Кирилл Рыжов/Fotolia

What Every Overwhelmed Stay-At-Home Mom Wants Pregnant Women To Know

Ad failed to load

I always planned to be a stay-at-home mom, at least while my kids were small. In fact, and if I'm being honest, I worked my ass off so I could be the one my kids can come to for school-, extracurricular activity-, or life-related things. And now that I've been at home with my children for 11 years, I can safely say there are some things every stay-at-home mom wants pregnant women to know. Now, I'm not trying to scare expecting parents. I just want you to know that, even when it's hard, being a stay-at-home parent (if you want to, are able to, or choose to) is worth it.

My first few years as a stay-at-home mom were rough. Going from the free, young, fun-loving gal who held a position at a great company to suddenly pregnant with my partner of only a little over a year was, well, a shock. I wasn't exactly ready to be a mom, or to be the stay-at-home mom I had always planned on being. Life has a way of pushing you in directions you might initially question, though, only to lead you down a path that makes you realize that thing you were terrified of? Yeah, that was the best thing that could've ever happened to you.

After my daughter was born, we spent all our time together. It was a learning process for the both of us and, honestly, it forced me to grow up before I probably would have without her. We struggled for a while — through my postpartum depression, my partner's long work hours, and through me figuring out how to be a mother — but my daughter taught me so much more than I ever expected.

Ad failed to load

Years later, when I had my son, I should've been an old pro at the stay-at-home mom thing. But working from home, getting my daughter to preschool, and generally learning how to be awesome as a mother of two was much more difficult than I could have ever imagined. Having my son threw a major wrench in the system I had become accustomed to. In other words, I had to start all over again as a, now, stay-at-home mother to two.

Still, I figured it out, and now my babies aren't babies anymore. They're (mostly) self-sufficient, independent, little power houses. And despite the difficult days — the ones where they're crying over homework or chores or, really, anything you could think of — being home with them has helped me grow into the woman I am today. With that, here are some things expectant moms, who are considering staying home with the kids, should know:

Ad failed to load

At First, You're Going To Be Overwhelmed


Having a baby is a lot to process. Going from pre-baby life to being a stay-at-home mom? Well, in my opinion, even more so. There's a lot of stereotypes about what a stay-at-home mom actually does all day (in the vein of poking fun at how much "nothing" they do) but I can assure you, those stereotypes are for the birds. Being home while caring for another human being means taking on a dozen roles all at once, and it can feel overwhelming.

After all this time, I still feel as overwhelmed as I did as a brand new parent. That drowning feeling comes and goes in waves, like life itself. Just buckle up, dive in, and know that those phases will pass. They always do.

You Need To Give It Time


It took some time for me to find a routine that worked for my new family. You can listen to all the advice everyone under the sun offers you, but it doesn't mean a thing until you decide how you want to steer your own ship. Sometimes figuring out what works best for you and your children can take weeks, months, and even years. Sometimes, when you figure it out, you'll have to change your plan as your children grow and evolve. Be patient. You'll figure it out. I promise.

Don't Lose Yourself In Motherhood


If there was one piece of advice I wish I would have listened to after I had my daughter, it's this. It's easy to lose yourself in the day-to-day responsibilities of motherhood, especially when you're home all the time. You're whole world becomes about your children because, well, you're their person. It's hard to do, but you have to make it a point to find a balance. Do the things you did before you had children. Or, if you've changed to the point that you no longer enjoy those things, find something new that will fulfill you beyond your role as your child's mom. Who you are as an individual is not solely based on your role as a parent. You are more than your children. You have worth beyond your ability to keep another human being alive.

Ad failed to load

It's OK To Ask For Help


Another word of advice is to swallow your pride and ask for some damn help. As women, we tend to feel the need to do it all, whether it's draining the soul from our bodies or not. I know because, well, I am that person. I have a hard time asking for any help, ever, and the only thing it gets me is more stress. Being home with your kids is about raising your kids. Things like housework, meals, etc., should be shared responsibilities. If you're overwhelmed, ask for help. Seriously.

And yes, I need to take my own advice.

Get Out Of The House


I'm a self-proclaimed hermit. I don't like to leave home and, actually, I wouldn't mind it if I never did. It's unhealthy, though, and I know that. When you're home with the kids all day, every single damn day (especially in the summer), getting out can mean the difference between maintaining sanity or not. And when you don't leave the home? Well, my friend, those days are the longest days of all.

Take Care Of Yourself


Self care should be at the very top of every stay-at-home mom's priority list. I didn't learn this lesson until it was nearly too late. It doesn't matter if it's a hot bath at the end of the day, a run in the morning, coffee with friends, or five minutes of sitting in the car to just breathe. I do all of these things because, if I didn't, I wouldn't be very pleasant. Without a solid you, there's no them. So really: put yourself first.

Ad failed to load

You Don't Have To Do It All (No, Really)


Again with this, because guess what? You don't have to do it all, despite what the media says. Forget expectations. Staying home really means being the one to care for your children. Everything else is extra. Those early days when I almost killed myself trying to do all the things (and do them perfectly), I was miserable. It's not worth it. Focus on the kids. That's it.

Savor The Good Times


When in the midst of motherhood, it's easy to let those little moments of celebration float by without much notice. Don't let them. Listen to your children's laughter; soak in it. Have fun with them. Enjoy your decision to be home. It's not always easy and actually, it can be really, really hard at times. That doesn't mean you can't appreciate the small moments for what they are (or what they mean to your children).

The Days Will Be Gone Before You Know It


Kids grow up way too fast. This is a fact. My kids were babies I rocked to sleep and then I blinked, and now, we talk about life and love and loss. It's really strange to see how much time has passed in the time since being home with them, when, in the moments, I felt as if it moved so slowly. No matter how long some days feel, how little sleep you get, how much crying or yelling or stress there is, it's worth it. It's all worth it.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills