I'm An Indoor Mom, And I Make No Apologies

by Brandi Jeter Riley
Originally Published: 

Six years ago, when I moved to Northern California, I knew it had three things that would make me happy: mild weather, my future husband, and wine at every function. The good stuff. What I was not anticipating, however, was the obsession that these people have with being outside.

I get it. We live near beaches, and mountains, and lakes, and beautiful parks, but you know what?

Bugs. That’s what.

And microclimates.

I leave my house and it’s hot. I’m dressed perfectly in my little skirt and tank top. Then I drive five minutes up the road and I need jeans and a windbreaker. How can I enjoy the outdoors when I don’t even know how to dress for the outdoors?

My family loves to be outside. My husband is always game for a good hike, and loves to camp. My daughter has been begging me to take her skiing. I feel bad for denying her pleasure of falling on wet snow while freezing, but I really can’t stand the cold. I mean, I get sick when the temperature goes below 72 degrees. I actually feel the chill in my bones!

The one time I went to play golf with my husband, I think I got sun poisoning.

I can’t swim.

I run from ants.

It’s best for everybody if I just keep my delicate, sensitive behind in the house.

Even though I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m an indoor mom, it’s still hard. I hate disappointing my family by saying no. It makes me seem anti-social when so many of our friends love to do stuff outside. I try to balance declining invitations with pushing through my discomfort, and work hard to keep the ratio even.

Other than seeming like I don’t want to hang out with my family, being a mom who enjoys being in the house means that when my daughter has playdates, they are indoors too. As much as I dislike hiking, the last thing I want to do is run after someone else’s child in the forest. I’d much rather have the kids over here, give them some snacks, and let them watch television. I don’t even care if they are loud, or running around making a mess. As long as I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home, it’s all good.

There are some exceptions, of course. I do love the beach. Laying out on the sand under the sun reading a book is a perfect afternoon for me. But even that can be ruined sometimes. For instance, I was basking in the sun in Hawaii last summer when I saw a family of sand crabs digging a hole not far from me. I didn’t go back to the beach for the entire trip. I sat on a chair by the pool on our deck overlooking the beach, and that was close enough for me.

In the past, my husband and daughter would get disappointed when I’d say no if they asked me to do something outside. In turn, I would feel like the worst mom and wife ever.

There was even a point where I was concerned that my preference for the indoors would discourage my daughter from trying new things or keep her from having some of the same experiences as her friends.

The older I get, though, I realize that I make a million sacrifices for my family on a daily basis. If I don’t feel like swatting flies out of my face while I’m eating, sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag, or nursing bunions on my feet after walking through the woods, that’s my right. They can go without me.

If I didn’t feed my family, or if I never said yes to anything, that might be something to judge me for. I’m just a woman who knows what she likes. And just about everything I like happens to be inside my home. I’m not stopping my family from going on snowy ski vacations or rugged camping trips. I’ll just stay at the house, keeping the couch warm until they get back.

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