I never had dreams of being a stay-at-home mom. I knew I wanted to be a mom and I knew I wanted to be in a financial situation where I had the OPTION to stay at home, but didn't really want the gig. When I was on maternity leave, I yearned to go back to work to be able to talk to adults all day, to have some "me" time, and to get out of my apartment! Not because I loved my job and missed it so tremendously. I didn't. In fact, I hated my job. I just didn't want to stare at these walls all day long and just have it be Groundhog Day all day long.....feed the baby, change the baby, play with the baby, watch the baby sleep, repeat...
I went back to work and then a new feeling crept up on me... working mother's guilt! I'd heard about this from friends. It started with me feeling bad if I wanted to meet a friend after work for dinner or drinks and would miss bedtime or if my husband and I went on a date night without him on the weekends when I already wasn't with him during the week. Then, there was the upset over my husband being the work-from-home parent and knowing more than I did about our son.....his favorite toys, foods, and even new things he learned to do. Then, my husband went back to work and we had a nanny and that really struck a chord with me! It was VERY hard for me which is when I decided I either need to be a stay-at-home mom or my kid was going to be a daycare kid, not a nanny kid.
So, we decided I'd quit my job and stay home with Kane and as I plead my case to Tim, I told him all about how much better it would be if I was home. Our house would ALWAYS be clean. Laundry always done. Dinner cooked and ready upon his return home from work. Cabinets and fridge stocked with groceries. Kane would be so smart from all the crafts and activities we'd do all day. Most of all, with my new found lack of stress, I'd be a ridiculously amazing wife....fit from all the working out I'd do, showered, hair blown out, and super cute every day and of course, stress-free, well-rested Melissa would give her husband way more sex.......I'll pause while you all finish laughing at me!
I've met people that are stay-at-home moms for so many different reasons. Some dream of it and are fortunate enough to have the option to do it. Some have left careers as attorneys, nurses, and executives because their hours were not conducive with parenting the way they wanted to. Others simply didn't make enough money at their jobs to justify the high costs of nannies and daycare and it seemed as though they were just handing their paychecks to the childcare provider. All have one thing in common...they probably start drinking wine before bedtime!
Being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job I've had and I have been in director roles for years. I've never been so disorganized in my life. I'm someone who lived for schedules, order, lists, pre-made plans, but now, I don't know what day of the week it is. I went to see a friend that I've known for roughly 17 years last week and texted her that I'd be late. She told me when I arrived that was the first time she ever can remember me being late to anything. I can't remember the last time I didn't have assistance to pee. Most days he wants to sit on my lap while I go. I barely eat meals because when he's stuck in the highchair, I race around cleaning something that's stuck to my wall or poor dog's fur. My dog cries begging to be walked. I always have mounds of laundry and dishes and don't even get me started on when I shower. I have no idea where my day goes! There are the rare occassions where I think, "Wow, I crushed it at being a wife and mom today!" The errands are done, housework is done, house is sparkling and smells good. We eat a home cooked and healthy meal when Tim gets home from work. Me, the dog, and the baby are all clean and happy and my son didn't scale something and fall off of it that day! The next day, it's like that was a dream and the house is a disaster again. I definitely miss my adult conversation and thank god every day for my mom friends and play dates....especially my mommy bestie who I get to see and talk to several times a day to regain sanity, vent, go on a walk, or just have a cup of coffee with and be like, "Oh, you didn't shave your legs either? Awesome, I'm not alone!"
I miss him racing to the door screeching "Mama!" in delight when I walked in which is now reserved for "Daddy!" when my husband gets home and he no longer needs me (until I have to pee, of course!)
This is hard as hell and stressful and frustrating for sure, but it's so incredibly rewarding to have this time with him while he is a hilarious, curious, ever-changing toddler and I wouldn't change it for anything! Also, I can tell you, I no longer have that guilt about going out without him!!
If anyone wants to share their stories with us about parenting, unique struggles, hilarious tales, or anything else, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to hear from real mamas!