I’ll never forget when another woman asked me, “What do you do all day as a stay-at-home mom?”
People ask me questions about my job all the time, but the tone of this woman’s voice was that of sarcasm, (as if I sit on my ass with my three kids) all day. I’m not sure why being a stay-at-home mom is considered a “luxury,” “easy,” or “insignificant” compared to a “working” mother. Granted, me being a stay-at-home mom since I was 23 is nothing short of the greatest highest blessing ever. Over the years, people have made me feel insecure or inferior about my position as a SAHM, (stay-at-home mom). Until you have lived in a SAHM’s shoes, you have no idea how hard we work. I am not comparing working moms to non-working moms; both jobs are equally as hard. We are all trying our hardest to be the best mothers to our babies and find a balance. A stay-at-home mom’s situation is just different, in many ways. I want to take some time to speak from my heart and shed some light on my personal experience as a SAHM and why we have one of the hardest, but the most rewarding job on Earth.
What do I do all day as a stay-at-home mom? You mean, what DON’T I do! Baby, I do it ALL!
Here is a little example of a typical “work” day for me, (I wrote this in the past, as a stay-at-home mom of three).
I have been up all night, with my sick two-year-old and waking up every few hours to breastfeed five-month-old baby. I am a living zombie and desperately want a break, but my husband has to get up at 6:00 am for practice and I don’t want to bother him. My alarm goes off at 8:00 am, and I have already been up since 7:00 am breastfeeding. I am 100% sleep deprived, but I know if I don’t bring my four-year-old to half-day preschool, I will regret having three kids stay home, especially with one sick.
SAHM Misconception #1: Once my alarm goes off, I simply shut it off and go back to sleep. That’s the luxury of being a stay at home mom and not having any sh*t to do.
Reality: I get myself dressed, I get my four-year-old dressed, I bundle up my sick daughter and my baby and head to preschool.
SAHM Misconception #2: I sit around in my pj’s all day.
Reality: I may look like pure crap, but hey, I’m dressed. I return home, administer medicine, breastfeed my cranky and needy baby, pick up around the house, (while my baby is strapped in a BABYBJÖRN) and then realize I need groceries. Once again, I gather my toddler and my baby and head to the store.
SAHM Misconception #3: I literally sit in the house, all day.
Reality: How is it even possible for me to not leave the house? My family’s world must go round, and I must do things outside of the house, (with my kids in toe) to make that possible. I shop for groceries with both a screaming toddler and baby. I am so out of my mind with embarrassment as people walk by me giving me dirty looks as if I can’t control my kids. I make it to the car and have to stop, whip my boob out and breastfeed my baby in the parking lot, (she’s a cluster feeder). Once we get home, I unload the groceries and once again I have to stop and breastfeed my unsatisfied baby, while my toddler starts acting out because she is dying for my attention. At this point, I just want a nap. That’s all, a simple nap.
SAHM Misconception #4: I take naps all day, every day, whenever I want.
Sometimes, when my kids are sleeping, I do get a minute of shut-eye. But, the entire time I feel guilty because I have so many other things I can be doing. I don’t get a 15-minute breather or a one hour lunch.
Things finally calm down around the house, I look up, and it’s 1:00 pm. Time to get my daughter from preschool. Once again, I drag my kids out of the house and head down to preschool. Do you know how much energy gets sucked out of you when you load car seats and kids in and out of the car 1,000 times? I haven’t fed my toddler lunch, but there isn’t any time, so I give her a cookie.
Finally, we are at home. Time to sit down and relax…. sike! Just kidding, we don’t sit! I am up making lunch for my toddler and STILL trying to clean from the day before. I spend the next two hours holding, rocking, saying “No,” “Share!” “Put that down!” and “Do you want to go to timeout?” Oh, and I manage to eat half of my daughter’s lunch as my own.
SAHM Misconception #5: I have weekly lunch dates with my friends and walk around the mall all day long.
Reality: This is not reality tv, this is real life. If I go to lunch, I have my kids. If I go to the mall, I have my kids. If I go potty, I HAVE MY KIDS! There is not a moment in the day where I don’t have to consider my kids.
My oldest daughter has swimming lessons at 3:00 pm, so here we go again with the loading and unloading of kids. I have to make sure I have everything I need for all kids to make it through her 45-minute lesson. Oh, and for those who want to know, the lesson went TERRIBLE! There was more crying, screaming and chasing than I care to share… and I’m just talking about my daughter’s actions during her lessons.
SAHM Misconception #6: I have nannies to take my kids to their activities.
Reality: (I’ll have you know, today I have a nanny, and I still am very much involved in the pick-ups and drop-offs, as well as watching 95% of my five kids activities).
When I get home, my two youngest are asleep. I am SO tired, I sit my oldest in front of the tv and I lay down on the couch. I can’t entirely fall asleep because I always keep one eye open for sounds from my baby and criminal activity from my oldest.
5:00 pm rolls around, and I am still in between pick-ups, saying “No,” dispersing snacks, doing laundry and entertaining my kids.
6:00 pm. My husband, (my savior) walks in the door from work. I am free! NOT! I start getting dinner together, recapping the day and trying not to lose my sh*t, because I am mentally and physically drained.
7:00 pm. The dinner struggle. The preparation for tomorrow and then the bedtime struggle. The breastfeeding and pumping struggle. The “mommy I want to sleep with you” struggle, (the bedtime struggle is a blog for another time).
Around 9:00 or 10:00 pm, I finally lay my head on my pillow. I have little energy to give to my husband because I’ve given it all to my kids and I feel guilty.
SAHM Misconception #7: I should wake up happy every single day because I don’t have to clock into work.
Reality: It can be lonely being a stay-at-home mom. It brings me the greatest joy, but I often miss having regular everyday interactions with adults. Often, I don’t have anyone to talk to, and that is hard. I just want to vent, have someone to have intellectual conversations with or laugh hysterically at an adult joke. Instead, I have learned fluid baby talk, and my ears have become numb to yelling and the word “mommy.”
Ah, I am finally in bed. Today was not so bad. I close my eyes and drift off to sleep. But oh, the day isn’t over. Two hours later I start my graveyard shift as my baby wakes up every few hours to cluster feed, my toddler coughs all night, and the SAHM cycle begins again.
This is just a glimpse of what I do as a stay-at-home mom. There are days when it is even more chaotic and days when it is a little more calm. But, there is not one day that goes by where I say to myself, “This is a piece of cake,” or “Boy, this was a relaxing day spent in my pj’s.”
Next time someone tells you they are stay at home parent, instead of challenging what they do, stop, think about my blog, and then say “God Bless You.”