I’m a crier. I admit it. I’m tough, physically, but don’t approach my heart with anything sad or accusatory. I try to hide it behind anger and fake happiness. I cope with it by making jokes, exercise, and, yes, food. I’m hardest on myself, which doesn’t help alleviate my cry sessions.

Like many, I’ve held several jobs through my life, starting with babysitting in junior high. I’ve had several tough bosses, even some downright mean ones. I’ve put up with angry and unsatisfied customers, dealt with technology malfunctions and needing to start over on major projects, hurtful and untrue accusations towards me, and, as a counselor, heard some of the saddest stories you can imagine. But I’ll tell you one thing, I’ve never cried as much at a job as I do with my current one – being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).

My current “bosses” are unrelenting. The hours are merciless and I’m on-call 24/7. Others expect my house to be clean but no one will help, and cleaning up after others takes time! It also takes creativity because while I’m cleaning one area, the kids OR my spouse is destroying another. I hate having a dirty, unorganized house. It doesn’t help that we moved six months ago, so many things that weren’t essential are still packed. Having a messy house adds stress. I cry because I CANNOT keep up.

My “adult” conversations consist of talking to myself, and I’ll admit, it isn’t usually very positive self-talk. I’m expected to entertain my kids but without technology because, heaven forbid, if I mention letting them watch TV, I get “the look” from other parents. Sorry, TV is about the only time I don’t have fighting children. Speaking of which, I’m expected to referee, and when my husband arrives home, he doesn’t understand why I’m not calmer and handling fights with grace and patience. I cry because I’m not the “perfect” parent.

Time off is a laughing matter. My “time off” consists of driving to meetings for a company for which I do online work from home, and that’s only once a quarter. Vacation time only exists if they go to visit grandparents, and they rarely all go at once. Holidays are MORE work, not time off, and they can take months of preparation – cleaning, meal planning, re-cleaning, shopping, re-cleaning. I cry because I’m stressed.

The list could go on-and-on. Here’s my kicker: pay. Being a SAHM pays NOTHING in monetary value, and I LIKE that external reward. Did you know there are some countries who ask, yes, ASK, parents to stay home after the birth of their child for a year? The parent gets half pay from his/her job during this year. I’m guessing this removes a lot of stress. I know my biggest fear is our financial situation. We are pretty thrifty but there are things that have to be paid, like bills, groceries, etc. Living off one income can make that tricky. It doesn’t help my sanity that the house we bought, which passed TWO inspections, has MAJOR electrical wiring problems, just needed the well pump replaced, dishwasher died, water pressure is decreasing, and there are burrs all over the yard (so I can’t even send my kids outside without needing to remove burrs from their clothing or skin). And I cry because everything takes money.

My youngest daughter, despite her older siblings being very verbal at her age, is a screamer. I cry over this. I cry because I’m a screamer, and I’m sure she learned it from me. I cry because when I scream, she cries in fear, as do her siblings. I cry because I have a Master’s degree in counseling and I can’t even talk with my own children. I cry because I do NOT want to be that kind of parent.

And I keep crying. I cry because I become unmotivated to do anything, and my house gets worse for several days. I cry because I don’t think anyone cares about how I feel. I cry because my loving husband hugs me and says he’ll help more but I know it only last a few days before he gets wrapped up in his own stuff. I cry because I can’t get away for a break. I cry because negative thoughts enter my mind, like “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t deserve my family,” and “I can’t do this.” I cry because I’ve never been someone to give up, but it seems like it’s a daily thought as a stay-at-home mom. I cry because I want to be the best mom for my kids but I seem to fail every time I turn around.

As I read this blog, I can’t help but think about how it sounds like a “poor me” cry for help. Well, maybe it is. After all, this is one of a few ways for me to “talk” to other adults. I don’t think many kids will be reading this.

I love my children. I want my house to be organized and I want to pick up some of the old hobbies I gave up because of time and finances, like scrapbooking, reading, and volleyball. I don’t want to give up being a SAHM because there ARE times when I really love it. I just want to be the best parent possible for my children more often than I currently am.

Jessica McCaslin

Jessica is a Stay-At-Home-Master-Mom who is learning to cope with the daily challenges of being a full-time parent. She graduated with her Master's degree in community counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2005. Jessica joined Family Resources of Greater Nebraska in January 2012. She worked with children, adolescents, adults and families in and around Broken Bow, NE. Her attention has now turned to raising her children while doing online work for Family Resources of Greater Nebraska. She loves horses and has attended several Level 1 Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning trainings, where horses are used as a co-therapist for mental health issues. It's a dream to someday be able to incorporate horses into her therapy sessions. She resides near North Platte with her husband and children.