Hey there stay-at home mama,

Can I tell you something?

Anyone who puts the word “just” in front of your job title simply doesn’t understand.

They may mean it condescendingly, or they may not—but regardless, the truth is they don’t realize what being “just” a stay-at-home mom is all about.

They probably don’t realize that although you love this job and you chose this job—it doesn’t discount how tough it is.

That doesn’t mean when you crawl into bed after yet another day that seems identical to the 10 before it, you don’t sometimes lay awake imagining what it might be like to have a job outside of the house. A job where you could talk to adults all day, and sip a latte at your desk, and maybe even surf a few YouTube videos in the silence between tasks.

The onlookers who use the word “just” might not realize that some days, no amount of coffee can give you the energy you need in order to keep up with the little souls in your charge.

They might not understand how heavy it can sit on your heart when you feel like you’ve lost sight of your purpose.

They might not be acquainted with the feeling of regret in your heart after a day when your patience was too thin and your to-do list was too long.

When you’re defeated; when you’re beaten down and misunderstood, thinking to yourself, They just don’t get it; well, mama, you’re probably right. They don’t get it. It’s an exclusive club, this stay-at-home mom thing. It’s a reality that is hard to see clearly from the outside looking in.

But I want you to know something. I want you to know I see you. I want you to know I’m here with you, too, mama. I want you to know there are others all around the world who are right . . . here . . . with . . . you.

I see how you’re on the clock, around the clock—and around and around and around.

I know what a blessing it is to be with your child every moment of every day.

I know what a burden it is to be with your child every moment of every day.

I know how heavy it can feel when you lose sight of your purpose outside of motherhood. I know how it feels to grieve the loss of the identity you once held close.

I know some days, the hours fly by, while other days, you’d swear that the second hand on the clock was broken.

I know although you are expected to “cherish every second” there are moments you’d prefer to kick to the curb and forget altogether.

I know you sometimes keep your feelings of being overwhelmed bottled up inside of you, for fear of coming across as ungrateful for this opportunity you have been given.

Do you know what else I know?

I know how badly you want this job, and that although it is far from glamorous, you would fight tooth and nail to keep it.

I know how lucky you feel to be there for first smiles, first words, and first steps.

I know how proudly you flaunt the badge of “Mom” for the world to see.

I know you love your children more than the air you breathe.

Above all, I know what you’re doing matters. Oh, it matters so very much.

Give yourself permission, mama.

It’s OK that you long for a break, and even more OK when you actually get one. That invitation for a ladies’ night? That coffee date at a friend’s house when you let your kids run wild in the other room while you laugh freely in the kitchen? That weekend when your parents beg for some time with their grandkids? I hope you take those chances, and I hope you take them guilt-free.

In that season when you feel like you have lost the passion in your life, I hope you find It. I hope you find the something besides momming that makes your heart beat a little faster and gives you something to look forward to—to work toward. I hope you find the one thing you can do for you.

And when you lose your chill (and you will), and when you feel undervalued (and you will), and when you feel lonely (and you will), just remember, mama—there’s a whole sisterhood of us in this stay-at-home motherhood game.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward