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How to combat feeling isolated as a stay-at-home mom

There’s no time when the walls of our house feel as if they’re closing in more than when we wake up to another day and have to cancel all plans because the kids are still sick. I never thought I’d feel so happy to see green snot turn clear, it’s akin to a bail bondsman saving me from jail after a crazy night.

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When the kids are sick, the days and nights blend together, and I find myself folding laundry realizing it’s a week’s worth of pajamas. With two kids 22 months apart and both not yet old enough to be in elementary school, it’s a challenge figuring out how to navigate our days.

There’s a reason I almost enrolled my son in soccer when he was a year old and then took my daughter to a gymnastics class at the same age. When I realized I was paying a high amount of money to do the exact same things in a gym that we can do at the playground for free, I asked the coach (of a class of 20 toddlers) what he was trying to accomplish. He told me the class is meant to get these little future Olympians “playground ready.” Let’s just say my toddling daughter, who enjoys frequenting the playground designed for kids age 5 to 12 and scoffs at the more appropriate structure for kids age 2-4, did not need a playground readiness course.

If anything, I need a therapist to handle the multiple panic attacks I have daily due to her climbing ability. So, why were there 20 toddlers in a class with a waiting list to learn playground readiness? Why on earth are parents enrolling their toddlers in soccer? Why not just go to the park and bring a soccer ball?

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It’s because being a stay-at-home mom is claustrophobic, and when there are days on end with nothing on the schedule but caring for young children and cleaning, life can seem pretty overwhelming. And then people ask, “So, what did you do all day?”

Maybe we feel that we, as mothers, don’t have the skills to teach our kids how to navigate the playground well or safely enough or how to kick a ball. I think it’s mostly — at least for me as an extrovert to a fault — a way to plan the day and escape. By scheduling our minis with the activities professionals provide, we can not only have a reason to get dressed but know today is Tuesday because my 6-month-old has swim lessons today. Heaven forbid my toddler is falling behind because she’s not getting coached in how to balance on a beam at a year old.

One of the biggest challenges and best parts of being a stay-at-home mom is the fact that you are the boss, the CEO, and the domestic goddess. I cannot wait for the day when my kids are off to elementary school, when my son is in Little League and my daughter is playing soccer. Maybe then I won’t have to hear another well-meaning elderly woman tell me this time goes by so quickly and to cherish it. Thanks, but I’m pretty sure it’s 10 a.m. and I am already done with this day — like done, done, done.

So, boss lady, warrior mama, domestic goddess, let’s embrace our leadership roles and titles. Let’s grab our calendars and plan out our week without needing to pay professionals to help ease those smothering days at home. Let’s not dread the days when nothing is on the calendar — not even a playdate — the siblings are fighting, and the house looks far from the Pottery Barn Kids catalog that’s stuck to the table from spilled milk.

Let’s take charge, and go play soccer with our kids. Let’s do some gymnastics at the local playground and jump in puddles outside. Do what you love with your kids. For me, I’m never going to be attempting Pinterest-worthy crafts, but I sure can pick up a crayon and color.

And for the times of the day when I do feel like the walls are closing in, I’ll make sure to get out of the house. On good days, it’s for a run, but some days it’s going for a drive with the sole purpose of hitting the Coffee Hut drive-thru. For an extrovert, being a stay-at-home mom can be so hard, so I found a community of moms I call my mama tribe — moms I can text during the day and send memes to, because they get it.

So, let’s do this week together like the glorious domestic goddesses we are. And maybe next time I do laundry, I will not be folding an inappropriate amount of pajamas.

More: 11 things a 2-year-old taught me about life

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