Being a mom is a tough job. Rewarding, of course … but also exhausting, demanding, time consuming, and selfless. I could go on all day.
So it makes sense that when one mom talks about how stressful her life is, we all want to chime in with how stressful our lives are, too. After all, doesn’t it always seem like other moms don’t have it nearly as hard as we do — because they aren’t a stay-at-home mom (SAHM), a single mom, or a working married mom, for example?
Well, when it comes to which of these moms has it the hardest, I happen to know the answer because I’ve been all of three of them. So if I may, let me tell you which motherhood “title” wins the trophy for being the most difficult.
My ascent into motherhood began as a married SAHM. I brought my new baby home from the hospital and never once had to worry about getting back to the job I left when I had her, because my new job was taking care of her. I loved on her, never missed a milestone, and enjoyed devoting most of my time to raising my sweet girl.
Yet, it felt isolating. The cycle of feeding, burping, changing, napping, and playing wore on me. I was bored doing laundry and prepping meals. I missed spending at least part of each day around adults and the stimulation that it provided.
Over time, I felt my sense of identity slipping away from me as I became more “mom and housewife” than the woman I used to be. I envied my husband and the moms I knew who would go off to work each day, doing things that made them feel tangibly important. The monotony of my days made them all roll together into one, without a day off, broken up only by outings with the kids that often required an Olympic effort just to pull off.
I was exhausted in SAHMhood.
I couldn’t have predicted how things were going to change, however. When my daughter was 3 and my son was 7 months old, I became a single mom. Let me assure you: When I say “single,” I mean it in every sense of the word. My husband disappeared and I had no family to help me out. Suddenly, I was the only person taking care of my children, house, and finances. It’s a scary position to be in, when you are the only one you can count on … and everyone else is counting on you. Even that job that I had wanted so much as a SAHM now made me feel guilty because it sucked up the time I wanted to spend with my kids. Trying to be everything is tough. I often felt spread way too thin.
I was beyond exhausted in single motherhood.
For that reason, I thought I’d have an easy transition into becoming a married mom (again) with a career. The best of both worlds, I thought! What I failed to wrap my head around, though, is the amount of work it takes to be an employee, mom, and now, wife. It means that I have to take what little time I have and stretch it further. Everything that I gained in having a partner help me out is now equally spent on meeting the needs of my husband and our very busy schedules. Trying to align our careers around caring for our kids, while striving to make sure we each pull our weight around the house — and still have time for each other — turned out to be more taxing than I thought.
I’m exhausted being a married working mom.
So when I think about all the types of moms I’ve been, there’s one truth that stands out: how exhausting it is in every shape and form, and how much we do for the people around us.
Basically, I’m saying all moms rock. No matter what our lives look like on the outside, all we really want to do is what’s best for our families, often at the expense of ourselves. Being a mom is a difficult job — no matter who you are or how you are living it.
Thankfully, we all know it’s worth it. I wouldn’t change my SAHM years for anything. I was there for every smile and every giggle. Then, becoming a single mom gave me the opportunity to find myself again, and grow in the confidence that I can do it all. So now, as a married working mom, despite all of the challenges that this new phase has brought me, I’m loving it. I’ve seen nearly every side of mothering (including being a mom to special needs children) and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that through it all, the best part of life has been just being called Mom.
So no matter how difficult we may think we have it, the important thing to remember is how incredibly blessed we all are.
We get to be moms, no matter what other title might accompany that.