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My experience as a stay at home mom has been filled with ups and downs, but never regrets. My youngest starts Pre-K in September and lately I find myself being nostalgic about our time home together. I have one hand pulling her back to infancy while the other is shoving her out the door. (It really depends on her mood). As I look back on my journey as a stay at home mom, these are some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
1. Not everyone sees the value in you staying home with your children. I have always been ambitious and my circle of friends are the same way. We all went to college and had big dreams of making our mark in the world. When I told them of my decision to stay home, it was like I told them I was joining the circus! Family and friends regularly questioned me as to when I would go back to work. You would think they were providing for my family. I don’t know how many times they asked me what my plans were once the kids were all in school. One person had the cahunas to ask me, ‘you went to school and have two Masters’ degrees, how come you don’t want to work anymore?’ Yes…you read correctly! You would think that me being a stay at home mom meant I was not being a productive member of society and therefore needed a mom-tervention to get my life back on track.
2. People will boldly question you about your spouses’ salary. The minute I tell people I am a stay at home mom, one of the first questions I get is ‘oh, what does your husband do?’ Innocent enough, but then it’s the folks that follow up by asking ‘how much does he make?’ that drives me stir crazy. I know it’s petty, but it bothers me. When I worked outside the home no one cared what he made, why is it important now? Unless you are a financial advisor seeking to help my family improve our finances, why is knowing my husband’s salary any of your business? I’m from the school of thought that you don’t ask people what they make (or what their political affiliation is).
3. There is a wonderful community of stay at home moms online. Thank God! My online mommy friends helped me to keep my sanity. I love my kids, but there were a few rough spots along the way. I have escaped to the bathroom on numerous occasions to have a good cry. One time I didn’t make it to the bathroom and just collapsed in the kitchen in a pool of tears. To add insult to injury, my then two year old mama bear in training took it upon herself to console me. I knew my online mommy friends would understand and validate my feelings, and they did. They didn’t judge me or remind me of how thankful I should be for being able to stay at home with my kids. They supported me and let me know that ‘girl, I’ve been there too and it’s alright.’
4. Sometimes motherhood sucks. There, I said it. I don’t enjoy folding laundry and cleaning up the same room at least five times in one day. I don’t enjoy having to figure out what everyone will eat for each meal every single day. I could pass on some of the awkward playdates I have had to sit through. I could also pass on the numerous stomach bugs and other gross illnesses that my children bring home from school. Thank God my youngest is completely potty trained because cleaning out her potty is an experience I would have been alright not having.
5. Multi-tasking is the manifestation of madness. I have heard people referring to someone who is frantic as ‘running around like a chicken with their heads cut off.’ That is what multi-tasking looks like for me. If that’s not madness, I don’t know what is. When I initially became a stay at home mom, I felt like I had to constantly do things around the house to show my husband that I wasn’t being a slacker while he was at work. I planned out my daughter’s day from the minute she woke up until she went to bed at night. I created a meal menu for the whole month, snacks included. Additionally, I develop a weekly chore schedule to keep me organized. I was determined to stick to my plan. If at the end of the day I wasn’t close to completing my to-do list, I was all over the place trying to make sure I completed every task. After all, what would my husband think if I didn’t wipe the fingerprints off the refrigerator? Madness!
6. My undergarments need to be clean, not coordinated. Before I had children, wearing matching bras and panties were a must. It just looked nice and made me feel sexy. These days I’m lucky if my socks match much less my underwear! All I need is a supportive bra and clean underwear. As for sexy, what’s sexier than your honey coming home to a clean house, a hot meal, and you in clean underwear? (I’m 100% sure my husband disagrees with me on this one!).
The most important lesson I have learned from my experience as a stay at home mom is that the time I get to spend with my children is priceless. Staying home isn’t the right choice for everybody. If I had to do it all over again, would I do it? In the sanitized version of Big from Sex in the City…ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY!
What are some lessons you have learned from parenting your children?