All of my family and friends know that I am a stay at home mom. One of the most common misconceptions about being a stay at home mom is that every day is a vacation. Well, it isn’t. I often hear things like “You’re so lucky”, “I would be happy to trade places with you”, and “If I could stay at home every day I would xyz”.
Now I will be the first to admit that when it comes to things like doctor’s appointments and vacations, the flexibility is awesome. I don’t have to request anyone’s permission to get these things done. I can come and go [pretty much] as I please. However, it feels like I take on more tasks because I don’t leave my house to go to work every day. But trust me, staying at home comes with its challenges as well.
There are no fancy lunch dates or spa days
When most people think about staying home, they think about sleeping in late, watching TV, going out to lunch with their friends, getting their hair and nails done. All this nice fluffy stuff that just doesn’t happen. Not that it never happens, it just doesn’t happen on a regular basis.
There is no nanny for the kids
No nanny for the kids basically means that you are on duty 24/7. If you leave the house, it’s with a tiny person. There is no dropping them off at daycare. You are the daycare. And going to the bathroom becomes a group activity whether you like it or not. When your children reach school age, you do get a break during the day. But typically that’s only if there are no field trips, class parties or PTA events that you need to attend.
I don’t get dressed everyday
I just don’t. If I don’t have to leave my house I do not get dressed for the day. Now my version of getting dressed for the day may be a little different than others. I’m not sitting around the house nude. If I’m not dressed that means I have on a pair of tights and a t-shirt. This may or may not include the presence of a bra, but that’s my business. My point is, I don’t consider myself dressed for the day if I wouldn’t wear it outside the house. And some days, whatever I put on when I got out of the shower is what stays on even if there are holes in it.
I’m not relaxing all day
On school days, I wake up at 6am. On the weekends it’s between 7am and 8am. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to sleep until 9am. After the kids get on the bus, I start working on all these other things to make sure everything is done by the time my family gets back home in the afternoon. In my mind I feel like I have a lot of time. In reality, I need a clone. There’s a saying along the lines of “You have the same 24 hours in a day just as Beyoncé). What that quote leaves out is the billions of dollars that Beyoncé also has to hire the help she needs to accomplish these tasks.
Some days I find myself brushing my teeth several times because I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth or not. Better safe than sorry.
Limited adult interaction
Staying at home also means you don’t have other people to talk to. On occasion, this is nice. After a few weeks, you start talking to yourself just to be able to hear your own voice. We also have a cat, so if she and I cross paths I may say something to her *shrug*. You start to become that person holding up the line at the grocery store while you and the clerk chat it up. As much as you try to avoid it, it will happen. Just embrace the moment and move on.
I say I am going to do things for myself (me time), but it almost never happens
I’m not sure if it’s guilt or what, but I rarely do things for myself. I always seem to find a reason as to why I should be doing something else with my time/money, other than using it to benefit me and only me. Sounds like an attempt to avoid the feeling of selfishness. I’ll have to look into this one, but the concept of “me time” is non-existent.
The gym is a complete joke. I do not exercise. I used to. I used to exercise 5 days a week. But life happened. Having time to go to the gym, have a productive workout, come home to shower and relax, just doesn’t seem as realistic anymore. I have lost a lot of energy just sitting here thinking about the process.
Instead of all these fun imaginary things I think I am going to do with my day, I spend most of my day catering to my family and keeping the house in one piece.
Education is extremely important to me. It is imbedded in my children’s brain that school is the most important aspect of their life right now. Yes, I’m dramatic we should all know this by now. Nevertheless we spend a lot of time focusing on school, grasping an understanding of the concepts and subjects they have learned.
Sports/Extra Curricular Activities After School
One of the rewards we give our children for doing well in school, is being able to participate in whatever activity you want. I know I set myself up for this one, but I do feel like they deserve it so I make it happen. Band, chorus, gymnastics, football, basketball, you name it, it’s somewhere in our schedule. Although this means I run around like a rabid raccoon, the kids enjoy it, so I keep it up.
I feel like this one is self-explanatory. Everyone knows that regardless of how much you clean, there is always something to clean. It’s a never ending cycle. Especially when you have a mother like mine who is borderline OCD when it comes to cleaning, and each generation continues to inherit this trait of a spotless house.
[See description for cleaning] I have a large family. I haven’t seen all of our laundry baskets empty at the same time in years.
It just has to be done. Unless you’re a fast food, take-out kind of momma, then more power to you. Now recently I have found extreme joy in the online ordering system that Walmart now has available. I make my list online, pay for it, then schedule a pick-up time. When I get there, out comes my groceries. All I have to do is get them home and unloaded. Thank you Walmart!
And this is a daily thing. By the time everyone gets showered and into the bed, there is absolutely no thought of doing anything else. Not even TV. I literally want to crawl in bed and sleep for eternity. This actually only turns out to be 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then my alarm goes off and it’s time to start my day again.
There Are No Sick Days
You better believe it sister! When you come down with the flu, a stomach virus, or whatever other germs your children have transferred to you, you are still expected to keep the ship afloat. Women have an internal super strength that emerges when these symptoms strike so you should be fine.
With all that being said, I am good at what I do. I enjoy being able to be home for my family, especially the children. I appreciate the fact that they are able to participate in every single activity their little heart’s desire. I am honored to spend countless hours doing homework and having the time to dedicate to hours of homework because I know that these are things not all parents get to do.
These moments won’t be here forever, and yes I would rather spend my time brainwashing my kids to be extraordinary people than to grudgingly work a 9-5. Staying at home is no fairy tale, there are a lot of sacrifices made to make this life possible. Some days you feel like all your hard work is in vain. Some days you will feel like you have conquered the world. But every day, I get to spend my time and energy with people I love to pieces, and that means more to me than anything else.