NB: This post was originally authored by me and featured on bellanaija.com, a lifestyle online website, where I write on stay at home moms.
Recently, as we approached our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband and I were discussing a particularly rocky season in our marriage, now with the benefit of hindsight. We all know that hindsight is 20-20, right? So we could be objective and even joke about what certainly wasn’t funny at the time.
I clearly recall, during that season, how my days used to go. I would sleep at about 2AM after staying up to watch late night movies, and still be asleep until about 9 or 10AM, only waking briefly when hubby was leaving for work. I exclusively breastfed the baby and we had both mastered the art of nursing in bed, so he was fine to stay asleep so long as his food supply didn’t stop.
When I would finally wake, the remote control would help me power on the TV and I would continue from where I stopped the night before. The TV was my best friend that season as I navigated caring for my baby and the day’s chores and meals. Speaking of meals, I also didn’t stop eating as I watched TV and then browsed through endless blogs and social media sites, while intermittently feeling sorry for myself that everyone and their dogs had a better life than me, while all I did with my sorry life was house chores, change diapers and express breast milk.
Looking back now, I can see that I was lowkey depressed.
I didn’t care to have a bath until well into the afternoon, and I certainly didn’t care to do anything to even better myself, whether professionally, spiritually or personally. My pity-party lasted 24 hours and the only invited guests were food (especially junk), drinks, endless TV programs, movies, social media and gossip blogs. Sadly, all of these fueled my depression. And because my husband was my only friend in that city, I would then proceed to catch him up on the latest celebrity gossip I had picked up for the day. I noticed his growing discomfort with that, but it didn’t matter to me. One day though, he finally asked me in a rather incredulous tone:
Babe, is this all you do all day?
I was defensive, I must say, but in my more lucid moments, I thought hard and long about that question and how it was a sad but true description of my every day. I had let go of myself. I had gained at least 25kg and gone 3 dress sizes up. I didn’t read books or even do anything to progress me professionally. I loved to write and even though I wrote once in a while, they weren’t my finest works. Because I had quit my job in the world’s leading international organization and moved towns to be with my husband and raise my newborn as a family, I assumed that life as I knew it was over. I intended to return to the corporate world later, but I couldn’t see past my current state.
Until those words jolted me into a reality check.
Gradually, I started to change, and the first thing I did was to leave the TV off all day. I had so many favorite programs that I thought if I didn’t watch, the world would end. But I had to discipline myself into not even taking a peek. Next, I got out a journal into which I poured out my heart. It was time to face myself and confront my sorry reality. I was living a joyless, thankless, and highly bitter life. I compared my life to everyone’s and was jealous of anyone who had even the semblance of a job or career. I quarrelled a lot with my husband because, somehow, I blamed him for all the sacrifices I had to make in the home. I filled my body and mind with unending junk. I met Eziaha, or what Eziaha had become, and she didn’t look good.
I had just turned 29. And I was done feeling sorry.
With the TV off, I could think. I could pray. I could study. I could learn. I came to terms with that fact that in that season, I was a stay-at-home mom and didn’t work outside the home like I would have preferred. I didn’t like it, but it was my reality and, frankly, the best thing for my family at the time. The earlier I came to terms with that, the more I could fully immersed in the season and saw how I could bear fruits in it.
I literally was going to flip the pity party for a fruitful party.
I got off social media sites and turned off the gossip blogs and websites. Till today, I still have such an aversion for gossip blogs, and it amuses me because I once lived on those streets. I researched a lot on parenting and baby friendly recipes. I read materials online on homemaking and managing the domestic finances while scouting for deals, fairly used items, and bargain prices. I mean, I wasn’t actively contributing to the family finances but I could at least manage it well, abi?
I also decided to go on a weight loss journey. It seemed like a project I could throw myself into, and I did. I eventually joined an online weight loss program after weeks of trying it out on my own. I gave everything to losing weight you would have thought I was writing a PhD thesis on it, and my results were fast as I quickly bounced back to my pre-baby size and weight, losing 30kg in about 4months.
I read a lot, too, on various topics. I registered for an started a few online personal and career development courses. Suddenly, knowing that I was making the best of my season, even though I didn’t know what the future held, I became proud of myself and was no longer ashamed to call myself a stay-at-home mom. My son had a more joyful mother and my husband a less cantankerous wife. I also stopped comparing myself with my friends who had a career. I no longer thought they were better than me, rather acknowledging that we were just in different seasons and I had to make the most of mine.
My circumstances didn’t change, but I changed. I was truly joyful to be this stay at home mom. My joy became my weapon.
Today, I am still a stay-at-home mom, and I run a business right from home. No surprises it is a fitfam-related one, where among other things, we help women, especially moms, lose weight. And I also get to host meetings and hangouts for stay-at-home moms, encouraging them to fully immerse and find joy in their season, so whether this season changes soon or remains the same for a long time, you get to keep your joy, peace and self-pride, while working on becoming a better woman, wife and mom, whether you work within the home, or outside of it.
This season is a beautiful one, sister and I encourage you to rock it!