I always thought that being a stay-at-home-mom was the easiest job you could ever have. I remember talking to a friend who two had kids and she didn’t work outside the home. Anytime I’d ask how she was doing, she’d say how busy she was. Then she’d go into all the things she was doing with her kids- running them around town, trying to cook her family healthy dinners, helping them with their homework, and then at some point I’d tune out. Thinking to myself, how could she be so busy? She has the life any mom would dream of!
Then after I had my 2nd kid, I decided that going to work full-time and having to pay to put two in daycare just didn’t make sense anymore. Kuddos to those out there that do it. I’m not judging you! It just didn’t work for our family and I wasn’t feeling rewarded enough in my corporate job for it to be worth it for me. So we decided to take our 2 year old at the time out of day care and that I would stay home with our 2 boys.
Never in my life have I had a harder job before. I’ve had some pretty tough jobs. Like when I worked as a counselor in inner city Atlanta. I went into peoples homes and taught parents ways to deal with their child’s behavioral issues while fearing for my safety as I heard gunshots outside. I also worked at a psych hospital where I saw people in full blown psychosis. My job was to convince them to stay in the hospital for a few days so that a doctor could adjust their medication. But first I had to get them past the fact that they thought Jesus was going to come save them from the fires of satan that they felt burning inside of them. Neither of these jobs were as hard as being a stay-at-home-mom.
Being a mom is a hard job period. Whether you work full time outside the home, work part-time, or you’re a full time stay-at-home mom, it’s just hard. I’ve done all 3 and I have to say that now I get why my friend was always so busy and exhausted.
As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes it feels like you wake up in the morning and all you can think about is how much longer it is until your husband comes home from work so you can get some relief. Then you realize that it’s only 10 am. The fact that your kids are already on their second breakfast and their fourteenth fight, makes it feel like the day’s never going to end. The highlight of your day is when you get to see your mom friends at the playground, even though you won’t get to actually complete a sentence in your conversations.
At the end of the day, I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to quit my job and be at home with my boys while they were little. I wouldn’t take that time back for anything and I hope that one day they’ll appreciate it too.
Now that both of my kids are in school full time, I’ve gone back to work part-time. It’s been a good balance for me, because I still get afternoons with my boys and right now I have Fridays off that I can spend doing whatever I want. Usually for me that means going to the gym, running errands, catching up on laundry, and volunteering at my kids’ school. But sometimes I actually do things that help me feel recharged like going to lunch with friends, yoga, spending time writing, or just relaxing doing nothing.
I wouldn’t be able to survive mommy-hood if I didn’t take time to take care of myself and accept help from others. I really struggled with this at first, but I’ve gotten better and now I know that it’s a must. Sometimes it means asking my mom to babysit so my husband and I can have a date night. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting my husband cook dinner (or order pizza) so that I can have a night off.
I have to allow myself a break so that I can be a better mom when I’m back in it. Even if it means letting the laundry pile turn into more of a mountain and the dishes overflow in the sink so that I can go get a massage on my day off.
I hope you find what helps you recharge and that you’ll ask for help when you need it. I also hope that I can give you some tips to make being a mom a little easier. Let me know in the comments what your favorite ways are to take care of yourself or what you’d like to do more often.