Even before I had kids I thought Moms who stayed at home had an ideal set up. All you have to do is prep some food and plan some birthday parties right? I figured the house just stayed clean and smelled nice because what else did you have to do other hang out with your kids? Of course, dinner is going to be ready and laundry will be done. Because again, you’re just home, looking for stuff to do. Right? When I did have kids and also worked, I often asked my friend, who stayed at home, if she could watch mine as well. I appreciated it so much, but honestly never thought it was adding that much extra work for her.
I mean, she’s already there with her kids, her friend’s kid, and a niece on top of it. Obviously, it’s no big deal, she’s home anyways. She even had time to make cute little muffins for the holidays and always had food ready on time. I mean, with all that extra time, of course, she was able to do that. I remember thinking, if I stayed at home and didn’t have to go to work, I would be able to do all that as well. No questions asked. Then it happened. I became a stay-at-home mom.
Man, did all my ignorant theories and assumptions get put to rest in an instant. Ohhhhh, and I certainly felt like a jerk for ever thinking that was an easy task. It was like karma came and slapped a big force of reality in my face. During the first few weeks, I remember feeling a mix of things. I was glad I didn’t have to spend time getting ready and enjoyed the fact I could ease into the morning without having to rush out. I loved hanging out with my kids and knowing we had the whole day ahead of us without having a set agenda. I was thankful. Then the unexpected feelings started creeping in. I started missing social interaction with people my own age.
I became lonely. So lonely. And then the guilt would set in, ohhhhh the guilt. Because why should I feel lonely when I get to hang with my kids all day? The clock would sometimes feel like this nagging pest in slow motion and there were days I couldn’t wait for it to be bedtime, even if I had just woken up. What the heck was my deal? As more time passed, I started wondering how in the world other moms were so good at keeping their house clean with their kids being home all day. You spend so much time cleaning up, then step into the other room for what seems like 10 seconds…and, what the! How is it a disaster again?! During the 7th round of cleaning you hear, “Maaammmmaaaaa, I need help in the bathroom.” And then from the other room, at the very same time. “Mama, I need help right away!” Alright, alright I’ve got this. No biggie. Then after two crisis moments, another round of cleaning and an “If I have to pick these up again, they’re getting donated!” threat, everyone is hungry. Not just hungry, but as if they haven’t eaten in days, hungry. Depending on the day, this could be an easy task. Or it can be a day when everyone gets giant handfuls of animal crackers until you can piece something together fast enough before someone has a full on meltdown.
Do I really have to go to the grocery store again? How the heck did all these other moms do it–with their holiday muffins and on hand, ready to go snack plates?! I could hardly get a decent lunch together but would feel like I accomplished something amazing when I did. Then I would realize I still had the dinner obstacle dancing in front of me that still needed to be figured out. The clock used to hold so much time, but all of a sudden it felt like someone was playing an April Fool’s joke on repeat and always moving the hours ahead. When I did find the energy and a break to get out of the house, I would realize the laundry was still sitting in the washer from yesterday. Rewash… again. Ahhh, sweatpants for the 3rd day in a row, it is! I started feeling like one of those Walmart memes, the really bad ones. I missed the days when I had to get at least somewhat dolled up. But these days, it felt like it was the biggest success to even make it out the door. And when I did make it out, it felt like I was seeing the sun for the first time in ages.
I quickly realized, wow, there’s no such thing as extra time when you’re a stay-at-home mom. You’re lucky to sneak in a shower… and even luckier if it’s an uninterrupted one! The things I appreciated shifted drastically. Anyone else really enjoys a solo car ride as much as I do? It was a wake-up call that you can’t really ease into the morning without an agenda. There is a specific reason why anyone is able to stay home with their kids, have holidays muffins, food ready on time and a clean house. And that is by doing some very strategic planning with their time. That of which I am still figuring out. The amount of admiration I instantly gained for anyone who stays at home with their kids is unexplainable. Even though it is a pretty fantastic setup, it certainly is an around the clock job.