I have had so much mom guilt for feeling like I was not allowed to grieve my old life, but I have learned it is not only okay, but actually necessary to grieve the life I use to have. Going from being 100% independent to depending on someone else and changing your life is scary, confusing, and hard to swallow. When I got pregnant, I knew I was going to be fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom, but I had no idea how hard it was going to be and how much I would miss my old life.
There is not a single regret I have about having my children and I think all moms can agree with me on that but I also do not feel bad about missing what I use to have. I have struggled with saying that for years but now that I have come to terms with it, I feel such a relief! It is okay. I am not saying I would rather have my old life, but I miss it so incredibly much.
When I met my now husband, I was 21 years old. I was going to school full time online, had two full time jobs, just bought my first house by myself, and was in the process of being certified to become a foster parent. I was an overachiever and incredibly independent. I did NOT need a man to make my dreams come true. When I met Dan, I knew he was the one after our first date. (Yes, I was crazy!)
Dan and I decided to try for a baby after I was told by multiple doctors that I could not have children. Well, on our first try I got pregnant…I swear that happens more times than not with people! Because we were not expecting this to happen so fast, our lives had to change dramatically. It had to change more for me than him though. In the span of 9 months, I had to put my house up for rent, move to a different city, leave my jobs, pause my schooling, leave my friends, and leave my life. Yes, this is what I signed up for but that does not mean I am not allowed to feel the way I felt.
Becoming a mom is a huge change no matter what. We all have no idea what we are in for until we are actually experiencing it. It is entertaining, messy, difficult, incredible, and demanding but we would not change it for the world! I did not realize that I was grieving my old life until my husband was the one who brought it to my attention. I kept comparing what I had to what I currently have. The thing is, there is no comparison! They are two very different lives. When I realized I was doing that, I had instant “mom guilt” because I should be having the time of my life! After all, this is what I have wanted since I was a little girl and I was just so lucky to be able to stay at home with my children. HA!
“I kept comparing what I had to what I currently have.”
It really hit me that I was no longer independent when I had to sell my home. It was the last piece of me that I had that was linked to my “old life” and I had no idea how to process that. I cried for days after signing and handing my keys over. That house symbolized my independence before children and it was just ripped away from me. Shortly after that, my bank account was being drained and I knew I had to tell my husband that I was running low on funds so he could give me money since we do not have a joint account. I hid it for as long as I possibly could. I would sell my belongings just so I had money because I saw that as a sign of weakness.
Realizing that I had to be financially dependent on someone else was (and still is) the hardest thing for me to grasp and be okay with. Something I have always prided myself on was doing everything financially on my own since the second I moved out of my parents’ house. I did not care how much I had to work to make sure I was successful and that was an extraordinary feeling. Telling my husband that I needed money in my account made me feel weak, small, worthless, and like I had failed as an individual.
Here is the thing that my husband has to constantly remind me: stay at home moms have a job and we work hard. No, we do not have the money to show for it but we benefit our families by doing what we do!
I am constantly reminded of the life I use to have (thanks, social media) and I miss it so much. I miss going out, seeing friends whenever I wanted, working my jobs, going to school, and even peeing in peace! Now my life is full of baby giggles, toddler tantrums, and Finding Dory on repeat all day long. It is not worse and it is not better, it is just different and moms should not have any guilt for feeling like they miss a piece of them that they can never get back. Maybe this is similar to a midlife crisis and I am experiencing mine earlier than I thought I would be.
Admitting that I miss my old life has been the biggest relief to me. I can move forward knowing that it is okay and life changes. I can grieve everything that I have lost so I can continue. Being a stay at home mom is a huge sacrifice and we have to give up a lot more than people realize so we can better our family. We are happy to do it but we are human and allowed to feel and mourn what we have lost because ultimately, we have gained so much more.