Guest Blogger: My Life as a Stay-At-Home Mom
Four years, five months and two days ago, I hit snooze three times, checked my phone for a good morning/good night message from my husband in Indonesia, groggily dragged myself to the shower, then to the Keurig, woke and readied an exuberant toddler for daycare, dressed myself to the 9’s for what would be the last time for longer than I anticipated, checked voicemail, checked email, checked daily audits, check, check, check. For the last time.
I was elated. Florence and The Machine’s “Dogs Days Are Over” jammed across Sirius on my way to work. I took it as a sign. This working mom gig had been so hard, juggling responsibility, quality time and guilt. So with only a small twinge of sadness, I turned in my laptop, hugged my goodbyes, and looked forward to the endless moments of bliss I was sure I would experience, spending all of my days with my children.
I had no idea what was ahead of us.
On any recent morning, you may find me hitting snooze once if I’m lucky, saying an actual face-to-face good morning to my husband (thankfully not at work overseas), and going into mom-mode. On most mornings, I am awakened by my youngest daughter, yelling she needs me for a preciously minor something or other. Then I go about waking up my beloved first-born (already 10 minutes behind schedule) to get her ready for school.
I hurry to put water and coffee into the already-trying-to-brew-without-water-steam-spewing pot, scramble to make breakfast and lunch, agree to changing last night’s preselected outfit, debate appropriate school shoes, and make it to school drop off three minutes shy of the late bell. I then zip back home to get myself and Little Thing dressed for the day’s to-do list. This is not the vision of my daydreams, but I can honestly tell you that this is my bliss.
I vividly remember being only a few weeks into this new stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) gig when the tears of frustration started. I wasn’t working, and yet I could not tackle the remainder of my ginormous Christmas prep list. I wasn’t working and still used daycare for my toddler! My husband lovingly dished out an additional serving of guilt for that one.
How had this Easy Street train derailed in only a few short weeks? I had gone from super organized, tired but functional, working mom to a real...reality.
How was I going to be a success at this?
I met some awesome moms, and I met some other moms, who seemed way too put together and too organized and too good at mom-ing. I felt judged, but in reality, I was the one judging myself.
And, I was the one deciding I wasn’t doing a good enough job. I thought I could tackle this like any challenge: with knowledge. I read articles, blogs, Facebook posts, asked veteran moms for advice, and had my high school roommate, a seasoned and sage mom, on speed dial.
What it actually took was meeting other stay-at-home moms to compare and share war stories in order for me to remember that being a mom is unlike any other “job.”
I found that when someone asked how we were doing, they were way more willing to share their own struggles when I responded with an honest quip about our rough morning. This type of honesty shouldn’t be confused for negativity because it’s being real and truthful – no facades. Being home with young children is the hardest thing I’ve ever been so fortunate and blessed to do; I’ve never known something to be so simultaneously brutal and beautiful. And I would do it all again, without a moment’s hesitation, to hold my life loves in those sweet babies.
Ultimately, we are all out here just trying to do the best we can, repeatedly. I have learned that some days are really good and easy, while other days just need to be logged in the “Mom Fail” column as you fall into bed, knowing that tomorrow is a fresh do-over.
As moms we need to go easy on ourselves. We need to realize that we can do this and that even though every day isn’t perfect, you are always perfect in the eyes of your children. And, after all, we are teaching our kids how to treat others and how to treat themselves. If we are too hard on ourselves, our kids will pick up on that! I have learned one thing with certainty: I’ll take all the brutal days in order to appreciate all the beautiful moments with my babies for as long as I can.
When I first found out I was pregnant, an old friend’s mom shared how this baby would teach me things I could not imagine. At the time, I naively wondered what in the heck she meant, but oh my, I have learned a ton in these first few years.
I view the coming summer with a mix of trepidation and elation. I can’t wait to have my first grader home with us again, and yet I am a little nervous because my girls have so much still to teach me. Thankfully, I am not alone in this journey. I have my mom friends, my husband, and plenty of informative articles being filtered around Facebook.
I hope that in your toughest moments of mommying, you remember to be gentle with yourselves because this is not always easy, but the juice is worth the squeeze. Extra lime in that margarita, please!