In my current season of life I’ve been struggling to find the sweet spot. The transition to stay at home mom has been difficult for me. I wouldn’t choose to work during these precious developmental years, but I have to be honest.
I hate doing arts & crafts, scrapbooking, playing hide & seek, and Sesame Street. Many of the activities you’re supposed to do as a mom of small children just aren’t my “thing.” The left side of my brain dominates my existence, so the mere thought of walking into a craft store gives me the shakes. Play dates with toddlers fighting over the same toy give me panic attacks. I don’t like volunteering in my kids’ classrooms, which sounds strange given that I’m a teacher. I can’t stand being around large groups of children who can’t tie their own shoes. It must have to do with the age, because I do love being in a middle school classroom. I also get irritated and feel insufficient when my friends decorate cookies or do craft projects for every holiday known to man. And while we’re on the subject let me be very clear about something: I do not bake. Can you feel my pain?
I have made the conscious choice to stay home with my children, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. (To say “stay home” just sounds stupid, though, because I am rarely ever actually at home). While I do enjoy many aspects of my current job description, I feel like a fish out of water when I look around at other women in my peer group. They seem to love these things that I can barely force myself to do. Am I the only one who feels this way or the only one willing to admit it? Either way, it can be very isolating.
I decided it was time to make some changes or I was going to lose my mind. I started by going through the process of evaluating my gifts, my passions, and the needs of others in my circle of influence. I joined the board of directors for a local non-profit organization with an incredible cause. I was also invited to serve as an executive mentor with an international non-profit and have been growing tremendously as a result. Both in my Sweet spot. The former competitive athlete in me made exercise a priority again. I started kickboxing and playing in a men’s basketball league. Sweet spot.
Most importantly, I started letting go of the guilt I feel when others expect me to be someone I’m not. I will never be that mom who brings in baked goods for the fundraiser. I will never complete those gorgeous scrapbooks that other moms put together for their kids (I tried it. I suck. This OCD perfectionist, bean-counter’s daughter took hours to pick out which papers to put on a page, so I had to stop). I will volunteer for things that line up with my skills and passions, and feel ok that I don’t fit into the SAHM mold. All of this adds up to a better, happier, more helpful me. And it makes me a better mom.
When have you felt like a fish out of water, and what have you done about it?