Early on in my motherhood journey, I discovered that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. I enjoyed being with my baby but I also enjoyed working at a job that fostered adult conversation and using my college degrees. I didn’t love missing some of the moments and milestones of my child’s life but I knew that stay home wasn’t best for us.
My kids are now four and (almost) two, and recently, for a period of about a month, I was in between jobs. As the daunting task of staying home loomed before me, I make a conscious effort to be positive. It couldn’t be that bad, could it? We could have outings and play dates and it will be great! I would finally have some time at home to get some of the bigger organizing/cleaning projects done!
Here are some things that I learned about being a stay at home mom when I was home with my boys for a month:
1. Getting dressed is good for body and soul.
If we didn’t get dressed first thing in the morning, we all felt crappy. One perk of being home all day is yoga pants, right? Well, I just felt blah if I didn’t get something on that didn’t have a stain or snot on it. If we all got dressed, we felt a lot better.
2. It’s really hard to get stuff done
I actually couldn’t get those big organizing projects done. My youngest has absolutely no fear and is quite a dare devil. Every.single.time I got into a project, he would fall off something when my back was turned or he would become too quiet and I’d find him playing in the toilet. (Gag) I found it impossible to finish a task.
3. Play dates can go south fast
I figured that I could kill a couple hours of the day at something like that. Nope. There was either a meltdown or another kid who was obnoxious and ruined the fun or it didn’t keep their attention for long. I was left with wondering what to do next. Whether it was the park or an indoor playground, our play time seemed to take a lot less time than I expected. Outings weren’t as fun as I pictured.
4. I need to work on my patience
Patience is more than a virtue. I was told once that patience is not something that you have but it’s something that you do. Turns out, I don’t “do” patience well.
I found myself getting really upset over stupid stuff. I feel bad now when I reflect on those times because I missed an opportunity to teach the boys how to react to irritations in a beneficial way.
5. The days are (really, really) long
Looking back, I should have kept our regular 8pm bedtime for the kids, but I figured that we didn’t have to get up at a certain time so staying up later wouldn’t be a big deal, right? Wrong. The later they stayed up the longer the day felt and they still woke up at the crack of dawn. The 14-hour days at my new “job” wore me out. I was so used to coming home from work and having a break. Now I was already home and the work never ended.
I have to admit, I was mistaken about what it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. My hat is off to those of you who do this JOB on a daily basis. I’m back to work now and I am so happy about that fact. My kids love their “school” and the social interactions they get all day—and so do I! This is what works best for our family, and that’s okay. Hats off to you, stay-at-home moms!
My respect for you now is the size of the laundry pile downstairs that I never got to finish.