Monday, May 21, 2012

The Village to the Rescue! Secret Fears of a Stay at Home Mom

Something just hit me this week: I'm going to be a full-time stay at home mom. I'll be the acronym that made me cry with jealousy six years ago. The first few weeks back at work after Molly was born, I'd read the web moms tossing around the SAHM label so casually, so unaware of the depth of their privilege, and I'd cry onto my breast pump. Some time during my Bird's belated Terrible Threes, my three-day weekends and evenings were so frustrating that Monday was a goddamn holiday. Adult conversations and a relative lack of screeching toddler (I worked at a children's clinic- heh) were good, good therapy. I realized then that my temperament needed that time away. I shrugged off the desire to be home with my Boo and declared that I was a happily working mom.

The last day of Kanawha County public school snuck up on me- just four more days. It really never occurred to me until this week that I'm going to be with Birdy full time. For an entire summer. And I'll be doing that partially to completely-fucking disabled. (I'm starting to get sick of that word quickly but it's apt for now. Or forever, if you have some silly idea that missing half a limb is a problem.) This hit me on a bad pain/depression day, when I'd called the in-laws to keep the baby overnight on a school night. I panicked that evening, quietly. I wasn't terribly keen to admit I was scared of something I used to covet. After a couple of days of rest, my pain is better- and lo! the depression faded too. (Hi, therapist: you were right about the chicken/egg...) 

The epiphane that settled on me like a comfy blanket was My Village. My Aunt who has been like a third parent my whole life, my Dad who rode the roller coaster of his daughter's moods and talks me down when bill collectors call and managed to eventually stop feeling nauseous when I pierced/tattooed something. And I have my new family that felt like home long before the wedding. 

I married into a very Appalachian-traditional family. There are four generations of Evanses in our hollow. My dad-in-law is retired and he's always been Molly's babysitter. She has an amazing bond with her Grandies, which is a wonderful treasure. Down the hollow, I have a dear friend A, with four gorgeous children who has many time rescued a deadline-racing designer from a clinging little girl. One of my focuses while I'm off work is to help make sure she and her husband get some more time out. She home schools the girls as well, and Molly has repeatedly asked to do school at home. I'm thinking of creating a light summer plan to work on reading and art and to attend UU services to help my daughter reconcile her very mixed spiritual heritage: LDS, Lutheran, Atheist, Christian with aversion organized religion, non-theist pagan... I think if you throw that in a God Blender you get Unitarian Universalism, right?

I'm going to ask A about her summer lesson plans and see if maybe we can find a way to co-teach on some days. I know there'll be days I need to call on the Grandies' for help when my pain level's too much. My Little Bird is so mature and helpful to Mama, but she clings and on bad days my patience is very touchy, and I just don't want anyone to see me in pain except Shane. And that man- Oh, my- I married the man I needed. In the early days, when all I wanted to do was to self-destruct and shatter from losing mom, he'd demand that I "cowgirl up" and power through it. He saw strength in me and reminded me it was there when it was so hard to find. Now, he's shifted with me. He'll gently steer me to bed when he reads the tiny signs of pain in my face. He's my reality check, and my awe-inspiring confidant. I've hurled such darkness at him, deeply buried worries and doubts and shaking fear and he knows somehow when to listen and hold me and when to call bullshit and tell me to get over it. 

I'm so blessed with this nest of loving people. So very happy and safe to know I'm never in this alone- whatever this is. Pain or grief or panic or depression. All at once, often. Thank you, too, my wide, beautiful network of friends I've hugged tightly and friends I know from your words. 

I'm feeling a little melodramatic, so I'm shutting down before I tip over the edge into syrupy. But thanks. Thank you, thank you.


  1. <3

    Oh, souster. You are amazing.

  2. Being a SAHM is both fun and terrifying, although it hasn't been my acronym since C was two, during those first few months back in the States! You will do fine. So will Molly - you've got your village and, as Molly gets older, she will have more and more understanding/empathy when you need a break.

    Don't forget, the occasional video (or, hell, a day of kid TV) is not a failure and not going to hurt the Bird, if all else fails.

    :hugs: Love you lots and lots, my dear!