By the time I was sixteen years old, I was a certified workaholic. My life revolved around my fitness and my job. I never saw myself becoming a “Stay At Home Mom”. In fact, truth be told, before I became pregnant with my first son, I was pretty sure I didn’t even want kids.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around having to put aside my career, my education, or my own whims, for a loud, crazy, helpless little human. In fact, it wasn’t until my oldest was three, and I had my second on the way that I decided to really buckle in and try the whole SAHM thing.
Now, having two healthy, happy little boys and a business of my own, I like to look back on the lessons I learned early on in my stay at home mom career;
1. Our work day literally never ends.
Stay at home moms don’t have a nine to five schedule. We don’t get lunch breaks or paid vacations, and we’re lucky if we get a couple sick days during the first five years of our kids lives! Even when the kids are in bed, our day isn’t over. We’ve still got laundry and dishes to do, marker to clean off the walls and missing sippy cups to find. And if we’re done with all that and still not ready to pass out? We’re on call for bad dreams, fallen teddies and ‘a cup of milk’. All. Freaking. Night. Long.
2. We didn’t know it was possible to be this tired.
Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, playing, chasing or fighting with a squirmy toddler about putting his damn shoes on for a five minute trip to the store; stay at home moms are exhausted. I’ve consistently been more worn out after a day at home with my kids, than I ever was working eighteen hour bartending shifts. And that’s saying something.
3. We think we’re in control of our emotions, but we’re not.
If you’ve never sat in the bathroom and cried when your kid refused to nap for the third day in a row, or after dealing with your toddler losing his shit over absolutely nothing for two straight hours… this blog isn’t for you. But the rest of us? Well, stay at home moms are all too aware of what a week with a sick, cranky kid can do to your emotions. And it isn’t pretty.
4. We so appreciate two minutes to pee. Alone.
My two year old is in the early stages of potty training. (Read: My two year old is obsessed with the bathroom.) Not only are my husband and I chasing him out every time he catches sight of the door or hears a word that remotely resembles “potty”, but we also get to have him barge in any time either of us try to ‘take of our business’. That is, he throws open the door in an endearing (and creepy) attempt at narrating exactly what we’re doing in there, or helping us flush the toilet. So, being able to sneak away for a few moments while he’s entertained with a toy, a snack or (ha!) the other parent, literally feels like a Carnival cruise vacation. Only less fun and a lot closer to home.
5. Leaving the house is a blessing. And a curse.
There are many a time where I’ve missed the days of being able to come and go as I please. The days before I became a stay at home mom. I get these perfect daydreams about dressing my kids, going for a nice, leisurely stroll, and even window shopping all over town! These are usually the days when my son has a meltdown because I won’t let him wear his bedtime slippers in the snow, or he wants a blue cup instead of a green one, or his diaper has a panda on it, or any other ridiculous reason he can think up at that moment. By the time he’s ready to go, my enthusiasm has faded and I want a nap.
Oh, and the rare days he’s home with a sitter and I’m free? All my brain does is worry about whether he’s had his nap or if he’s found (and ate) the box of crayons I stashed in his diaper drawer.
6. Kids really do repeat everything.
I’ve never been good at being “lady-like”. Especially when it comes to my language. And like many young moms, it took my kid looking me dead in the eyes and saying “oh shit” before I realized I needed to take it down a notch (or ten). But if you’re like me, the day will come when your kid inevitably drops the f-bomb at grandma’s house, and although you’ll find it freaking hilarious… you’ll also be mortified.
7. Baby wipes are literally good for everything.
Changing diapers, wiping up spills, removing day-old mascara or sticky fingerprints from the sliding glass door…baby wipes are a God send. They say diamonds are a woman’s best friend, but that woman probably isn’t a stay at home mom.
8. There’s nothing sexier than a man holding a baby…cooking…doing dishes…and so on.
Pre-motherhood, chores and parenting probably aren’t things we would equate with attractiveness. But when you’re a stay at home mom and you wake up in a panic, realizing you slept in an hour later than usual, only to catch your man making breakfast and watching cartoons with the kids… well. It almost makes you want to try for another. Almost. Utility trumps aesthetics. Always.
By the time we’ve got the fourth trimester, most stay at home moms have realized that curling irons, acrylics, and lacey blouses are great. But pointless. Enjoy your first few months with your cute, quiet newborn that everyone wants to take turns holding; because next year Its tee shirts and mom-buns, at least six out of seven days a week.
9. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it.
I won’t lie, my youngest started daycare this week. I was lucky enough to find a great program that would take him for fifteen hours a week. Just enough to let me get some work done, and maybe catch lunch with my husband every so often. But the truth is, I mostly miss my babies for those few hours.
I’m tired, stressed, overworked, sore, crazy, and my hair is a mess, but I get to wake up (almost) every morning to hugs, kisses and “hi mommy”s. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Want to know about some more life lessons we can learn from our kids? Check them out here.