I stare at myself in the mirror and wonder if being a stay-at-home mom is all I’m cut out to be. 

Am I doing it right?

Does my husband resent me for not contributing financially?

Do my non-SAHM friends think I’m lazy?

These questions bombard me, and I begin to feel like my mind is flooded and I’m grasping for a silver lining to bring me back to reality. But, reality isn’t what I’m truly even wanting. Because the reality is . . . I’m lonely. 

I’m so lonely. I’ve never been so alone. 

I’m not physically alone, but I might as well be, considering my mind is in limbo and sometime throughout the day, I’ve checked out due to the overwhelming demand of wants and needs of my two small children. 

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This isn’t how I imagined motherhood would look.

No, it’s not. I knew there would be exhaustion and stress. I knew all of this beforehand, and I welcomed it. But I didn’t expect it to feel so heavy. I didn’t expect to experience postpartum anxiety and depression. 

I didn’t realize I’d be sobbing in my 3-year-old’s arms because I yelled at her and made her cry. 

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I didn’t realize how badly I would crave some free time with a few friends, ALONE. 

At the end of the day, I’m so touched out that even the smallest touch from one of my children or husband makes me scream inside. 

The constant whining can make me feel like I’m doing this whole mom thing wrong.

Like I’m not doing enough. 

Oh, and don’t forget the stress of wanting to be the perfect mom. I so badly want to be the mom who wakes up every morning delighted to make a huge breakfast and immediately afterward get out my flashcards and crafts to begin a fun-filled day of learning and playing. 

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But I don’t. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the energy most days. The night-time wakings and early rising tanks my energy. 

Then there is the never-ending anxiety. Are my kids eating enough? Are they hitting their milestones on time? Am I sheltering them too much? Do they know how much I truly love them?

This is it. 

This is the ugly side of motherhood. 

This is the no eat, no sleep, no freedom kind of love that comes with being a mother to young children. 

But despite the fact I feel like I’m crumbling every second of every day, it’s worth it. 

These kids are worth it. 

Previously published on the author’s blog

Haley McLain

I am a wife and a mother to two beautiful daughters. I am married to my high school sweetheart! Writing has been a passion of mine for 13 years.