"You look relaxed" my husband declared last night. He was right. I was. Very. Relaxed.
This was a long time coming. Recently I've been feeling over-stressed and edgy and I didn't know why. I've been living as a SAHM (apologies to all who are full time SAHMs who may take this the wrong way, it's not intended that way). I figured as a SAHM I would have lots of time. Time to do housework. Time to spend with my kids. Time to spend with my husband. And time for me. What I didn't count on was my own sense of self. Self-worth and productivity were all muddled up in a very strange twisted dichotomy.
You see the first year at home, I wasn't really a SAHM. I was a woman on mat leave. I was still getting paid, but was staying home with my kids. Since February, my mat leave has run out and I'm on extended leave without pay. I figured I would be able to pick up some home daycare work. That prooved easier said than done. And I really was living as a SAHM. Just me. At home. With my kids. No income.
What I found myself doing at first was intense work. I had lists, I had things to do, I was being busy. Then all those lists and business started taking their toll. What good was it doing laundry when all you ever did was laundry (with 5 people in the house it never gets completely finished). Same with the dishes, and any sort of cleaning. I was becoming disheartened. The more I worked, the more work there seemed to be. Nothing seemed to be getting done, even though it was.
I also found myself getting edgy with my kids. Little things were driving me insane. But even my husband's suggestions of getting out of the house for an hour or two rubbed me the wrong way. How could I leave when I had to be doing something.
Therein lied the problem. Because I was no longer bringing an income in to the home, I felt that my value as wife/mother rested in me contributing. I started doing more in an unhealthy way. When my husband declared that I was contributing, I was of value, I didn't hear him. I was only hearing the little voice in my head that told me to keep going and going. And going and going I started to realize was breaking me down. I was not being the wife and mother that I should be. The night my husband sent me out of the house with orders (really suggestions) to visit Chapters and get a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks was a turning point for me. Of course I needed some me time. I started to relax and enjoy the break instead of resenting being sent out of the house. Since that night (2 weeks ago), I've started to see me again. The me who loves my kids and plays with them. The me who does stuff around the house not because it's a chore but because I like having a clean home. The me who prepares food that is healthy and tasty. The me who takes an hour here and there to spend enjoying my husband's company. The me who walks in the sunshine to the library pushing the stroller. The me who takes a bubble bath on a Saturday night good book in hand, followed by a glass of wine and a good movie. Interestingly enough, this me gets more accomplished. This me is more pleasant to be around. This me is in fact relaxed.