Next week I will observe the one-year anniversary of my last day of work. Since then, it’s been a day by day challenge to adjust to a new way of life — not just a new daily routine, but a new way of looking out at the world.
Being a stay-at-home mom has been harder for me than I expected, but for much different reasons than I would have anticipated. Before, if I had to guess what the hardest part of staying home would be for me, I would have chosen some vague variation on losing patience with children or being tired or not having anyone to talk to every day. But instead, by far the hardest thing has been giving up what feels like the whole outside world.
One piece of very good advice that my sister Leah gave me when Will was born was to not let my world shrink too much. Without a job outside the home, it can be so, so easy to let my life be contained to the four walls of my house, and I have put a lot of effort into pushing against that. Ever since Will grew out of the newborn stage I have been very intentional about making sure my world was bigger than that, and I think it’s helped a lot. But I honestly did not expect that I would miss that old life, and certainly not that I would still miss it so much a year later.
Point of clarification — I don’t mean that I miss not being a mom, because I don’t. But I miss feeling like I have a place out in the world.
Anyway. All that to say, since I am a stay-at-home mom at the present, it does me no good to sit here sighing and looking wistfully out the window, imagining how very, very green the grass is on the other side of the fence, instead of enjoying my baby and investing my energy into my home. So I am trying to look at things differently. Can being a stay-at-home mom be a form of mindfulness?
In my own burgeoning practice of mindfulness, I’m trying to stay focused on one thing at a time. Not checking email and reading blogs and eating ice cream and watching TV and carrying on a conversation with my husband and trying to address the mess in the sink. I want to try and take the same approach to being a stay-at-home mom. Just do one thing right now, and do it well, and make the most of the simplicity in my life right now. After all, one of the major reasons I decided to stay home was so that I could have a simple life for a while.
But that simple life has turned out to be much more of a challenge to me — and so much more humbling — than I expected it to be. I hope I am up to the task.
By the way — these lovely pictures were taken by my very talented friend Maggie! Maggie was also our wedding photographer. I will share more of these pictures soon!