Staying At Home: It’s Not All Bon-Bons and Soaps

I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom. I have been working since I was eighteen, and the thought of stopping to stay home all day with a baby was terrifying to me. “I’d be so bored!” I would cry! “No one does that anymore!” I’d tell people. Stay-at-home mothering was right up there with moving back in with your parents at thirty in my life. The shame! The horror!

While I was pregnant, I kept my nighttime bar-tending job, working eleven hour shifts right up until I was nine months pregnant and people starting making serious comments about me giving birth while mixing a cocktail. When I was asked what would happen after the baby came, I was optimistic. “Oh, I’m going to take five weeks off, and then I’ll be back to keep working my shifts. No big deal.” And I did. I was the crankiest, most irritated bartender in Richmond, serving college kids their red bull and vodkas with the bitchiest stink face I had because they would get to sleep off their hangovers while the only thing I got to sleep off was an hour or two of not being vomited on. I schlepped on for about four months, until I had to finally admit to myself and my husband that I was harboring a pretty terrible case of postpartum depression that I was trying to mask by drinking a lot while at work and going to target almost every day I wasn’t working.

Once I got some help with my depression, I cut back to one night a week at the bar for mental health and settled into a fairly decent routine with my kiddo, who was starting to be less of a screaming worm with appendages and more like a smiling human who only screamed intermittently. Around this time, my husband started a new hobby which evolved into a new business. He was working seven days a week and when he wasn’t working, he was holding down the fort while I went to work. After a few months of him working all the time, we realized a couple of things. Monetarily, we were doing OK. We certainly weren’t showering in Perrier and eating fancy dinner every night, but we were holding our own. Secondly, the money I was bringing in from my one night of work a week was pretty much equal to what my husband was trying to do on the two and a half days that he wasn’t at his real job. It seemed pretty clear that my job was becoming a moot point.

Two months ago, I put in my resignation at the bar that I had pretty much called home for almost seven years. It was a terrifying and bittersweet moment. Having worked and had my own money for so long, the thought of being dependent on another person for pretty much everything, I still get a little queasy. I’m not good at relying on other people. My husband is a super rad, ridiculously talented guy who is going after a profession that makes him happy, and it would be impossible for me to say “No, I’m sorry. You have to keep doing this job you kind of hate.” So I have taken a step back, and I’m manning the home front while he is the breadwinner. I’m trying to keep a pretty good handle on my depression, and when I feel like I’m starting to hit a breaking point, I make a point of getting out of the house by myself. This stay-at-home thing is harder than I thought it would be.

So that’s where I am now. I’m going to try to document this journey as it unfolds. I’m curious to see where this leads, and I’m hoping for great things. Or winning the lottery. I’d take either, but if I win the lottery, I’ll probably move somewhere that it doesn’t randomly snow during the spring. Stupid Virginia.

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