The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

My journey as a SAHM, part I September 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 2:19 am
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I have been a SAHM for five years, ever since my oldest son was born. He is now 5 years old, and my younger son is 22 months old. I had a college degree and worked in a variety of areas, including marketing, before quitting my job to be home with my baby.

For me, quitting my job was a relatively easy decision (though I knew we’d have to pinch every penny) because the circumstances surrounding the job that I had while pregnant with my oldest were spiraling downward, and I had little desire to deal with all the hassles I saw coming my way.

In addition, I wanted to embrace everything that motherhood had to offer, and I was honestly scared that I wouldn’t be able to handle the stresses of working outside the home and also being a mother (kudos to ALL of you who do that).

My journey as a SAHM has been interesting, to say the least. I can see that I have come a long way when I compare myself to the weak, exhuasted, hormonal woman who brought her jaundiced baby home from the hospital five years ago.

I spent the first year or two of my child’s life trying to figure out “who I was” as a woman, wife, and SAHM. I joined our local MOPS group, and while I loved the spiritual aspect of the group, I always, always struggled to fit in. In the end, I realized that being a MOPS member was causing me way more stress and heartache than it was worth.

Here I was, trying to get my baby and myself out the door on time, typically worn out and looking like H-E-double-hockeysticks and wondering whether anyone else found this motherhood thing as difficult as I did — and I was expected to show up with an egg bake because it was my small group’s turn to provide food, and “egg bake” was the only item left on the list by the time it got to me at the previous MOPS meeting.

Then there was the MOPS Easter event, where each small group was expected to decorate a table with china, linens, etc., for a MOPS Easter meal. My second year in MOPS, I had gotten myself pulled together a bit and therefore had the guts to tell my small group leader that I simply was not going to participate in this event, in part because I had a hard enough time getting Easter pulled together at my own home, thankyouverymuch, never mind hauling decorative items across town and into a church basement for an event that I wasn’t that interested in to begin with.

I’ll never forget the time that one of our local MOPS steering team members asked me to be Moppetts Coordinator for the following year. This is the person who coordinates the childcare aspect of MOPS, and it was obvious to me that it was a complicated, stressful, and time-consuming position. I’m sure she expected me to give it some thought and get back to her at a later time, but — I was getting smart, you see, and had my “No” muscles toned and ready for action — I thanked her for thinking of me but said that I wasn’t going to be able to take on that position.

After two years in MOPS, which had some bright spots but also more than a little stress, sadness, and frustration, I quit altogether. I am thankful to my MIL for encouraging me in this area; she could see the writing on the wall long before I could. (Sadly, she and I are now all but estranged, but that doesn’t change the fact that I admire and respect her in many regards, and I will always be thankful to her for helping me to think for myself and be my own person, SAHM or not.)

I see my decision to quit MOPS and instead embrace our local ECFE (sort of like Mommy & Me) as a turning point for me in my personal development and journey as a SAHM. I was finally ready to accept who I was and not worry so much about being like other moms/SAHMs.

I was the ONE mom among sixty or seventy at our MOPS meeting who chose not to do the craft, and instead take a few minutes to relax (and also avoid bringing yet another piece of clutter into my home). ย Can you imagine the strange looks and questions that I got that day? I guess it was unthinkable to the other moms that someone would be so independent.

I get quite a lot of visitors to here at this blog, and I have to wonder if any moms who are reading this have dropped out of MOPS or any other “mommy group” because of not fitting in. If so, please leave a comment!


8 Responses to “My journey as a SAHM, part I”

  1. Kelly K Says:

    I heard about but never got around to joining any MOPS groups when my son was born 3.5 years ago. Growing up I was more of a tomboy, so in general, I often find I have little in common with other women, other than being a SAHM. Instead, I just chatted up people I met while entertaining my son (at the mall play centers, or playgrounds) and if anyone “fit” we exchanged numbers and see how it went from there.

    The first year was very tough as I got used to often being 10 minutes late, not because I was unprepared, but because my son like to dirty his diaper just before (or just after) putting him in the car seat. It’s a trait his sister inherited. My children often wore bibs because they were droolers (while teething) and I recall the looks I got from other moms because they didn’t dare match the outfits (as the initial bib was soaked within the first 30 minutes of the day)… Not to mention the fact that I probably hadn’t gotten a shower that day so my hair was not styled, no make up applied…

    Yeah, I stick with kindred SAHMs who are odd like me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad you got out of a situation that was more stress than it was worth and found a group that worked. Support is very important as a SAHM.. Otherwise, we’d all go insane.

    -Kelly, SAHM of Chase 3.5 yrs & Kyra 11.5 months

  2. lotsofopinions Says:

    Wow, Kelly, we have a LOT in common. If you lived near me, I would likely hunt you down!

  3. Trish Says:

    I don’t exactly qualify as a SAHM since I work part-time, but I did attend the moms group at our church for the first 2 years of my son’s life. It meets once a month during the school year. I was glad to be there but struggled a lot because of post-partum depression and my son having a birth defect that required surgery at six months old.

    I never felt totally part of the group, probably a combination of my working outside of the home (12 hours a week at the time, now 20) and struggling with my son’s undiagnosed developmental delays. Once he got into Early Intervention and was diagnosed with autism, my life was taken over by therapy appointments and I also had too much grief to even be in a service with young children present, let alone attend a moms’ group.

    I’m impressed that you were able to identify your needs and communicate them and decide for yourself what was the best thing for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • lotsofopinions Says:

      Hi Trish, Thank you for your comment. Such a journey you’ve been through. Maybe one day, if it hasn’t happened already, you will be a mentor/friend/shoulder to cry on for a mom who wonders if anyone will understand what she’s going through!

  4. Jenn Says:

    I have a 18 month old and started going to Mops at a church I don’t attend in Sept. My friend requested that I be assigned to her table group, so I’m in a group with women whose kids are 1-2 yrs older and younger than my kid. I’m just not getting anything out of it, other than the monthly discomfort of making small talk with people I don’t know and have nothing in common with. It just sucks. On top of that, the Mops leader is a really weepy woman who is reduced to tears every time she mentions her children or her faith, which is nearly every time she has a mic in her hand; it just wears me out. And of all of the crafts we’ve done, only 1 hasn’t yet made it to the trash. I could go on and on. I likely won’t be re-joining Mops.

    • lotsofopinions Says:

      Jenn, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences. It sounds a bit like my MOPS experience. In the end, I was glad I was a member for a year because I did get to know a bunch of moms who I now see at the pool, at parks and so on. A few of them, I have gotten to know and like. I guess my year in MOPS was like paying my dues.

  5. Barbara B. Says:

    Hi, I just found your blog and thought I’d reply with my MOPS experience. We relocated to a smaller town for my husband’s job where we have no family nearby. I had to wait to have a baby due to a breast cancer diagnosis in my early thirties. When I finally had a baby at forty, I was advised to try the local MOPS group. Well, I joined, but was placed at a table with women who were closer in age to me, but their children were at least two years older. They would invite me to playdates that my then less than one year old child would get nothing out of. They would also make plans to meet at Chic-Fil-A after the meetings for lunch-RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME-and not invite me! As my daughter inched closer to the terrible two’s, I also had a difficult time getting to the meetings on time. I began to feel like I was in high school again. There were obvious cliques, especially since some of the women went to high school together. There were a few women who were very snooty and would barely look at me if I encountered them at the grocery store. What really turned me off was I noticed that some of the women sold stuff via multi-marketing/pyramid businesses (Thirty-One, Mary Kay, Arbonne,etc.) and used MOPS meetings as an opportunity to push their wares. One woman in particular was actively recruiting these young SAHMS to sell Mary Kay products under her, making them think they would be making big bucks. When she discovered she couldn’t recruit me, she turned on me. She was assigned to my table, so I actually asked the MOPS coordinator to move me to a different table. The final straw was when I was stupid enough to attend a Thirty-One purse party for a woman at my new table just because she was actually nice to me. Our MOPS group had gotten a new woman as a coordinator and she was a Thirty-One party consultant. Well, I ordered three items, including a purse that was meant to be a Christmas gift. The coordinator’s toddler daughter ended up in the hospital, so my items were late in coming in. When she came back to her first meeting after her daughter’s hospitalization, I only got two items I had ordered. I never heard about the purse until I sent e-mails to her, long after Christmas was over. I told her if she had the purse fine, I would give it as a birthday gift for the intended gift recipient. At first, she said she would drop off the purse at my house (she said it was still being monogrammed). Well, she never showed up. After not hearing anything else from her, I just gave up on MOPS altogether. I emailed her one last time, demanding a refund or just give me the blasted purse. She said she would just mail it to my friend, who lived out of state. Well, the blasted liar MOPS coordinator never did send it, as my friend never got the purse. The last email I got from the MOPS coordinator she asked me to please find it in my heart to forgive her!!! She straight up lied to me and kept my money! She’s still the MOPS coordinator to this very day and everyone thinks she’s a wonderful, upstanding Christian woman!!!. MOPS sucks and they can keep it. I have no interest in busting my butt struggling to get a strong-willed child in the car (let alone the car seat) just to go to a place where I don’t fit in, the sister Christian stepford wives look down their nose at me and I am defrauded of my husband’s hard earned money. I guess I just don’t kiss enough butt to fit in???

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