'So... What ELSE Are You Doing?'

by Jonielle Dedman
Jonielle Dedman

I have been amazed at the number of times I hear this very thing each week:

“Hey Jonielle! Cute kid! Are you staying home with him full time? What ELSE are you doing?”

At what point did being a stay-at-home mom for a child cease to be enough?

If I am honest, I am totally guilty of being one of these judgmental people who think that stay-at-home moms of one kid are slacking. I mean, really, all you have to do is hang out with a baby? How much time could that really take? I mean two kids, now that’s a handful, right?

Holy CRAP, I had no idea. The first three months are brutal, especially if you are breastfeeding. People told me I was going to be tired and sleep deprived… REM sleep was a thing of the past.

At three months, though, a lot of moms go back to work. Especially here in Nevada. I read an article on my “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” app that said Nevada was the third worst state to raise children.

47th place out of 50! That sucks!!

It apparently (on average) just does not pay as well to work here, so typically both parents need to hit the work force to make ends meet and raise a kiddo.So the moms that get to stay home are somewhat hated by the moms who want to but can’t, and seemingly looked down upon by the rest of society because they aren’t “doing it all” both at home and in the workplace.

What a different world than the one I grew up in. At some point, our society shifted from value being placed on women staying at home to women doing everything at home and work while taking the kids to sports, music and art lessons. That’s why movies like Bad Moms exist…

We just can’t do it all. Or if we try, we certainly can’t do it all well.

Enter the Overacheiver, a.k.a. Me.

Pregnancy was so frustrating to me because I felt so limited. Those limitations did not dissipate with childbirth. My body is a lot more functional again, but my life is now largely divided into 20 minute and 1 hour segments.

I think the trick of being a stay-at-home mom is learning to be okay with that. It is learning to be selfless, giving up your time, your body and your sleep to invest in the life of a tiny human.

It is also learning to release frustration with other people who continually ask, “Why aren’t you doing more?”

If I am honest, part of the problem with this statement from others is my overacheiving brain. I have a daily struggle releasing the 15 ideas of what I should do that day for the realization that maybe, just maybe, I can accomplish one thing.

All of this has made me so very aware of how judgmental I have been of other women.

It is certainly teaching me that I need to give people space to make their own choices about what they are doing with their time. And instead of questioning those choices, I need to encourage them to stay the course true to them.