A Stay At Home Mom And The Right To Complain

When you think about common complaints, they are usually about things out of a person's control - a boss' temperament, a brutal heat wave or poor service at a restaurant.  Griping can be unproductive but it feels really good to commiserate or have our partners or friends know what we're going through.   As long as it's not your norm, the response is usually validating or comforting.

But one of the things I thought about during the two weeks in Cape Cod with Bodie, while Dan was at work in New York, was that I didn't feel like I had the right to complain. Besides being in a gorgeous place with people I love, I chose stay at home motherhood.  I chose to change our family's finances, my career and my day to day to allow myself this time to have what, on most days, I consider the privilege to watch Bodie grow.  

I could build you the list of all the things I feel "#grateful #blessed" for but after a particularly clingy morning where my 27 pound child (I weighed him on the airport check in scale) demanded to be held or a dinner that more resembled a food fight, I felt drained.  I felt annoyed.  I felt even a tad lonely while Dan was at a company picnic (note that he is not usually picnicking during the work days).  By the time I got on the phone with him I was wound up - tight lipped because I was resisting the urge to vent, conscious of how busy his week had been in comparison and displeased that he wasn't reading my mind and offering an empathetic shoulder to cry on. 

In the workplace, after a long day, complaining is normal, it's relieving and it's a means to connect.  So why in motherhood, can we not have that same right to share a bit of our reality?  I don't suggest constant negativity, but I am suggesting that even if we chose and love this role, just like for our partners or friends who chose jobs that can feel taxing, we can still have our tough moments.  

I'm not particularly good at staying quiet, so I did end up sharing my angst from that particular day and my husband didn't say, "Well, you chose this", he said instead, "I couldn't do what you do".  Better than a shoulder.  And much more honest and true of a conversation than if we'd thumbed through the highlight reel of photos from the day.  Ultimately, complaining didn't feel like a betrayal to Bodie or like an embarrassing admission of defeat, it felt like a truth that brought me closer to my partner. Equally, the occasional complaint is likely a relief for other women and friends who are working through their own realities.

Have you ever felt guilty about complaining about a day in motherhood?  Do you feel more comfortable thinking of it as a way to connect more honestly?   


Featured Image via BANDIKOOT