The stay-at-home mom isolation is real

I dragged myself out once a week to the new moms group I’d signed up for, and that seemed like enough.

The stay-at-home mom isolation is real

By: Hannah Nersasian

When you're pregnant, aside from being asked 10,000 times a day if you know the gender and when your due date is, people like to tell you about All the Joy. You are about to experience the best days of your life, and you better be ready.

A few will also tell you in hushed tones about loneliness and isolation. They will ask with a hint of concern whether you have playgroups to go to or friends with new babies. I listened, I heard, I signed up for groups, I made promises with pregnant friends that we would hang out. I decided I wouldn't feel isolated. I'd get out and do things. We'd have adventures, my son and me.


What I hadn't accounted for was the tiredness.

Because I'd never really experienced tiredness before. Sure, I'd pulled all nighters in college, but these had been followed by entire days binge-watching 24 and then 14 hours in bed. I'd traveled and experienced jet lag and had to do taxing things like visit Japanese temples and eat sushi while not having slept for 36 hours. But then I took sleeping tablets and imposed 12 hours of sleep upon myself. What I'd thought was tiredness and what I experienced postpartum were two entirely different animals.

After delivery—after being induced and awake for 48 hours—they handed us our son and left. The baby slept, my husband slept. I didn't sleep. My body was spent, but my mind was racing. Sleeping seemed irresponsible. What if he forgot to breathe and I wasn't awake to remind him? This continued for a couple of days, and by the time my brain was ready to sleep, my son wasn't.

So, we stayed home.

In the beginning we stayed home because I was too tired to do anything else. And because I didn't bother putting a shirt on since breastfeeding while clothed seemed like some sort of witchcraft. I dragged myself out once a week to the new moms group I'd signed up for, and that seemed like enough.

Then, just like that, we were able to go out.

Gradually, I started to get more sleep. I started to be able to complete sentences again, to wear clothes. Occasionally I even took a shower. Nap schedules were laughable (he slept when he wanted to) but this meant there was nothing stopping us from going out. Aside from the herculean effort of planning and packing and taking the car seat out to the car. I got more confident and even felt a little superior to the moms I knew who stayed home for nap times.

We were free. No isolation for us.

Then his routine kept us home again.

And then a routine started to emerge. He started to nap more predictably and not nap the rest of the time. There started to be just two hours in the day when he wasn't in need of something from me, where I could stand up without him screaming for me to get back down to his level. Nap time became sacred—of course we were going to stay home for it. To squander those two precious hours of silence and alone time on driving to a friend's house or to a child-friendly museum he wouldn't really enjoy seemed ridiculous.

Nap time was also slap-bang in the middle of the day. So, too dangerous to go out in the morning: He might fall asleep on the way home and scupper his actual nap. Couldn't go too far in the afternoon—he'd be cranky later on and we might get stuck in traffic. Maybe twice a week caution could be thrown to the wind, and he could sleep in the car on the way to somewhere fun. But then that's a whole day without any time out, and the exhaustion levels would creep back up, weighing me down and keeping us home.

I'm a true SAHM.

Suddenly, I realized why we are called stay-at-home moms. Because we stay at home. At the very best, we cautiously orbit our homes, keeping them in reach. Two hours is the maximum length of a play date. One hour the maximum length of a car ride. If you have swimming lessons planned for 3:30 pm on a Wednesday, there's no point in doing anything else.

Once you're up and dressed and breakfasted, you're in sight of nap time, and then it's lunch, and then it's swimming, and your day is reduced to a 30-minute appointment five minutes away from home.

Is this what they meant?

I'm not sure if this is what people meant when they spoke of isolation. If so, I never realized the isolation would be self-imposed. That home would become the haven where tantrums and whines could happen without an audience. Where snacks don't need to be thought out and packed up. And where diaper changes don't involve public bathrooms. I never thought I would be the one keeping myself home—both resenting it and needing it all at the same time.

If I've learned anything this first year of motherhood, it's that the second you get used to something, it changes. So I know it won't always be this way. Too soon, naps will be a fond memory and the leash that keeps us tethered to home will get longer, our windows of time increasing. For now, though, I tell people I'm a stay-at-home mom, and I mean exactly that.

This article was originally posted on the Boston Moms Blog.

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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