I always knew that when I had babies, I wanted to be home with them. I wanted to be the one who took them to school, make their meals, and witness those little moments I might otherwise miss if I worked outside the home. Of course this decision wasn't an easy one, as we knew finances would (at least initially) suffer. Aside from that, there's also a whole other host of struggles every stay-at-home Mom just understands because, well, we live and breathe it every single day.
With a 10 and 5 year old, I've been home with them all of their lives. I can honestly say, it's not as easy as it looks (does it even look easy?). If anything, it's like working outside the home with a demanding schedule, cranky "associates," and can often be a thankless job. I enjoy being the one my kids come to for things but, at the same time, there's a lot I miss out on, too. Just as working mothers miss out on things stay at home moms may take for granted, it seems the roles of a woman, mother, and provider often overlap, regardless of which path you choose.
Just recently, I've been thinking about everything a typical day involves with being home with my children while, at the same time, wondering why I'm so exhausted all the time. Unlike my partner, who has a full-time job outside the home, I don't get time off or breaks or really any free time outside of my showers! I love my children, and the ability to now work from home to be with them, so I'm sure all you other stay-at-home moms will totally pick up what I'm about to throw down.
Every Day Is The Same
It's so easy to fall into the trap. I go to bed thinking "tomorrow will be different and even easier, maybe." Aside from slight variations in scheduling, everything else is the exact same. While my anxiety disorder loves the repetition, it also gets to be mind-numbing. When every day is the same, there's a definite excitement lacking which can translate into my mood or that of my children. I try to spice it up at times but in the end, it doesn't matter. The next day will go back to more of the same. Do I get a cookie for trying?
Multitasking Is Essential
I can simultaneously cook dinner while answering a homework question and standing on one foot. Yes, I am proud. It's not really a talent, I guess, but if I weren't able to do more than one thing at a time, the day would pass without getting everything done. Our days are full and reliant on me. I've got to find ways to do them, or we fall behind. #pressure
There's Never Enough Time
Again, without multitasking, time runs out. Some days I could begin the to-do list the moment I wake and continue late into the night and still not get finished. Yes, there are times I just shrug it off and start anew the next day. However, if I do this too many times, I'm only making future me more frustrated for not doing what was needed.
Food Battles Are Neverending
Oh. My. Gosh. Every meal is a new battle. While working moms understand this as well, it's a whole other level living it every meal, every day. It's the most exhausting thing ever. Some weeks, I strive to plan and prepare super healthy, family-friendly meals only to have my kids reject all of it. Others, I throw my hands in the air and beg them to eat anything. It's a lot of work to feed little humans and, frankly, it gets old knowing they don't appreciate the effort.
Sleeping In? What's That?
I can't tell you the last time I slept past sunrise. My kids go to bed early and wake early. While it's a schedule that (mostly) works for us, but it'd be cool if every now and then I could get just a pinch more sleep or, at the very least, not be awakened abruptly by my son banging a drum. Mommy's tired, you guys.
No Matter What You Do (Or Don't Do) There's Guilt
Guilt: the eternal struggle of every mom. I worked at a running store last year so I know the struggle from both ends. While I felt guilty leaving my children for work those shifts, it was sometimes the only alone time I'd have during the drive there and home and I liked having a bit of freedom.
In staying home, I feel guilty about not leaving the house more often. There's really no way to win, regardless of staying or leaving and as I've heard, it literally never goes away. Yay!
It's Way More Than Kids
Being a stay-at-home mom isn't only about raising the children. While that's the biggest part, some of my responsibilities include being a cleaning woman, chef, chauffeur, psychologist, nurse, teacher, bank teller, and loads of other titles that get overlooked. It's a lot more than clocking in and out with a lot less perks (aside from cuddly hugs) and though worth it, it can be overwhelming at times.
Alone Time No Longer Exists
I try to enjoy a hot bath every nigh. The key word, of course, being "try." Most of the time, one or both kids bust in to argue about something irrelevant such as what the guy's name is on that one show. Or, my favorite, my youngest comes in, sits down, and waits until I'm finished. Alone time only happens when they're sleeping but by the time they go to bed, I'm too tired to enjoy my alone time!
I love being home with my kids, especially now that I'm fully employed and financially self-sufficient doing it. However, there's no way around saying it's exhausting. I'm drained all the time. Of course it's worth it and they'll be grown someday and I'll look back and wish I'd not spent so much time tired, but for now, I am. I can't help it.
Stay-at-home moms work hard. Working mothers do, too. No doubt about it. I think, just being a mom at all is both rewarding and challenging at the same time. But then again, isn't every great thing in life?