by Hilary Doyle of Simply Writeous
Before I became a mother and wife, I jumped all into the world of mental health. With my Graduate degree in hand, I sought to learn, hone skills, connect, support and help people heal. I worked hard to climb the leadership ladder at a young age and poured myself in to training up and supporting fellow professionals, building and implementing programming that would better serve our clients and establish solid community partnerships.
But my heart has always been in the home.
Even before marriage and kids, I dreamed of living a fabulous housewife lifestyle.
You know? The kind where the house is always clean, laundry always done (and put away), a delicious and elaborate dinner on the table, a thriving and beautiful garden, packing lunches for my hubby, and having fresh-baked treats on the counter every week. I dreamed that children would eventually make their way into our lives. Our sweet bundles of joy! And we would relish in our time together: snuggled on the couch reading books, creating amazing kid art, building with blocks, exploring the world around us.
It took five years, six pregnancies, and seven babies in heaven before children finally entered our lives and they came via the foster system. Hands down the roughest road I’ve ever walked (and am still on). We were finally blessed with a biological son of our own bringing our census to three kids, under the age of three…and it all happened in 15 months!
I got my stay-at-home.
The fabulous part is seriously lacking. Pulling off dreams of stay-at-home fabulous requires sleep; something I haven’t gotten a good night’s worth in almost two years now.
The house isn’t clean, the laundry isn’t done, there are no elaborate meals on the table, my husband is on his own for lunch and even thinking about baking is laughable.
I spend a bulk of my time navigating difficult adopted kid behaviors outside the norm of “age appropriate boundary testing.” My brain is constantly at work trying to understand and figure out the next thing to try, because the current state of functioning isn’t sustainable.
I read and consult former colleagues and friends in the industry. We try the next new thing until that fails, again. Then it’s back to the drawing board.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
The mom guilt weighs heavily on me, as being in a constant state of survival mode has left me with inability to care for and enjoy my infant that way I would like. Here’s the thing: my dream of fabulousness set me up for serious failure.
What I ended up with is real life.
Real life is messy and requires grace, mercy and shifting of perception.
Are my adopted kids a struggle? FOR SURE! But they’re also smart beyond smart, and funny, too! Am I able to give to my biological son the way I envisioned? NOPE! But he’s learning invaluable skills of self-regulation and self-entertainment and he’s happy!
As for my husband and those lunches and fresh baked treats? He could not care less! He’s just as happy with a freezer burrito or hot pocket for lunch and a sleeve of generic brand cookies from the store.
I’m a mental health professional turned stay-at-home family manager and this life is a far cry from the fabulous housewife gig I imagined.
Shifting perception has allowed me to see that through all the messiness, it’s fabulous in its own special way.
About the Author
Hilary is a wife and mom to three little ones living in Colorado. She traded in her work in mental health to write and stay home with her family. It’s not quite the rich and fabulous housewife gig she envisioned prior to kids, but somehow they make the lifestyle of the not rich/not famous work. She enjoys coffee, reading, gardening, cooking and projects/DIY. You can follow her at SimplyWriteous.com, Facebook and Instagram.