Stay At Home Mommy

Hello. My name is Katie, and I have a mild form of agoraphobia. Or at least, that’s my own diagnosis. It culminates in me being afraid to leave the house. Don’t get me wrong, I’m out and about all the time – shopping, taking the kids to daycare, going with the family to the parks. But I am very careful about what I do, where I go and who I’m with.

For weeks now, I’ve been needing to go to the social security office so that I can finally get my name changed after my wedding to Mark. But every time I have the opportunity, I chicken out. The office is about 45 minutes away, and I can’t manage to go that far by myself. It closes before Mark gets off work, so if I ever am going to do it, it has to be on my own.

This month we had to break down and put the kids in daycare. Dash goes full time, Monday through Friday, for about ten hours a day. Dex goes Mondays and Fridays. We felt it necessary for many reasons, not least of which is that neither of them get any interaction with other kids, and as such they are quite needy and insular. I want them to have playmates and be able to enjoy the company of others. It costs a fortune!

Which brings up the question – why don’t I just take them out? We live minutes from Disney World, Sea World and Legoland. We have tons of children’s activities in the area, some free and others cheap. I’m even a member of a mama and baby’s group. There is no shortage of stuff to do. We’ve been invited on hundreds of playdates. But every single time it comes time to do it, I chicken out. I can’t manage by myself.

I can usually do okay if Mark is with us. My fear of crowds fades a little when there’s someone to hide behind. But even that doesn’t last long. We hardly ever go to the Magic Kingdom because it really is an all-day thing, and I can never stand more than a few hours in the hordes of people. Occasionally, if I’ve had plenty of sleep and am feeling strong, I will take Dexter to the local park, letting him play on the playground and run around. Sometimes there are other kids there, and I urge him to play with any of them who show him attention and friendship. But as soon as their parents try and talk to me, I make my excuses and leave.

Most days I stay at home. I don’t leave the house. In the past I have spent weeks without stepping foot outside, though these days I try to force myself to breathe fresh air at least once a day, even if it’s just going to get the mail. It’s exhausting going back and forth between wanting to go out and get things done and feeling like I want to curl up under the covers and never come out.

There are certain people in my life who judge me for this issue, thinking that I’m a bad mother for not taking my kids out more often. I’ve been chastised – “They need interaction and stimulation. They are cooped up too much. They need to be exposed to germs so they can build their immune systems.”  All good points, but ultimately dealt with. We find ways around our own inadequacies. Whether that means that daddy takes them out after work or we have a big family outing at the weekends, they DO get their time. Putting them in daycare is just another way of getting them what they need.

But it’s not good enough for some. Everyone, whether they have their own child or not, seems to have their opinions on what you do wrong as a mother, and they WILL be heard. There are some women I know who are detestable moms. They beat their kids or don’t feed them or scream in their faces. Some of them have lost custody because they are that bad. And still they spout their critiques of everything they perceive me doing wrong.

But the truth is that I am scared. This world is big and scary, and I’ve been exposed to some of the worst of humanity. This summer when the world’s media picked up this blog because of our pink headband incident, we experienced some of the most hostile criticisms ever. No matter what you do, you just can’t please other people, and that kind of sucks.

At the end of the day, I don’t want my issues to become my children’s issues. I want them to know a mom who is outgoing, fun and full of life. I work every day toward that goal, pushing myself past the point of comfort so that they will not grow up with a mother who is too scared to even look out a window.

That big and scary world is also the most beautiful, vibrant, happy place one can know, and I want them to be free to explore every inch of it. I’d like to show it to them.

I’d like to show them everything.

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Katie Reed

Katie Reed

Katie Reed is a 38 year old mom blogger from Salt Lake City, UT. She is married to the man of her dreams and together they have four beautiful boys. Dexter is 9, Daniel is 7, Chester is 5 and Wilder is 2. She writes about living with mental health issues while navigating motherhood. Her blog focuses on tips and tricks for moms, information and parenting news, kid-friendly recipes and crafts. She loves to reflect on the humorous side of parenthood and shares the reality of her life, with a "warts and all" attitude.

28 Responses

  1. You really should take the kids out more often by yourself. With a little practice, you will be able to do it without problems.

  2. You really should take the kids out more often by yourself. With a little practice, you will be able to do it without problems.

  3. My sister in law had the same problem. She was so agoraphobic she couldn’t leave the house forr days and days. Her mum used to go and see her and pull her out the front door and lock it! She would make her run around the block twice before she’d let her back in and she used to take her kids to ice cream twice a week so they would get some time outside. But they were older than yours and my sister in law got better after a few weeks. Feel better hunny!

    1. Oh my gosh, I think I’d curl into a ball if pushed and locked out of my own house! Even if it was my mom doing it! Lol. And mine has been going on for years, so I don’t think it’s something to be got over quickly. But I am working on it. πŸ™‚

  4. My sister in law had the same problem. She was so agoraphobic she couldn’t leave the house forr days and days. Her mum used to go and see her and pull her out the front door and lock it! She would make her run around the block twice before she’d let her back in and she used to take her kids to ice cream twice a week so they would get some time outside. But they were older than yours and my sister in law got better after a few weeks. Feel better hunny!

    1. Oh my gosh, I think I’d curl into a ball if pushed and locked out of my own house! Even if it was my mom doing it! Lol. And mine has been going on for years, so I don’t think it’s something to be got over quickly. But I am working on it. πŸ™‚

  5. Please get some help, I have this issue as well and I let it get so bad that I was having panic attacks. I am now in therapy and working hard so that I can be the mother that I want to be.

    It is so very hard to get help, I know that it is. But you can do it! Your world will open up if you let it, not all at once but you will make it if you try. πŸ™‚

    1. I’m so sorry you’re going through it, too. I have looked for help in the past, and it didn’t go very well, but I am very driven to do better now that I have kids. I think I challenge myself each day, which is good. πŸ™‚

  6. Please get some help, I have this issue as well and I let it get so bad that I was having panic attacks. I am now in therapy and working hard so that I can be the mother that I want to be.

    It is so very hard to get help, I know that it is. But you can do it! Your world will open up if you let it, not all at once but you will make it if you try. πŸ™‚

    1. I’m so sorry you’re going through it, too. I have looked for help in the past, and it didn’t go very well, but I am very driven to do better now that I have kids. I think I challenge myself each day, which is good. πŸ™‚

  7. good for you! i applaud your honesty. i applaud your want for and attempting to better yourself for your children, even if you fail. THAT’S what makes a good mom. one who will put aside their own issues to try and be a better mom for their kids. good for you! πŸ™‚ believe me i understand those who want to criticize and judge. what it comes down to, is most of those people aren’t half the mother you will ever be. try not to let them drag you down into THEIR own insecurities.

  8. good for you! i applaud your honesty. i applaud your want for and attempting to better yourself for your children, even if you fail. THAT’S what makes a good mom. one who will put aside their own issues to try and be a better mom for their kids. good for you! πŸ™‚ believe me i understand those who want to criticize and judge. what it comes down to, is most of those people aren’t half the mother you will ever be. try not to let them drag you down into THEIR own insecurities.

  9. I have the same thing. I also have a two year old who really wants to be out and about. I try every day to get her out of the house even if it’s just to the grocery store or target. Lately we have been trying a local park. It’s really hard on me. I am fine until a bunch of parents show up. Usually they all know each other and their kids have played together multiple times. I always feel like me and my daughter are the outcasts. I’ll usually stay an hour and then make up some excuse to leave. This takes so much out of me. I’ve tried play dates but to be honest, I have nothing in common with most of the moms in my area and it’s so hard to force interaction. I feel anxious every time. Like you, it’s better for me when my husband is around but he works a lot so I’m left to navigate activities on my own. I have no family and no friends here. So. Damn. Hard. But I celebrate the little steps I’ve been making and try not to be so hard on myself. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting my daughter in a school program just to have time around other kids and time away from me but it’s really expensive (I live in a resort town). I guess all parents have challenges that we are trying to overcome for our munchkins.

    1. Exactly the same here. I live in a resort town, too, and I have all the same problems. We are pushing our resources by letting the kids go to daycare, but I do think it is worth it to me at the moment. And it’s hopefully benefiting the kids, too. I don’t think we’ll be able to do it long term, but for now it’s helpful! I really hope that you can keep making little steps and eventually you (and me, too!) will feel better and be more able to get out there. πŸ™‚

  10. I have the same thing. I also have a two year old who really wants to be out and about. I try every day to get her out of the house even if it’s just to the grocery store or target. Lately we have been trying a local park. It’s really hard on me. I am fine until a bunch of parents show up. Usually they all know each other and their kids have played together multiple times. I always feel like me and my daughter are the outcasts. I’ll usually stay an hour and then make up some excuse to leave. This takes so much out of me. I’ve tried play dates but to be honest, I have nothing in common with most of the moms in my area and it’s so hard to force interaction. I feel anxious every time. Like you, it’s better for me when my husband is around but he works a lot so I’m left to navigate activities on my own. I have no family and no friends here. So. Damn. Hard. But I celebrate the little steps I’ve been making and try not to be so hard on myself. I’ve been toying with the idea of putting my daughter in a school program just to have time around other kids and time away from me but it’s really expensive (I live in a resort town). I guess all parents have challenges that we are trying to overcome for our munchkins.

    1. Exactly the same here. I live in a resort town, too, and I have all the same problems. We are pushing our resources by letting the kids go to daycare, but I do think it is worth it to me at the moment. And it’s hopefully benefiting the kids, too. I don’t think we’ll be able to do it long term, but for now it’s helpful! I really hope that you can keep making little steps and eventually you (and me, too!) will feel better and be more able to get out there. πŸ™‚

  11. I just want to give you a big hug.
    It’s obvious that if you could you would.

    Have you tried hypnotherapy? or even a cd with relaxation techniques to play on headphones while your out?

  12. I just want to give you a big hug.
    It’s obvious that if you could you would.

    Have you tried hypnotherapy? or even a cd with relaxation techniques to play on headphones while your out?

  13. I can totally sympathize with this. I am a SAHM of a two and a half year old girl and the idea of going out sometimes fills me with dread. It’s exhausting getting us both ready and out the door and into the car. Then, when we get to our destination-I’m paranoid. I’m always afraid something is going to happen.

    Here is what I have found that helps a bit: Take a friend. When you want to take the kiddos to the park, call up a friend (doesn’t even have to be one with kids) and see if they want to hang out with you for awhile. It gives you someone to talk to that you know and it gets your kids out to play. Also, invite a mom with kids over and let your kids go off and play. You guys can chat and the kids have someone else to play with.

  14. I can totally sympathize with this. I am a SAHM of a two and a half year old girl and the idea of going out sometimes fills me with dread. It’s exhausting getting us both ready and out the door and into the car. Then, when we get to our destination-I’m paranoid. I’m always afraid something is going to happen.

    Here is what I have found that helps a bit: Take a friend. When you want to take the kiddos to the park, call up a friend (doesn’t even have to be one with kids) and see if they want to hang out with you for awhile. It gives you someone to talk to that you know and it gets your kids out to play. Also, invite a mom with kids over and let your kids go off and play. You guys can chat and the kids have someone else to play with.

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Katie Reed [A Mother Thing] is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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