In my experience, when someone mentions whatever it is they think a stay-at-home mom is, or does, they're usually wrong. With so many false depictions of this important role, I can almost understand why people don't know any better. My time as a mom choosing to stay at home hasn't been remotely similar to what others imagine it to be and, as a result, I face my fair share of unnecessary criticism. As a result, I think there are more than a few things all stay-at-home moms should say to the haters. You know, just so it's crystal clear how much work is actually involved in raising our children.
If I'm being honest, I must admit that part of the reason why I made the choice to be home with my kids was due to my experiences as a child. The other part, however, was due to my innate desire to be the main person responsible for my babies. I had aspirations and dreams that I never stopped pursuing, to be sure, but through the earlier years of motherhood I was committed to the stay-at-home position, no matter what anyone else wanted me to do.
With all that said, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I made the choice to be home with my kids. I left a nice job with good pay, assuming that staying home with my newborn baby would be the "easier" option when compared to a full-time job. Knowing what I know now, however, has made it painfully obvious that I was just like everyone else, believing in the falsehoods of what the media portrays as a "stay-at-home-mom," instead of the reality.
"I'm Not Sitting On My Butt All Day"
Despite what jokes have been made on a stay-at-home mother's behalf, I guarantee the only time any of us sit is to feed a hungry baby (or it lasts literally a second before someone needs something). There's no relaxing or marathon Netflix binging or cupcake eating, because I'm running around like crazy and the TV is always on Nickelodeon, and, if anything, I'm eating my kids' disgustingly cold leftovers.
"I'm Not 'One A Vacation'"
While I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to walk freely in my stretchy pants in the comfort of my home, it's very much the opposite of a vacation. There's dishes, laundry, meals, errands, playing with my kids, taking them wherever they need to be, school events and, well, should I go on?
"Being Home Is Very Much Like Holding Down A Job"
There's a lot of responsibility that comes with being the one home with your kids at all hours of the day and night. Keeping them alive tops the list which, by the way, is harder than it sounds. Every morning we have a schedule with things that need completed, just as I might at an outside job.
(Though, if you calculate all the whining, screaming, tantrums, and bargaining, there's really no other job like it.)
"Sometimes I Don't Get Everything Done, But That's OK"
Believe it or not, there's more to staying home with the kids than housework. Actually, as much as I try to prioritize, some days it's impossible to get all the things done and spend time with my babies. I get that it seems like I have all the time in the world, but here's a reality check for the haters:
From the moment I wake up, to the time I close my eyes at night, I can account for every minute, and none of them are relaxed.
"I Do Not Get To 'Sleep In'"
Sleep? What's that? I love when others assume that because I'm home every single day, I don't have to get up before the un comes up. My kids are the earliest risers on the planet. The last time I slept in was before their births. So, no, haters, being a stay-at-home mom means we get less sleep than most.
Don't even get me started on how they find me — not their dad — when they wake, repeatedly, through the night.
"My 'Free' Time Is Minimal"
Over the years, I've learned how to carve out little parts of the day for myself, usually by hiding in the bathroom while pretending to shower/use the bathroom, or doing various nonsense chores that force me to move from room to quiet room.
"Me Staying Home Doesn't Mean We're Rich"
In choosing to stay home, finances have always been tighter than usual. Regardless, however, my husband and I sacrifice when needed so I'm able to. Since picking up freelance work-from-home, I'm able to contribute and be the mom I want to be. In assuming I'm only here because we "can afford it," isn't fair. If anything, we can't afford for me to leave for work, because we've tried that and childcare and gas cost more than what I was being paid.
"I Don't Have Time To Be Bored"
I love when people ask if being home is boring. My response is, while trying not to laugh, a firm "not at all." No matter how much I plan or schedule, all the slight variations presented to me during any given day can change the course of a schedule I had (carefully, mind you) created. In other words, no two days are exactly the same. My kids make life at home interesting. Boring? Yeah, sometimes I wish it would be.
"No, I Don't 'Enjoy Every Minute'"
Those haters who remind me how quickly the time goes have no idea how long each day with my two kids feels at times. Of course I'm grateful to be here, but that doesn't mean I have to devote every second to them. Actually, they're better off when I don't. Being home, to me, means being the mother they need, while still finding ways to fulfill my own needs while working from home. Is it easy? No. But what good things in life are?