Why did no one tell me getting my wish would be this hard?? Seriously, someone should have warned me.
When my dear hubby and I moved this summer, I had to quit my full-time job as a nurse. In these first months settling into our new home in a new state, I have had the privilege of experiencing life as a stay-at-home mom.
I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I had thought of it as the pinnacle of womanhood. Being a wife and a mom is where it’s at–I still believe that. But now I just don’t know why I ever thought being on the “pinnacle” would come so easily and naturally.
I had visions of peaceful mornings spent reading children’s books out loud to my darling toddler boy. I had visions of a cleaner house, healthier meals, and just more productivity in general.
Man, was I ever so wrong.
Keeping one kid alive and happy, and the house looking like it didn’t have a tornado just come through it, is wayyyyyyy harder than I thought. Some days I AM just happy that I kept the kid alive.
Right now there is a pile of laundry that has been on my couch for 2 days. I am so not proud of that. Laundry usually doesn’t live there THAT long. But life happens.
What no one tells you
All the sweet stay-at-home moms in my life (EXCEPT the sweet one that is in Guatemala right now–you know who you are, dear friend) never warned me about what I was wishing upon myself. But, that one friend who warned me is soft-spoken and I am afraid that her gentle words of caution fell on deaf ears at the time.
No one tells you that the days will be long, the tempers short, and the list of tasks endless. The laundry never stops, the dishes never quit coming, and for goodness sakes, everyone is hungry at LEAST 3 times a day. Do they really need to eat so often??
No one tells you that in the midst of household chores and the most essential childcare, you will struggle to find time to do those cute, cuddly things like reading books together that you assumed all stay-at-home moms did.
No one tells you that you will suddenly be invited to play dates, and library storytimes, and ladies’ Bible studies, and so many things that you WANT to do but don’t have TIME to do. It’s so hard to choose to prioritize being at home instead of running here and there every day doing GOOD things that maybe aren’t the BEST things.
No one tells you how hard it will be to choose just a few of these things because you always wanted so badly to do even one of these things when you were working full-time.
No one tells you that while the days are long, they are also short. It’s a paradox of paradoxes that you can only understand when you experience it. You need something different to break up the diaper changes, and the meal times and snack times.
The day feels like it will never be over, yet you struggle to find an extra minute in which to finish the laundry.
You start, I mean…I’ve started to feel like a failure because I am barely getting by with the essentials.
What everyone SHOULD tell you
Everyone, and by “everyone”, I mean other moms who have stayed at home for any length of time, should tell you:
- It is HARD. Being a mom is hard period, but being with your kid(s) 24/7 is even harder. Think of being on duty for a high-stress job without a single break. You are their everything and as much as you love them, you can barely find time for yourself. (Interpret this as you can’t even go to the bathroom alone.)
- Prioritize what activities fit with you and your families’ priorities. All your “free time” that you supposedly have since you are a stay-at-home mom will easily be eaten up by activities outside the home. Best advice I’ve ever received is to choose a few things that fit best into our family’s season of life RIGHT NOW. It’s not realistic to do everything and still have time to be at home to spend quality time with my child and work on my blog.
- You can’t do EVERYTHING. See above! Don’t do every activity and commitment under the sun!! Realize that you won’t be able to cook a gourmet meal every night and the laundry will not always be folded on the same day it was washed. Your husband and kids are your priority, and finding the healthiest balance for you and your family will be the best thing you could have ever done.
- Schedule your time and plan ahead. I’ve found that if I don’t have a plan for the day before it begins, my time gets sucked into a black hole and before I know it, the day is over and I’m left wondering why I didn’t get anything done. It can be something as simple as running through your day hour by hour in your mind, figuring out what you’ll be doing in each hour. You can even get serious and write it down. Either way, this has been a major help to me.
Being a mother is wonderful, draining, exciting, heavy, boring, and enlightening all at the same time. It’s the best job I will ever have. It’s also the hardest job I will ever have.
It’s the most important job of my life–my children will be affected deeply by how well I mother them from day to day. With that in mind, I’m ready to approach it with a steady resolve to be the best I can be.
Admit my failings and correct them.
Accept wise advice.
Take each new day as it comes.
Be structured without being rigid.
Be loving at all times, even when I don’t feel like it.
Are you with me on this motherhood journey? Are you just beginning with young children as I am? Or have you been there, done that, and have some stories/advice/helpful tips to share??