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How I Let Go of My Resentment as a Stay-At-Home Mom

While browsing Instagram like a boss the other day, I came across a post from a fellow mom of four (it's like we're in a secret club or something) that listed her various activities for the day: gym in the morning with the kidlets in the gym-run daycare, then because her every-other-week housekeeper was still deep-cleaning her house, she was forced to go out to lunch. [insert good-natured chuckle here.] And then later, take-out for dinner because we all know how crazy mom life is!

I fully admit that my first thoughts upon scrolling were not kind.

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I looked over my lot in life—me nursing baby at 10 o'clock at night, a house in disarray, a budget that rarely allows takeout for dinner and most certainly does not include a housekeeper—and I felt a simmering flame of familiar, ugly jealousy.

That's not real mom life! I shouted like a pouty 2-year-old. Well, except I was nursing the baby, so of course I didn't actually shout because that would just be foolish. Real moms are burnt out and exhausted and don't have housekeepers!

Trust me, I know how horrible I sound. I was pretty cognizant of that fact even while thinking it, and I even confessed to my husband. So great was my guilt over the fact that I had committed the cardinal sin of the motherhood club: Thou Shalt Not Judge Other Mothers. (Except of course, when it's for the greater good.)

So after I had purged myself of my sins, I took some time to get to the root of my jealousy. What on earth makes me think that motherhood means being miserable and never hiring a housekeeper? Why was I feeling so resentful?

The answer is, of course, that I want that life.

I want to be the in-shape sporty mom, but I can't bring myself to leave the kids in the gym daycare, nor do I have the desire to spend the money for a gym membership, nor do I have the time to dedicate two hours of my life every day to getting us all to the gym and exercising.

Just because we all stay home with our children, does not mean that we will do it all the same way.

I want to be the mom who takes her kids out to lunch just for funsies, but lunch out alone with four kids 6 and under is not always that much fun for me.

I want to be the mom who is confident enough to announce to the world that she has a housekeeper and doesn't care, but I can't even bring myself to contemplate hiring a housekeeper, let alone talk about it.

In short, I realized that in looking at that mom who was glowing and happy on Instagram with her well-fed children and clean home, that what I really want is to be more relaxed in my life as a mom.

Where did I get this idea that being a stay-at-home mom means constant sacrifice? If we really want to treat being a stay-at-home mom as a job, well then why shouldn't we be able to kick off our shoes (so to speak) and indulge every now and then and enjoy it along the way? We are all about women working jobs they love and we'd probably never bat an eye about a woman working a 100+ work week outside of the home hiring a housekeeper, but when a stay-at-home mom does it?

Well, some of us (cough, me, cough) may get a bit judgey about that in their own personal Instagram scrolling time.

The truth is, I'm slowly starting to see the true wisdom in realizing that even among stay-at-home moms, there really is no point in comparing and contrasting lives. Just because we all stay home with our children, does not mean that we will do it all the same way. The stay-at-home mom who spends her days lunching and hitting the gym while someone else cleans her house? Well, she's still caring for her kids in the way that she sees best, and if I have a problem with that, it's really just my problem.

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And instead of spending time on Instagram getting all huffy about how great another mom has it, I need to focus on some of the ways I can make staying at home more enjoyable for me.

So—who wants to go to lunch with me?

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