I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly smart person.
I made straight A's in school (well, except for Algebra). I graduated early from college.
I like to learn. I like to read. I like useless information. I like watching biographies. I like taking IQ tests (or any test, really).
But lately I feel like I have nothing to contribute.
As far as having a grown up conversation, that is. I mean, what do I have say?
Jed’s poop was kind of green today.
Adelaide used the self-checkout at the grocery store today.
Sadie learned the word “collinear” today.
Josie figured out how to make paper airplanes today.
I made a bushel’s worth of applesauce today.
Not the greatest topics for a cocktail party (not that I ever go to cocktail parties). I know that I am blessed to have the opportunity to stay home with my children; I know some moms can't or don't choose to, but I love being a stay at home mom. I love being a homeschooling mom. But I kind of feel like I’m getting dumber and dumber. Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who puts the milk in the pantry and the cereal in the refrigerator? Am I the only mom who runs a complete cycle through a completely empty washing machine?
For almost 20 years, I worked either in an office, at a school or in retail. Staying home has been a total identity change for me. I no longer have to get dressed up to go to the office. I don’t have to get dressed, period. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this while I’m wearing my PJs and it’s 4:00 in the afternoon.
I knew that staying home would have different types of challenges and rewards. I was prepared for that. But I’m not sure I was prepared for all the potty talk, the toddler’s constant eating of acorns or the interminable craft projects.
And I don’t think I was really prepared for my own brain turning to mush, or for the judgment I sometimes encounter when I venture into the outside world (outside of my house, that is).
Sometimes there seems to be a public perception of stay at home moms… maybe a subconscious stigma that we are “uneducated” and we “have no drive” or maybe we have a lower IQ.
A lot of times when I meet people and they learn that I am JUST a stay at home mom, they seem to write me off as someone who has nothing to contribute to the conversation. And sometimes, maybe I don’t.
But if I do speak up and I happen to remember some of my “big words,” they are shocked. It’s like they’ve suddenly run across a chicken who can speak French.
Sometimes I feel like I should introduce myself like this: “I’m a stay at home mom now, but I USED to work in merchandising for a Fortune 100 company.”
Has my career change (and yes, I consider myself as a professional mother now) really reduced my IQ?
Do people think that because I’ve chosen to stay home that something must be wrong with me? Or that my brain just isn’t working right anymore?
Maybe it isn’t. Maybe my IQ is lower. But I still want to stay home with my kids – even if it means sacrificing some more of my brain cells for the next few years.
If you aren’t busy, though, perhaps I could I interest you in some intriguing anecdotes about a diaper, some acorns, a plunger and a roll of scotch tape.