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Before I was a stay at home mom, I thought they had it MADE.
From what I saw in the movies, life as a stay at home mom seemed almost perfect. Yoga classes, athletic clothes every day instead of uncomfortable work attire, you get to make your own schedule, go to play dates, get impromptu coffee with friends, take trips to the mall whenever you choose… I could go on and on with the naive assumptions I had.
The movies made it seem like a real fairy tale, but I personally don’t know any stay at home mothers who think that staying home with their kids is a dream job all of the time.
Being a mom is a wild roller coaster of emotions. I’ve never cried and laughed so much in my life, sometimes both in the same day. Whether you’re a working mom or one that stays home, we all have our individual struggles, but all I can share with you is what I’ve learned about being at home with my kids.
Here are some of the things that no one told me about being a stay at home mom, things that would have been nice to hear beforehand:
1.It’s harder mentally than it is physically. I can lift two babies all day long without a single grunt, but when I have to battle fifteen temper tantrums all before noon I feel like I may go insane. Or just cry. Or maybe hit a wall.
2.Just when you think you’ve got your schedule down, it will change. Someone will start to nap at a different time, or refuse naps altogether, so never get too comfortable with the status quo. Be flexible to change. Life will go smoother if you learn to embrace it.
3.Even when you enforce discipline, your children will still disobey. Forget about your expectations of “how your kid will act”, your child will act out because they aren’t robots. It doesn’t mean that they are brats, it means that they are human. I remember thinking to myself, Omg! He’s acting like a brat! How did this even happen?! when my first child turned two. He’s not a brat, he’s a toddler; welcome to parenting.
4.Resentment is an evil thing and don’t think you’re above it. You may start to look at your husband or anyone else who gets to leave the house and go to work in a different light. It most likely will happen at some point, but just stay focused on why you are choosing to do what you are doing. You’ve got this.
5.You need to find self-worth in something other than your children in order to stay sane. You’ll start to miss being seen. No one sees what I’m doing all day, it really doesn’t matter what I do. These thoughts may make their way into your brain and you don’t want them there. Find a hobby you can do within the walls of your home and make time for it. Make time for you. It may not be what you used to do before kids, but you need something.
6.Check your parenting expectations at the delivery room door. It’s normally a good thing to have expectations and goals for yourself, but forget about that when it comes to being a mother. You can’t control your job (your child) so cut yourself some slack. Do your best every day and be proud of what you were able to accomplish.
7.Be able to laugh at yourself. There is so much power that comes with being able to laugh at your “failed” expectations. Life shouldn’t be taken so seriously, and neither should motherhood.
8.Take it day by day. Soak in TODAY. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by kid drama, house chores, and the relationship with your significant other, but nothing is worth missing out on what is going on today.
9.There will be days when you feel sad. Just like any other job, you will have bad days. I think moms feel like they can’t talk openly about this because it sounds like they are complaining about their kids. It doesn’t mean we dislike our beastly children, we just need adult conversations from time to time that don’t include the words Mickey Mouse, poop, or NO! Call a friend when you need to vent, I bet she’ll be glad you did.
10.If you keep your eyes open you’ll see so much beauty. In between the hours of chaos you’ll experience awesome things that you would have missed out on if you weren’t there. Take note! Be present not only physically but mentally.
11.You get to be your child’s only teacher. You’re home with your child, so make this short amount of time count! Get on the floor and teach them. There is NOTHING more satisfying than that first time your kid recites the ABC’s and you get to say “I did that.” (And maybe we should give some credit to the Mother Goose Club Show on YouTube, but mostly you did it….)
12.Your child will most likely be more attached to their Mama than some of their peers who go to daycare, and that’s OK. They know you, they trust you, you’ve earned that attachment. Don’t let people make you feel bad about that, or tell you that your child is behind socially in any way. I cried hysterically when my mom tried to put me into a mother’s day out class at the age of four. I also was the shy kid in dance class. But now as an adult, I can talk to anyone in a room and be comfortable. I’m pretty sure your child isn’t promised a lifetime of reclusiveness if you don’t put him in school before he’s five. He’ll be just fine.
13.”One day, sooner than you think, you’ll look back and be glad that you did this.” This is something I have been told countless times by mothers with far more experience than I. In the moment of sleep-deprived nights, tantrums and arguments, it seems like this stage of life will last forever. Today they’ll just scream and throw tantrums, but one day you’ll look back on these tiring days and wish you could have them back.
One day, you’ll be glad you did this.
It’s the greatest job there is, and arguably the hardest. Stay strong and stay happy, Mamas! Reach out and talk about your feelings with other moms. Something amazing happens when you no longer feel like you are alone.
And trust me, you’re definitely not alone.
-Until the next time this Redhead rambles.
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Related Post: A Stay at Home Mom: Exposed.
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