So I apologize in advance for this blog post...It's likely riding on the heels of a rough night last night. Our girls are generally pretty awesome sleepers. (Major props to you parents out there who have kiddos with sleep troubles!!) Last night the two big girls had a revolving door of issues & needs between midnight and dawn. Unfortunately, I hadn't gone to bed before these issues started sooo it made for a long (and mostly sleepless) night. Aaron and I tag-teamed the craziness and we had to just laugh at one point as we were moving one girl back upstairs from our bed after the other girl realized she was missing...songs, tears, water cups, wash/rinse/repeat etc. Again, major kudos to parents of young kiddos with sleep issues. Wowzas!!
This isn't a post to discuss the stay-at-home mom vs. working mom. I wish there was less division between moms in general! The struggle is real-- we are ALL trying to do what is best for our babies! I was a working mom for a whopping 3 months with my first and that was (more than) enough time for me to see that it just wasn't for me. Working moms are my heroes, seriously. But that's not what this is about. This is just an encouragement for my fellow stay-at-home mamas who may or may not feel me on these points. This has been on my heart for some time, and I just want to get it out in words. This isn't the be all/end all to being a stay-at-home mom. I could likely write a post 5x in length & besides that, I am no expert! Certainly, things like this have been written about, blogged about, discussed before...but this is just from my little corner of the world. :-) It is written out of love & again meant for encouragement mostly to other mamas out there going through the daily grind from home!! Or for anyone wondering...
So this morning, we were in Poo Purgatory around here and after working through THAT fun, I loaded up the girlies and headed to Target to get a slue of things (mostly related to said Poo Purgatory). While there, an elderly woman was making small talk with with me. She meant no harm, and one of the things she said was this: "You are so lucky that you get to stay home and you don't work." I, of course, responded normally and kindly, and this post is NOT a result of that comment to me, but just sort of the tip of the ice burg to some things I've been feeling lately. And so I write for my fellow stay-at-home mamas, in case you've ever felt this way, too....
Three truths (for me!) to the stay-at-home mom gig
1. Being a stay-at-home mom actually IS work. Unless you are someone with a disposable income, live-in nanny, personal chef, housekeeper, etc, you actually ARE working every day. Sometimes I get the impression that people feel like stay-at-home moms lay around sipping coffee and watching daytime TV, and I can assure you that is not the case! Little people have endless needs, and actually demand your time, attention, and care 100% of the time. Even if you have figured out a way to have built in down time in your day, you are still working....getting little people back in their napping space, negotiating, refereeing, playing, teaching, guiding, doing housework, meal prepping, paying bills, laundry, or whatever...:-D Chances are pretty good that you aren't sitting around twiddling your thumbs wondering what on earth you will do next.
2. Your co-workers are emotional, irrational, demanding little humans who you simultaneously love with all your heart and despise at the same time. If you are someone working outside the home, chances are, you are working with fully developed, grown, rational adults. You may not LIKE everyone you work with, but you likely have a few people with whom you can relate and have adult interactions and conversations with throughout your day. Staying at home with the kiddos you birthed is AMAZING...seriously, incredible. And completely emotionally & physically exhausting at the same time. And if you are home with more than one kid, it's like you have a herd of crazy little people following you around and observing your every move. You go to the bathroom with an (encouraging & excited) audience, you are covered in bodily functions... most of which are not your own and the people you interact with all day long are just, well...crazy!! :-P If you get the opportunity to interact with adults during the day, your interactions are limited, and you crave time to express yourself intellectually.
3. Every day is the same. I'm sure this one will get interpreted the wrong way. Sure, weekends are different. My husband is home and we do life together. Most evenings, he is also home for the majority of it, and is very helpful with our kids. (P.S. I'm not lucky for this fact...he's that way, because he wants to be involved in our kids' lives. Turns out I wouldn't have married him if I got the impression he was going to be an un-involved father. A favorite blog post on this topic is here, but I digress...) Holidays are spent with family and vacations are time away from the daily grind. But if you work from home (be that as a stay at home parent or in conjunction with something else!) your work is your home and your home is your work. So when you are "off", you are still at work. In the evenings, you are still at work. On the weekends, you are still at work. There is no separation or change of scenery!! So unless (and until) you are away from your home and someone has your kiddos, you aren't really off...you can't really check out. (Again ,working mamas-- I know you go from the daily grind of life at work to the daily grind of life at home and have VERY LITTLE/NO down time...I'm not disputing that fact at all! Simply stating that as a stay at home parent, there's very little difference to the days!) They are all blurred mundanely & wonderfully together.
This is what I have always wanted. I have always loved kids. I have always babysat and adored little ones. I've known, for as long as I can remember, that I have wanted to be a mom--to many! I would trade this life for nothing. I would not want to be doing anything else with my time right now. I can't stress these things enough. Because they are 100% the truth. And yet, I feel like the stay-at-home mom gig is under-appreciated, misunderstood, and simply a lost part of our society today. I would love if every mom (or parent!) chose to do this for a portion of their child's early years because it goes so flipping fast. And it is so worth it. So crazy....draining, difficult. But so worth it.
That is all. :)