do grow up extremely fast. And then you find yourself providing daycare for grandkids…..that isn’t easy either, ha. I say all this not because you need to hear that another mom possibly had it harder than you, but to reassure you that you will get through the years of raising your kids.
But it doesn’t end there. My mother always warned us that we would worry more about our adult children than we ever did when they were kids. How true! I guess this is life! The good and the bad. When I get depressed or down or fed up with life, I take comfort in knowing that I always did my very best for my girls (then and now.) It is the one thing that I really feel good about. You should feel good about doing your very best for your boys.
I’ve been a reader for years and years but rarely comment. However, this post hit me hard. In a good way. I related to it 100000%. Thank you for writing. It helps to not feel like the only lonely mama, who madly adores her kids but also is very alone.
Oh my gosh thank you for this. I only have 2 (3 and 9m) but I feel this way a lot! Today I was able to make a quick run to the Dollar Tree alone and I sat in my car and ate a bag of M&Ms and totally savored the 10 minutes of alone time in the parking lot. It might as well have been a spa. It was glorious.
Hi Jennifer! My older of 2 has severe food allergies too – with anaphylactic to dairy being the one that makes childcare so hard. I, too, feel trapped in that we don’t trust others to watch them either! Nice to hear that someone else is in the same boat.
Amen sister! We have two kids and they are 3.5 and 5.5. I feel like I’m just starting to get my life back. A year ago, when we’d all get home from being with friends, my husband would ask “What did you girls talk about?”. And I’d say “Nothing! I was too busy fixing plates and wiping butts and making sure no one was eating rocks or running into the street!” (Not to say that my husband didn’t help, because he DOES). But that’s finally starting to get better. And now I have to learn how to be a friend again.
I remember those days…………….long gone now. And yes, I am at the stage where I wish they would call so I could hear their voices. It’s bittersweet. So hang in there kiddo. You’re doing a great job 🙂
Thank you for your honesty! I am a sahm of 3 (4, 2, 10mos.) So much of what you’ve said is also how I feel. It helps to know I’m not alone in these thoughts. ❤
Wow… thank you, thank you, thank you for putting this into words that so many mommas need to hear. Thank you for being real and saying the truth. I’ve been following your blog for years and have always loved your honesty but this one hit home today and had to comment to say thank you! You’ve certainly touched a lot of others lives today with this post. Sometimes we just need someone in our corner to remind us of our goals and tomorrow is a new day… also, hopefully full of recharged energy, too 🙂 Thank you!
I’m a puddle on my kitchen floor right now. People act like being a stay at home mom is easier than working outside the home. But I think every stay at home mom who actually gives a flip has had one of THESE days, Katie. Thank you for so perfectly voicing the sentiments of my life at the present time. I especially needed to hear the last 2 paragraphs – that it’s temporary and I’ll be lonely for opposite reasons someday. Also, lets stop believing the nonsense from the culture around us about stay at home moms (like we aren’t working since we don’t get paid for what we do every day). Every person’s situation is difficult in some way and we ALL WORK HARD! Paid or not.
Melissa Livengood says
Amen! I am a SAHM of four kids ages 2-9. You expressed it very well. Thank you.
This. Exactly. Well said and much needed. ❤️ Hang in there Katie. Mamas of Little’s unite!
Heather Roberts says
Yes! I have 4 boys as well. My oldest turned 5 two months before my 4th boy arrived. Now, just 3 years later, I can tell you it DOES get better and you do not have to wait until they are tweens 😉 Those little ones DRAIN you, but by the time your littlest is about 2-2 1/2, he’ll be playing with the big boys and you will regain some personal time. To the social part, you’ll end up with new friends. They will be the moms of your kids’ friends and it will be glorious because the kids play together and you drink your coffee (or wine) together 😉 Hang in there!!! You are so close to finding time to learn who you are now 😉 http://www.tuckinginsuperheroes.com (haven’t posted in forever)
I have these days too. I know how you feel. It’s has been somewhat better in the last year since my son is now 4 and can do a lot more for himself. But we are having a baby girl in 2 months and I know this overwhelming feeling will be back. I will remember that I am not the only one who feels like I’m done and can’t do any more… even though it feels like you are the only one. Sorry you are feeling this way and I know there isn’t anything I can say to fix a bad day. Just know we all feel that same way at some point or another. I admire your ability to run a blog and raise your children at the same time.
Corien Oranje says
O yes, I’ve been where you are right now. Having four boys, three of them triplets, and being a stay-at-home mom I was always changing diapers, covered in milk and not being able to go anywhere. I was so used to the smell of poo that I missed it when it did not smell of poo. And I remember wondering myself when I would ever have time for myself again. Other moms told me to enjoy every moment because it would go so fast and before I knew it they would be 20 years old and leaving the house, but I can’t say that it helped, because I was in the middle of it and there was no way out, ever. And then suddenly all four boys went to school. I missed them like crazy. I became a children’s book writer.
Now they are 22, 19, 19 and 19 years old. They go to university, cook meals, clean the toilet, play bass and guitar and piano (and I must admit – sometimes I miss the time they were so funny and little and thought the world of me). I am still a children’s book writer and loving every minute of it. Hang in there!
I applaud you for writing about the lonely side…I feel like it needs to be addressed more! I stay home with 2 kids and I feel so lonely sometimes I want to cry. Thank you for making me realize it’seems not just me 🙂
Thank you from a mom who was feeling so tired and lonely today!
Diane Taylor says
Hi Katie – man, this post gave me all the feels. ALL OF THEM. I am an “empty nester” but in the hardest way (he passed away 3/1/2012, 5 years ago tomorrow at age 24). I have posted before about my Jonathan, and how it was the greatest gift to be his mom. He made me a better person, a better friend, a better parent, better wife…..so yeah, better everything. Those years of no sleep, crying, temper tantrums, playing video games until all hours of the nite…..I would give anything to relive them now. You are right – it is so worth it. You are building a LIFETIME of memories with your kids. They will look back and remember the funny things, the traditions, the road trips to see family, the dance parties in the kitchen, etc…… and you get a front row seat to watch them grow and become their own person. I can’t change the lonely side of parenting – but yes it will pass. That is really hard to think about when you have stains on your shirt and haven’t had a shower and it’s 8pm. I miss my son more than I ever thought possible – but he became an amazing young man who accomplished more in his 24 years on this earth than I ever imagined. Your kids are going to change the world Katie!!!!
Thanks for putting a voice to parents everywhere.
Katie VB says
Thanks for posting this today, I needed to hear this! I only have a 14 mo with another on the way, but most days lately have been getting the best of me! I’ve been reading your blog for years and never commented, but wanted to thank you for putting those words out today (and your other posts are great too). Thanks!
Mary Brown says
I have 2 grown adult girls and the last one has been out of the nest since she was 27. My mom had 8 of us and it’s only been a few years ago that she admitted to wanting to commit suicide for a short time when there were just 4 or 5 of us. She just couldn’t do it thank goodness. My dad traveled for work and when he was home he was clueless. As the oldest girl, I was her right hand. I totally feel for you. I love my girls and my siblings but I remember when they were very young babbling to another friend and wondering later what had gotten into me. you need your quiet place and your adult friends. I love your blog. Saying a prayer for you today.
What a beautiful post. I was there with four little ones. We used to call the spitup, stains, etc. our badges of honor. 🙂 You have an on-target perspective. This is your time to give and serve, sometimes even more than you think you have to give, but what a gift to your children. That dying to self is rare these days, but your children will thank you for what you poured into their lives. In the midst of the basic needs, try to have a plan for what you want to impart to them during these years. Sometimes leading them by reading books, nature walks, practicing polite behavior while at home, working together, can actually make the days smoother and more purposeful. I applaud you and believe that you will never regret the investment you’re making in your family! No one can do the job like you! Hugs!
Beautifully said Katie.
Rebekah Miller says
Such an honest and truthful post, Katie! Thank you for sharing your life and heart with a bunch of strangers!
Sarah M. says
❤ This is my life at the moment, and I’m glad that you put this out there! I’ve often wondered how you have the time and ENERGY to do all that you do. I am a stay at home mom to only 2 little boys, and I don’t feel like I accomplish half of what you do! So thank you for keeping it real. From, another mama hoping to wash her hair today!
Thanks for being so real. My mom, who is my parenting hero and raised the three of us as a SAHM, recently told me (for all the reasons you write here) “the toddler years were absolutely the hardest. But they were so worth it. YOU were so worth it.” I cling to that daily, as a validation that this is hard, but also that it is temporary and worth it. So so worth it. Hugs and high fives to you, dear! You’re darling!
I don’t know how moms do it. I can’t take care of two people and two dogs to the standard I’d prefer, and that’s just with work, a few church activities and a hit-or-miss social life. I salute you all!
Ok, so full disclaimer here: I haven’t read any of the other comments, so I’m pretty sure that this has been said a few times already, but I’m gonna say my piece anyway.
From one Momma of four to another: Time doesn’t stop where you are now. You’re in the thick of it, the deepest part of the mud bog, and you’re right on the cusp of finding your footing again. I’ve got four tiny humans in my care, ages 10, 8, 6, and 4. My youngest just turned 4 in January, and I feel like it’s the end of an era. There is no one in diapers, I sleep at night, like, almost every single night, I have time to shower and dress myself as often as I choose to, and I resort to frozen pizza w-a-a-a-a-a-y less than I used to. Oh, and did I mention that I homeschool? I’m not saying this to compare or discourage, or flaunt…I’m telling you this to show you it’s possible to rock your role as Mom to 4 peeps, and to come out alive on the other side. You got this girl! AND…yes, there is an AND, in caps, because it’s necessary. AND, I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, since Will was about 10 months old. I know you know Jesus, I know Him too 🙂 One of my fave verses is Exodus 14:14, The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. I kinda laugh when I read this verse because it is literally impossible for me to be still for very long (reminder, four kids over here), but I think it’s a different stillness that the Lord is after right here. It’s a stillness of heart that says, I trust you Jesus, and I know that you’re with me right here in the thick of life. So to wrap all this up, I’m going to say, press in. Not press on, don’t breathe some lame “keep calm” mantra to yourself and keep moving on your own strength, PRESS IN. Press in to the Lord’s word, put on some worship music and sing your heart out to Him, press in, laying your heart out before Him who makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him. And let go of the worries and fears that so naturally come into play with being a mom. Praying for you today, Katie! And, I’m praying peace over your home, and an extra full energy bank for you!
Love from Manitoba,
Another blogger posted pretty much the same thing…something must be in the air. My one daughter feels this way, she has no family close enough to give her a break and I feel this way as an empty nester and also moving to GA from PA and knowing no one. Any folks I have met all work or are busy with their own families that I don’t even remember how to have a conversation. So no matter what age you are…a young mom or empty nester in a new town, we all get stuck.
Angie RS says
I get this SO HARD. I stay home with my two boys (2.5 yrs. and 10 months) while also carrying a full course load (online). I do get out of the house twice a month for meetings on campus, but honestly, that isn’t enough to give my mom brain a break. I also spend Thursdays nights at the coffee shop with my Writers’ Group which is all ages (only one other mom of a young kid. Everyone else has grown children or none at all). I’ve also decided to take Friday afternoons off from parenting. I take the kids to a drop-in center run owned by a woman from my church for four hours, and then my husband picks them up on the way home. I’ve been doing it for a couple of weeks, but I’ve spent that time cleaning (by myself! with Sia blasting!), grabbing lunch with a kidless friend, and getting some grading done. It’s expensive, but it’s also worth it to have a chunk of time set aside for myself to recharge. We also host a lot of game nights where we can have couples who don’t have kids over, put our kids to bed, and then have some adult time. Hosting playdates are fun for the kids, but really stressful for me to wrangle both my kids and the dog by myself while making sure our tiny guest doesn’t get dirt thrown on her.
The social deficiency is REAL, too! I noticed that I felt especially stunted right after having baby #2, so I think post partum depression/anxiety really messed with my ability to be myself and interact socially (which I normally love doing). It is SO difficult to be the #1 person for multiple people. To be fair, my husband shifts to the primary caregiver whenever he is home (evenings and weekends). I still help him, but he is the one doing most of the childcare when he’s home. Even with this, the kids just seem more desperate for their needs to be met by me. They don’t seem to hang on him and whine/cry like they do with me. Or if they do, it doesn’t affect him nearly as much as it affects me. (He’s a SpEd teacher, so dealing with our kids at home is a break compared to his work day). Meeting just the physical needs of the kids is exhausting, but meeting their emotional needs (and my husband’s who wants quality time with me, but there’s hardly any of me left after the kids’ bedtime) is what is really a struggle. Like in the course of writing this comment, the toddler tried to burrow into my chest cavity, smushing my boob (not nursing anymore, thankfully). The baby got stuck under the kitchen table. The toddler wanted to snuggle and read a book. The baby came over and cried to be held and read to, also. Then when I put the baby under my other arm, the toddler got upset that he had to share his mom and his book and collapsed on the floor in tears. All as my coffee gets colder and colder.
All this tome-level comment to say: I 100% feel what you’re feeling and I only have two. It’s okay for this to be hard even though we are blessed to have children and to stay home with them. Yes, other thigs might be harder, but this is hard, too. And it’s okay and necessary to say it out loud sometimes.
Thank you, so much, Katie. My kids are 9 and 2 and I work full time. Everything you said I’ve said in my head a million times (you know, cuz my hubby just doesn’t get it!). I’ll be content with no friends or social life for now because raising the kids is what matters. With one child, I worried that working meant I didn’t spend enough time with her, but I couldn’t miss work, I couldn’t be “that parent.” The second came along and I don’t mind taking a sick or vacation day to be with them because one is sick or school/daycare is closed. All this work will pay off!
Aw Katie. You are so brave to share these occasional raw and honest posts with us. I love them so much. We are lucky readers! Not deleting this one from my inbox… going to save it for the days I need a reminder! I just have one baby (right now!), but I totally can relate to these feelings!
um yes. I have three little boys. 4,2&9 months. I’ve been fighting off a cold and could barely talk which was the most frustrating thing ever. They couldn’t understand why I couldn’t answer the millions of questions where they could hear me which brought on more questions. We live 45 min from such cool things in ATL but I can barely make it to a local parkI also might have told my husband in frustration “They are just so needy!!” But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I am going to cry someday missing this stage.
Yes yes and yes to everything you wrote!
And most especially YES I would give A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G to have my two little boys back with my greasy hair and stained shirt!
YES, YES<, YES! I always say I am raising men, no children! Teach them to do something! My 10 year old knows how to make several easy meals and can do it with minimal supervision( a grownup has to be in the house with him). My 7 year old showers himself and is tall enough to put away all the clean dishes except for the glasses. Sometimes they whine about it, but I remind that that everyone pitches in in our family. Oh, and they love running the Roomba. side note… God bless the inventor of the Roomba. I think one should come standard with every child.
Beautiful verse. I never thought of it for parenting but its so good.
xo – kb
Your comment sounds like you stole it from my mom’s playbook! 🙂 SO MANY SIMILARITIES! And you are right…there is so much comfort in knowing you did your best. It’s a comfort even in the moment!
xo – kb
xo – kb
This really resonates w me. I have 4 kids also and their younger years were great – but really really hard for me. Now that my kids are 20,18,15,11 – I have made it to the other side and grateful we all surrvived! I really enjoy them so much more now – does that sound horrible? They grew up and so did I! I would say on my good days when my kids were small we were outdoors a lot! And the more organized I was, the calmer things sailed along. A bad day was when I would compare myself or my kids to someone else’s family. They say that comparisons are the death of happiness and I find that to really be true. Whatever g-d is giving me is to make ME a better person and that has nothing to do with my perfect neighbors down the block whose kids seem to always behave and look perfect! Don’t do yourself the dis-service of going there.life is too short and it will rob you of true moments of happiness! Play dates are great at the park and picnic (w store-bought sandwiches) are great! Enjoy and be good to yourself!
Sorry, going to write a book because this post really hit home…
By the time I was 23 years old I had given birth to 4 sons in just under 4 years (the last 2 were a set of twins). Having a 3 year old, a 1 year old, and 2 brand new infants was quite a challenge. I was a basket case most of the time but it definitely forced me to become super organized.
The first year after the twins were born was ROUGH. I had always wanted to be a SAHM, and felt lucky to be home with my kids while my husband worked…but even if I had wanted to get a job the cost of child care would have been more than my take home pay! So we were totally broke and couldn’t afford to hire babysitters, and like you said there was no way I could ask friends or family to take on the burden of all 4 of them.
The guy who owned our local video store (yikes, remember those?) told us we were his best customers that year and broke a record…we rented something like 285 movies in 12 months because we barely left the house. It was such an isolating time. It wasn’t safe or practical for me to take the 4 boys anywhere by myself without another adult (the older two were crazy toddlers who would just step into oncoming traffic or run away). I knew I had a real isolation problem when my oldest son had his preschool graduation that spring and I sobbed at having to part with his teachers…they were the only adults I had seen regularly that year other than my husband.
I was in Mommy Fog for a number of years. I had a breaking point one day at our local beach when I had the bright idea to take them all for a day of “fun”. I was in the midst of potty training the oldest which meant any time he thought he thought he had to “go potty” I had to haul him and the other 3 up to the restroom. After doing that for about the third time in an hour I was losing it and it must have been obvious to everyone else around us. As we stood at the sinks washing our hands an older woman gently touched my shoulder and told me that even though it was hard I should try to enjoy it because in the blink of an eye they would be grown up and gone.
Of course I felt like a total jerk after that exchange, and looking back now I’m embarrassed to say that in that moment I just wanted to tell her to mind her damn business. It really stuck with me though, and all these years later I realize how right she was. My sons are in their early to mid twenties now, so I can completely confirm that “this too shall pass” and you’re left wondering where the years went. Never thought I’d say that I’d give anything for a few more days of stepping on legos, doing mountains of laundry, and dealing with constant chaos…but I totally would.
What really helped me was to start working part time as they got a bit older, just to get out of the house with adults and to keep up with some work skills. As the years have gone on I’ve transitioned to a full time very demanding career. That has been a blessing as the boys got older and needed me less, but I wouldn’t give up the agony of those early years for anything. Tough as they were they were a gift.
Chin up, you are AMAZING and part of a larger tribe that has been there. You will make it through!!!!
You are an amazing human being ❤
Amie M says
Thank you! You put into words what I’ve been trying to explain to friends and my husband about why I suck at conversations. I am so drained taking care of a kid, that when I have time to talk about me, I have no thoughts about me or my job or my hobbies, and instead all I think about is my kid.
The hard part is that we know this will pass, but in the moment if feels like a cavern you just can’t find your way out of. We need to get in the groove of texting friends once in awhile, or setting up a regular play date or stitch n bitch with friends to force ourselves to get back into the personal power mode.
Ellie B. says
WOW!! Where were you 30 years ago when I was raising my two boys!! What a wonderful, well-articulated post that is so relative to today’s mother. I will say that, “yes … it is all worth it.” Hang in there sweet mamas, the rewards are awesome.! Love your blog, Katie! The highlight of my days!
Katie, thank you so much for writing this!!!!!!!!! I just had lunch with a friend last week, something that honestly, I might do 3 times a year — I need to change that, but we were talking about how lonely being a mom can be. We moved three years ago and my girls were 2 and 4 when we moved. It’s been really hard making new friends, mostly because it’s hard connecting and having complete conversations with other moms, especially when kids are in preschool and we’re all sort of on a tight schedule, shuttling everyone back and forth and trying to keep it together between naptimes, tantrums, and all of the other stuff. My youngest is 5 (my oldest now 7) and I feel like things are shifting ever so slightly. I sense more independence now and I’m not needed every single minute of daylight, just maybe every 4 minutes 🙂 The change isn’t black and white — my 5 year old just came in our room the other night at 2 am to let us know she didn’t feel well, got into bed with us and 30 minutes later, declared she needed a bucket, and then projectile vomited all over the bedroom carpet and wall as we were rushing her to the bathroom . . . it’s all so intense with little ones. It’s just intense and lonely. Also, we live in the age of social media and I think we believe somehow that those interactions (a “like” of Facebook) can take the place of real face to face interaction, but I don’t think that’s the case. At least I know for myself, I need to see other moms in real life, face to face, to feel some connection. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this!!! It helps so much 🙂
Love this. It felt like a sucker punch in the best way the last paragraph– being lonely for THEM. That gives me ALL the feels and is actually super helpful and clarifying in thinking through why my parents and in laws do some of the things they do.
I love this post, thank you for sharing your heart! It is so isolating- technology is great for connecting us, even while we are home and lonely. But there’s nothing like a good chat with a friend- it is worth it when it all comes together (so rarely)! I admire you- for all you do for your family and for sharing your heart with us!
Thank you for this!!! I hear you, all the way. I have 3 boy, ages 5, 3, and 1 and most days I wonder how I’m going to make it through the day alive. Thank you for your openness about the reality of lonely parenting!!
Yes! My 3 kids are now 17, 18, and 20, and are completely self-sufficient (and have been so for years) because we took the time to teach them how to do stuff. My kids (especially my two girls in college) are amazed when someone their age can’t cook themselves a meal, mend a ripped seam, change a tire, or do their own taxes.
Yes, it is much easier to do it yourself (and then it’s also done “right”, right?) than to teach a child over and over how to do a task, but it is so worth it!
My kiddos had chores from about age 3 and up. I didn’t take out the trash, do dishes, clean much, or even cook or bake much for years! After each teenager got a part-time job in addition to school, they were released from most home chores. My son is furiously seeking a job for this summer already so he won’t have to do all of the yard work haha! 🙂
P.S. Katie- you’re a great mom! It really does get better!! Keep the faith, Moms! You’ll make it!
“Two, the kids become the neediest needs of Needville and you can’t hold any sentences together, interact at all and feel like the entire exercise of social interaction was a complete waste of energy” <— THIS. I can totally relate to it feeling "not worth it" sometimes when we attempt to have these "social interactions" with other adults! My husband doesn't see it that way at all, so it's very comforting to know that I'm not alone with those feelings!
Thank you for being such an open book and keeping it real with your readers!
C. Schnuelle says
Yes, this is so true! I would also love to have my two children back with greasy hair and stained shirt!!!
Thanks for this! I have an almost 4 year old and an almost 6 month old and work full time… I’m feeling all the exhaustion these days.
This is so well articulated and very true. Especially how you describe the three possible outcomes of any social interaction. I am a single parent to one boy (2–almost) and am never not tired/lonely. BUT the thought of his actual second birthday is enough to make me weep because I love his tiny self to pieces.
I assume you’ve also experienced the social phenomenon where you’ve been isolated with your boys for so long that they become your only and best topic of conversation so even when you are in a social situation you somehow always manage to bring the topic around to parenting because it’s so all consuming? Someone recently asked some medical questions about my son and I felt like I could have talked for hours because there’s no topic I am more familiar with and even as I could hear myself becoming boring, I could. not. stop.
Yes. I have 4 kids 5 and younger and I totally agree. Unless it’s outside in a fenced in area at my house I can’t even begin to justify the work that is involved to regularly get together with other families. 9/10 I don’t feel refreshed, I feel even more tired! And usually I haven’t finished one sentence without interruption. It has to get easier!
I really struggled with this in the first year with each kid. I finally feel like I am emerging from the fog now that my youngest is nearing 3. I am a SAHM and about a year ago my husband started a job that has him out of the house 12 hours a day. I knew I couldn’t make it through the isolation of that much solo parenting each day. I would grab “me time” where I could get it, but I was so depleted that I couldn’t even recharge (just like you wrote). Often I was so desperate for a break that I was wasting my precious me time zoned out with TV, just because it wasn’t demanding, but it didn’t recharge me. The fix for me was joining a gym. I don’t really like exercising, but I do like an hour with daycare where I can go into a class where I don’t have to talk or think. The gym has been such a lifesaver for me because it isn’t really social. I don’t have to be put together to go. Sometimes if the day is really off the rails I have been know to head to the gym to do “emergency yoga” (where I just lie on a mat in a dark room while my kids are being attended to by another adult in the nursery). I always feel recharged and like I have done something productive if I go to the gym, even if I am only going to escape my kids for an hour.
This was really good for me to read! I have experienced the opposite side of loneliness and while I would never want anyone to feel sad, it’s good to see that even though our circumstances are completely opposite, I’m not alone! My husband and I have found ourselves in this awkward social environment where all of our friends & most of our siblings have 3, 4, & 5 kids…while we have zero. We would LOVE to have a house full of children, but that has not been in the cards for us. So, as a mid 30s couple with no kids, I feel like others don’t know what to do with us. lol I would get incredibly down and sad when I would hear moms getting together during the day and having play dates with their children. The loneliness of not being able to bond with the other moms was crushing and awful. But…. while I still have my down days because I don’t have children, I do have my days where Friday evening rolls around and I can crawl into my bed and binge watch Prison Break with zero interruptions. So, it all works out 🙂
Chin up! You are doing great!
Thanks for this. It came at just the right time!
Kim Bauer says
TRUTH! So much TRUTH! I needed to hear this today, so thank you for writing it and sharing your heart. Mama’s are overworked, but in the best ways. It is the best and most important work, we just tend to forget that, or at least I do. Days like today are rough, but at least they have such sweet faces to motivate us to keep going.
Kim Bauer says
This is the realest post. Bless you. As my mother-in-law has told me “Yes, this too shall pass, but sometimes it’s like a kidney stone.”
Amen BEAUTIFUL mama!!! Today is one of those days for me and reading this brought me since peace x o x
Lauren M says
I felt the same way with my first (and only) child during maternity leave. I’m sure it was some baby blues and fatigue and learning curve, but in general I was surprised at how lonely that time was! I love your battery pack analogy and it’s a good reminder that I need to help recharge my other mama friends. Thank you for your honesty! Sending you a full charge!
Jessica Forbes says
This post is spot-on!! Exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you, it is often easy to forget that there are other mamas out there holding it down by the skin of their teeth! You have a beautiful family, and they are lucky to have you!
I am totally in this place. Painfully lonely but the socializing is SO MUCH WORK. And I only have a 3.5 year old and a 2 year old. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone!
The scale only tips but there’s no balance. My girls are 17 and 19. Yes, I have time to do things for myself, to meet friends and feel like a person again. But it’s still lonely, I miss my baby girls. They are around, I see them most every day but it’s a struggle to adjust in new my role. They don’t need me or even want me to take care of them in the same ways anymore. They have turned into beautiful, caring, responsible young adults and I couldn’t be more proud. They are at the beginning of their journey into adulthood facing it with the youthful optimism I had. And isn’t this what I have been preparing them for all along? I only did my job.and I wouldn’t want any less for them but it’s very hard. I feel alone a lot. It waxes and wanes, but truth be told it’s still easier sometimes to just stay home and wash my hair. I suppose the lesson for us all is to count our blessings while we have them. And to love and support each other, as Moms, friends and women. Thanks for sharing and for giving us a a forum for that.
I hear you, mama! My boys are 9, 6, 3, and 8 mo., and it is hard sometimes. But I love my boys <3.
I seriously needed this tonight. Thank you!
This is all prepared me for the teen years. I remember oh so well “praying” till they fell asleep. We have 6 ages 9-23. I recall crying when my husband left for his job 111 miles away on Sundays to return on Fridays all summer, Y2K, RSV, 9-11, H1N1, trips to the ER, towels lined on the floor cuz they all had the flu. A mama’s mind does not stop clicking. One week ago we had our taxes done-5 taxes done. Yup, 3 are in college and working, one is in HS and works. I have never felt more successful than knowing we have added some wonderful (not perfect) souls to this earth. It is never easy but I am so blessed. I pray all moms can find a group with a leader that shares some solutions that worked. My sister was in MOPS, I had a Bible study that had childcare, MN has ECFE. These women can be so helpful when you get to the teen years and you need advice too. My mother made it look so easy, It wasn’t until I became a mother that she started to share more of her own uncertainty. Thank you for a chance to look back and with Lent approaching remember to focus on reaching out to other moms to help in any way I can.
Mary S says
Thank you for this! I really needed this today. I am a mom of 5 from 2 to 11. My five year old was playing with my hair tonight and asked me why I don’t brush my hair. Where do I begin…
Thank you for your honesty! I can so totally relate. Two years ago we moved from the city I grew up in to a farm in the middle of nowhere. We have 2 kids (2.5 and 1) and it has been such a long winter with the weather keeping us inside for far to many days in a row. The days when I’ve have to cancel the playdate/sanity saving outing I’ve been looking forward to because someone woke up sick have had me fighting back tears multiple times. Being a momma is such a gift but so hard too! Thank you for giving me sanity breaks to look forward to reading: )
Laurie Z says
I have been reading for a long time but have never posted. You are doing a great job and it is such a gift that you put what you are feeling into words. Being a Mom is the toughest job in the world but also so rewarding. I haven’t read all the comments and I’m sure someone has wrote this, but I’m going to put it here anyway just in case. My oldest just left for college this year. We live in MN and he decided to go to the University of Alabama. Roll Tide! It honestly broke my heart when he decided to go so far away from home. He earned 8 semesters of full out of state tuition based soley on his GPA and ACT score. When he got the offer he told me that he thinks he was so successful in school because I was there for him everyday when he got home from school. He was 18 and I felt like I won the lottery. You go through their lives without much “pay” for around the clock hours and dismal working conditions but one day it all changes.
Want to keep it real though…..leaving him there was the most gut wrenching pain I have EVER felt. I wouldn’t even let him come to the car to say goodbye because the thought of driving away seeing him waving in the rear view mirror was more than my heart could take. I looked over at my husband as we drove past the football stadium and he had tears splashing off his face leaving a puddle on his shirt. My poor 14 year old daughter in the back seat wondered what her new life as an “only child” would be like. Now that we are 7 months into our “new normal”, I look back on his childhood and wonder how it went so fast. I feel so blessed that I had a front row seat to his becoming a young man. Yesterday he called me 4x just to tell me funny little things that went on. He doesn’t call like that all the time, but it felt like a big ol’ paycheck to me.
You are awesome. You are a gift to readers all over the world. Thanks for always being so “real”. He played baseball in East Cobb 2 summers ago (its where he heard about the scholarship program at Alabama) and we lived in Atlanta for 2 months. I honestly thought about asking you to meet for lunch somewhere but I chickened out because….hello, I had been a stay at home Mom for 16 years and had no social skills! Kinda wish I would have pushed myself.
Have a great day.
SAME. Same here – almost exactly, even down to the kids’ ages. I feel you, mama.
Aww Laurie, I am gonna cry over him! What a sweetheart! It sounds like you rocked it mama!
xo – kb
You write like poetry my dear! Seriously!
xo – kb
Oh Kayla…ya know, if you are willing to put up with a mom talking about her kids all the time, I am SURE that there would be a line out the door to be your friend 🙂
xo – kb
Bahaha! ALL. THE. TIME.
xo – kb
Heidrun Finnbogadottir says
As usual you are spot on yong woman!
Also, that picture of your lovely boys is to cute for words.
Listen, there needs to be another side here. What about the working moms that do it all? They take care of their kids and they work outside the home. It’s terribly difficult to juggle it all. It’s much easier to do one thing and stick to it rather than both. So it’s a little frustrating to hear this whining from stay at home moms constantly trying to justify how busy they are. Add a job on top of raising your kids! It’s two jobs.
Lillie C says
Oh yes, I can relate! It reminds me of a quote form Date Night where Tina Fey says “If anything, I fantasize sometimes about being alone. There are times when I just thought about, on my worst day, just you know, leaving our house and just going some place like checking into a hotel and just being in a quite room by myself, just sitting in a quite air-conditioned room, sitting down, eating my lunch, with no one touching me, drinking a Diet Sprite, by myself.”
Except it would be a Diet Coke for me. Sometimes when I’m having a crazy day, I look at my husband and say “I need to be alone… in an air conditioned room” and he totally knows what I mean.
Laurie, I’ve read through all 154 comments on this post so far and I just became a small blubbery mess (AT WORK, no less!) when I read your comment! Your son giving you a compliment is what I strive to have with my two boys (and one unknown gender on the way!). We are currently at ages 3, 1, and “in the womb” but I hope to have kids as sweet as your son! I’m 32 and I’m on my way to call my mom and dad and tell them I’m where I am because of them….just hoping the thanks I’ve given them so far makes them feel as good as you felt when your son said thank you to you.
(I also just want to paint a picture that I work in a short cubicle in an oil and gas company with all men……thank goodness they know I’m pregnant but I’m still not sure they understand the hormones! Now off to fix my eye makeup…) Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand…………gig ’em. 🙂
You are missing the point Samantha. It’s difficult. Period. And it’s worth it. Period. That’s all there is to it. It’s not a comparison game.
xo – kb
Kelly Jernigan says
Love this Katie. Mine are both in school now and I still have crazy days at times as a stay at home mom trying to accomplish more than I did before b/c now the kids are in school right? Most days I still fall short, when I predicted I would have it soooo all together. But in the quiet moments of the day, I miss them like crazy. You are an awesome mom and I love reading your posts.
Thank you for posting this. Our situations are different (I work full time and have one 3 yr old) but the feelings are the same. When I get home from work/picking my son up from school/sitting in traffic, I just want to be left alone. I feel guilty wanting bedtime to come early so that I can sit in peace in front of mind-numbing television. We had a family party for his birthday this weekend (with some close friends) and I mustered minimal energy to actually socialize with our guests. Then when the party was over, I just wanted to sit there and decompress (maybe the issue is me??). BUT I do realize how quickly he is growing and that before I know it, he’ll be everywhere but at home with my husband and I, and I try to soak him in as much as I can. It’s hard but at least we know we’re not alone!
I work full time and it is nothing like being home full time with your kids. Just being home with him on the weekends exhausts me and technically that’s “fun/relaxing” time! Not enough credit is given to those who stay home — there is no break, especially when you have multiple kids. No one is working more/better than the other — it’s just different.
Katie, everything that you just said speaks to my heart! You put into words what I could never with the power source thing- it’s so true! I have two boys 4 and 3, with #3 on the way. Today I actually cried when my husband told me that he planned to take one child along with him grocery shopping while the other one was at school. I was just so happy to catch up on those 7 loads of laundry! Some days I want so badly to go out and do something social, but is it really worth showering at 5 pm and digging through laundry baskets to find something half decent to wear? Nope, not always! Sometimes I just like to go get drive-thru fast food and eat in the car to get the feeling of going somewhere and seeing people without actually having to be presentable or chase kids around 😀
Maria Graves says
Hang in there! My kids are now teens, but I too stayed home with my three little ones and can remember how hard it was at times. Just know that all that hard work does pay off! Your boys are getting an amazing start and the confidence they gain from knowing someone is there for them always is such a wonderful gift. One thing I would recommend iis to have the grandparents watch the kids for one night and get away with the hubby. It always amazed me how much this recharged my battery. God bless you and hang in there! I love your blog and know your readers are cheering you on from the sidelines!
This is what one of our church leaders has said. As a church going girl, I thought you may like it. 🙂
“A wonderful young mother recently wrote to me,
“How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you
willingly give up a major portion of your freedom for it?
How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily
subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety,
and heartache and just keep coming back for more of the same?
What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child,
that your life is never your own again? Maternal love has to be divine.
There is no other explanation for it.
What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work.
Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such
love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over again,
until with the safety and salvation of the very last child on earth,
we can then say with Jesus,
‘[Father!] I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.'”
-Jeffery R. Holland
Thanks for writing this Katie! As a full time working mom I still feel very lonely, even though some of the people I work with are adults and I do get to have occasional adult conversations at work. I moved last year and am a little far from my friends so I dont get to see them very much 🙁 and i dont have the time or energy to make new ones. I feel like my power reserves are low, and I only have one kid! It’s also reassuring to read the comments and know that so many struggle with this lonliness, though Im sorry that so many of us feel this way. I know it wont be like this for long, which is encouraging but sad because time is already moving so quickly with my little munchkin!
Thank you. I feel like you were sharing exactly what’s on my heart
I have a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and a 6-weeker. My husband is a police officer and just started back to work. Unfortunately he is working overnights this month. It’s only day 2 and already feels like forever. This was the encouragement I needed.
Megan Berry says
Oh my god, THANK YOU! I so needed this! I am an introvert (well, ambivert if you want to get technical), but I find parenting to be one of the toughest things I’ve ever done because I no longer get that time to recharge my batteries. Because there are always people around. . . and by around I mean attached to me! And then I still like seeing my friends and having adult conversations, so even when I could maybe recharge, I often choose to go out instead. And then either spend the entire time focused on my kids. Or, if we’ve gone out without them, I feel like I have nothing to contribute because I don’t have the energy or time for fun extra things. Man. Sooooo glad to hear I am not alone. And that I will one day be able to carry on adult conversations again. 🙂
YES. This. So much, this. I was JUST trying to explain this to my husband yesterday!! I am going to have him read this because you explained it so much better than me! Add to that, I am an introvert with social anxiety so I need social interaction with people over the age of 4, but my kids take all ability to be social or even put a coherent sentence together in public. The other day we went to Target JUST to be out for a little while, and when we got to the cashier she said, “Your daughter is eating a plastic bag” and I said something like, “Oh… yeah I know… she….. umm..” and then I took it from her. Then I paid and got the heck out of there. The thing is I had no ability to focus on multiple things anymore and my daughter is almost 5, and knows darn well she shouldn’t eat a bag! I also told her to get it out of her mouth several times, which she did, but apparently I didn’t have the brain power to just take it from her. I didn’t know how to explain that to the lady at the checkout lol. I tell my husband all the time, I used to be kind of smart and witty. Now I am lucky if I can even speak like a human adult or think logically or rationally. I need to talk to some older moms and get some assurance that I can be a person again once we are out of this phase!
I concur! And how people take the leap from 1 child to 2 is beyond me. The thought of it gives me a panic attack.
I can relate so much as a fellow mom of four boys all within six years of each other. My youngest is five now and trust me it does get so much better as they get older. You will still be busy as ever but life will be more manageable to the point where you can all go out for a dinner without feeling like you can’t wait to be done and go home. Hang in there! There is light at the end of the tunnel:)
I love this Katie.
Hi Katie! This is my first comment after following you for a few years now. I just wanna say thanks.
I have a confession to make.. I genuinely like you, your personality and all… But I kinda assumed that you had it easy. I figured this whole time that you posted fashion stuff and fun outings and cool projects and the time to constantly connect with others because you had your husband home with you and supportive parents, family and friends. It would never have occurred to me that you ever felt lonely.
It’s encouraging to know that even those you looked up to for their spunk and “go get em” attitude can feel the same things you go through. I have 5 (7,5,3,2,8m) aaaaand #6 on the way. I have people tell me all the time: “you are so strong”,”whats your secrete” just because I was brave to take them all out to Target by myself. lol. And all I can think is ‘if they only knew’. My mom was very hard on me for having so many kids…and literally helped as little as she could so that I would learn the lesson of doing things for myself. “you had them, you can take care of them”. So I internalized that voice and had a very independent attitude towards parenting. I remember one day going to Ikea (when I just had 4 and pregnant in 3rd trimester), by myself ofcourse, and needing to get my kids food at the cafe. But I quickly realized there was no way to hold them all, the double stroller, and food trays at the same time. So I sat them at the closest table from the lines and held the baby with one hand and did the food tray with the other with one eye constantly glued to the kids. My older 2 were being good and staying still….but my toddler notsomuch. So he kept trying to get out of the stroller and I felt helpless watching the whole thing and trying to answer the the server’s questions. Then I dropped the cornbread and had the servers telling me to put the tray down before I spilled everything else while still watching my tot escape the stroller and 2 random women sitting close (watching the whole thing), got up to catch my son. and I had no choice but to drop the food and go over. I profusely apologized and felt so embarrassed that I couldnt take care of my kids and feed them in peace.. I assumed they were thinking: why on earth does she have so many kids if she cant handle them? and then remarkably both tell me not to worry and to finish getting the food… they both said they know what its like (one had 5 kids and the other 4)! What were the odds!!! It might have wounded my pride a bit that I needed these stranger’s help but a very humbling experience to know that YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE! So hang in there. And once again….thanks!
Here’s a wave from a fellow MN mama of 4. You can do it. I’m just barely on the other side of the fog, my kids are 4,6,8, and 10. It’s still wild over here sometimes, and I can already see things are going to get exciting with hormones and moods etc, but I don’t get sweaty going to the grocery store anymore. A bit of unsolicited advice:
1. Gym with childcare. I don’t know how I would have done it without my dear friend Mr YMCA. Sweat is magic and restorative.
2. Something just for you that gets you OUT of the house. For me it meant joining a choir. We sing complicated songs that make my brain stretch a little bit and I made new friends.
3. Amazon prime.
4. Get rid of half your stuff. The less you have, the less you have to trip over, take care of, police and negotiate and DEAL WITH.
Good luck to you!! You can do this:)
I cried! Thank you for this. I’ve only got one tiny gal, and I don’t even usually care about socializing, but I do sometimes miss my executive function. (It took me 2 minutes to even remember those words.) I can’t even believe that I ever slept a whole night through, and the other day I actually woke up BEFORE my tiny gal, and I stared at the ceiling in silence for a good 8 minutes or so — something I’d never even realized that I missed so dearly until I did it. But I am sure that you and your friends are right: it all “passes”, and I know that I will miss these days when they are gone. She’s only two and I’m already nostalgic about times past! And now just doing my best to love every moment (even the sleepless ones) and be present as much as I can for my own little angel. Thanks for the reminder that other folks are out there trying to do the same.
Oh darling! I feel you. We laugh all the time about how we change with each new kiddo. And the people that judge you, well, they haven’t walked a day in your yoga pants 🙂
xo – kb
Katie, no truer words have been spoken! I feel like if I mutter those words to anyone who isn’t a stay at home mom I would get judged so harshly. But it’s true! Even with an adorable baby near me at all times I’m isolated. Even when my husband is home from work I’m alone. No one but other moms get it. Thank you for putting it out there! Keep up the good work!
I so relate to this!!
Thank you for sharing.
We are so blessed but yes the challenges are real. And sometimes I just have to laugh at it all. Thank you for your humor!
I am so glad that to you, all the work seems worth it. But this right here is absolutely the reason why I will never have children.
Thanks so much for writing this Katie. I’ve a 3yr old boy and twin 1yr old girls. I work 3 days and spend 4 at home. This stage is so tough. It’s good to feel that your situation is ‘normal’. Totally with you on the socialising BTW:)
I feel ya gurl!
Hang in there. I raised two boys in the French Alps and often wondered if I would ever belong to the world again.
You will belong once again and the incredible investment you are now making will have mega returns. All the more so because you are doing it bi-culturally. Brave women of the world.
I work full time outside the home, so I can relate but not fully. I get adult interaction all day but 100% know about running dry and how hard it can be when you have nothing left to give and someone wakes up in the middle of the night, or wants to be held as soon as you walk in the door and you’ve got an arm full of groceries, purse, gym bag, laptop bag and lunchbox and also need to pee and make dinner. And then they cry the whole time or are a bit too helpful when all you’re trying to do is FEED THEM! 🙂 Sometimes you have to let go of something! Use paper plates, get take out, etc. You’re an awesome mom. Thank you for your honesty! Bring the boys into Atlanta and let them loose on our dead end street with tons of boys their age to play with. You and J can go eat down the street at JCT. We’ll keep them alive until you get back! Also, our nanny has 2 girls and watches our 2 girls all day and her husband works a lot of nights. Don’t know how she does it and we definitely don’t pay her enough! However, he doesn’t work Tuesday nights so those are her nights. She’ll get her hair or nails done (self care), run errands, etc. Says for her it makes such a difference! Maybe you could arrange for one night for you every week or two… even if you lock yourself away after dinner and J does bath and bed time. xoxo
You are so sweet Kristin. And you are right…you may get adult interaction…but the struggle is REAL…even if you work. I mean…kids are overwhelming and your piece of advice – to let something go – is the best tip because it’s so true. You don’t even realize how little things like that help 🙂
xo – kb
I can definitely relate to this and I’ve only got two boys. My husband and I both work full time outside the home with the closest family member 6 hours away. We are just constantly drained. Playmates are just insane because of the Needy McNeedys my boys become. My friends and I can only get through maybe a full 10 sentences in 2 hours. And yeah, when my husband and I do get to go on a rare date, we are just so brain dead we can barely make a decent conversation. And I know my boys will soon grow up and stop asking 487 questions per day, and interrupting me while I’m on the toilet to have me blow out pretend birthday candles…. But gosh right now I’m so tired…and boring. LOL
Thank you for this post. I have four kids as well and sometimes when I think about whether I could have another, I get scared. The world no longer seems to be made to fit a family of 6 let alone 7. The message from ‘the world’ is so strong that it’s sometimes hard to hear what God thinks. And today I’m reminded through your post. Thanks friend.
Thanks, that is such good advice! I am a sahm to 11,10 (homeschooled) and 2. I’ve been saying that I have to put more time and energy into teaching them to do things rather than burning myself out doing it all myself. Its so hard though when you just want it DONE and DONE RIGHT immediately! Patience and consistency is key.
Oh Mamacita! You hit the nail on the head! Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I’m a work-from-home mom to 11, 10 and 22 mo. and with the 10 yr. Gap between 2nd and 3rd child I forgot how draining it can be. I read somewhere that God designed babies/toddlers to be so adorable so that at the very least you have CONSTANT reminders of your love for them (by way of cuteness) because OTHERWisE…i dare to think! But seriously, they are a blessing from God and the time and work that it takes will one day actually be MISSED….and Lord willing, we will onr day be able to experience ALL the same love with only 10-25% of the WORK when they give us GRANDCHILDREN!
Very well said!
Stephanie Marsh says
I cannot even. Seriously speaking my life right now. 3 kiddos in 4 years here. I laughed out loud because it’s my reality too. Thank you for this reminder.
Thank you. I feel this all the time. And I feel like I’m not at all pulled together in front of my other mama friends and that I’m constantly embarrassed in front of my friends who don’t have kids. My only solace is that because we are the first in our group to friends we will be the friends they look to when they need parenting advice some day – although I know I’ll be missing having little ones by then.
Katie, my kids are now 25, 29 and 31. It all happened so fast and now it’s over and I sure miss my little tribe. The days are long, but the years are short they say…and before you know it, you will be writing a post of the loneliness of emptynesting! Lol. Hang in there!
Lina cobb says
Someday soon they’ll all be out on their own. It happens sooner than you think it will. Your children are all close in age . It will happen quick. You will someday look back at these days wishing they were home. Cherish them. Hold them close. Smell their sweet little kid smell. They grow up, move out and move on.