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Things No One Told Me About Being a Stay At Home Mom

stay-at-home-mom

I want to preface this list by saying that, of course, having a child is a blessing and being home with him is an amazing opportunity. However, that doesn’t make it easy or enjoyable all the time. So many women told me how incredible it is to be home with their children every day (and it is, sometimes), but no one shared with me how hard it can get. So here it is: my cold hard truth about stay at home mommyhood.

Things No One Told Me About Being a Stay At Home Mother

1.)    Being a stay at home mother is sometimes like being sentenced to a prison in which personal space is nonexistent. A little 16 month old ball and chain follows me from room to room, begging and whining for my attention every single moment. I love spending time with him, but every few hours I am naturally craving a break.

2.)    Parenting has so many joyful moments and exciting events. However, when you stay home with your child all day and you get up with them at night, it sometimes feels like a never ending shift at an exhausting job working for the most demanding boss you can ever imagine.

3.)    For the very short time that I actually sleep at night, I dream about what it’s like to get more than five or six hours of sleep.

4.)    After being a stay at home mother for almost a year, just about every item of clothing that I own is now stained in some way.

5.)    You can read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” or you can save your time and just accept that you will literally NEVER know what to expect when it comes to the challenges of parenting.

6.)    As a stay at home mother, I can easily go more than two weeks without ever being alone. I haven’t spent a full day without my child in more than six months.

7.)    My husband counts the hours until he can come home from work and spend time with our son and I count the hours until the baby’s in bed so that I can relax.

8.)    The only other person I have to interact with most of the time is a baby who can only say about 15 words. And so developed my social media addiction. Being able to connect with other parents when things feel out of control has kept me sane.

9.)    If I take my eyes off my 16 month old for more than the blink of an eye, I usually find him eating dog food or playing in the toilet. Yesterday, he opened the back door and walked out in the 25 seconds that I was on the toilet. Ridiculous, right? Being on such high alert all day and all night is the most mentally exhausting task I have ever endured in life. And I do it on very little sleep, nonetheless.

10.) I dream about having a full time job every day because doing anything else for 40 hours a week has to be easier than dealing with a teething toddler all day.

11.) At night, I spend about fifteen minutes clearing the dinner table and scrubbing a massive pile of dirty dishes. I bleach the counters and wipe down the stove. I empty the trash and sterilize the baby’s bottles. And honestly, it might be the most relaxing fifteen minutes of my day simply because it doesn’t involve chasing children, wiping asses, or dealing with tantrums.

12.) Even though I chose to be at home with my child, it’s still ok for me to miss my career and to daydream about going back to work someday soon.

13.) After a really long night when the baby’s been up several times and he’s overtired and throwing tantrums at 7:00am, I’m jealous when my husband leaves for work.

14.) I mentioned that I was a stay at home mom in a conversation with another woman one day. She commented on how amazingly clean my house must be since I’m home all day to keep up on it. FYI – I spend my day chasing a toddler who is usually trashing my house, so no, it’s not amazingly clean around here.

15.) Nap time is the only little break in my day and I will literally do anything and everything necessary to ensure my son stays asleep. Seriously, ring my doorbell between 12:00pm and 2:00pm at your own risk. Just saying.

I know many years from now I will look back and treasure the time I spent with my son. In the mean time, I’m going to take it day by day and try not to completely lose my stay at home mommy mind.

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this Caitlin! Check out Care.com’s article about stay at home moms: http://www.care.com/child-care-9-things-never-to-say-to-a-stay-at-home-mom-p1017-q17007434.html

  2. your honesty is refreshing!! I can relate 100%. Looking forward to reading more.

  3. Kristen says:

    Great honesty. I always say being a stay at home mom is like being in the military. Two minutes to eat, two minutes to shower, two minutes to go to the bathroom and definitely very little sleep….and all with someone yelling at you!! 🙂 Look forward to reading more.

  4. I just googled ” being a stay at home mom is hard” and this popped up. Thank you for the honesty. Most of my mommy friends still work and I don’t dare complain to them lest I get a guilt trip.
    Ive been home for almost a year now. I have a 6 week old who nurses every two hours and a jealous four year old who is acting out due to the recent decline in attention. I needed to know I’m not the only one who struggles sometimes.

    • Brandy – That sounds so tough. It’s been about a year for me as well. It’s very difficult to adjust from being a full time professional to a full time mother. That’s actually why I began blogging in the first place. I just needed to vent and felt as though no one else could possibly be feeling the same way! Turns out, there’s tons of mothers who are going through the same challenges. Hang in there – it might not get easier, but we’ll get better at it 🙂 You should check out the website http://www.daydrinkinganddiaperchanging.com/ and join the Facebook group. It’s an amazing group of hilarious and supportive women – a nice private place to vent and get advice. Thanks for commenting and I hope you enjoy my blog!

    • I googled the same thing !! Lol I felt like I was all alone and trapped at home and reading this made me feel 1000x bette knowing I’m not alone. I thought I was a bad mother for thinking this way turns out, its just normal.

  5. I love this! Been a sahm for 8 yrs now! Have 2 Out of 3 full time in school now with my 3yr old toddler starting Pre-K next year!! The day dreaming never stops..lol. But I do love those wet sticky kisses..and my Lil Drill Sgt keeping me on my toes. Best of luck to my fellow sahm!! 🙂

  6. I been a stay at home mon since my son been born and he is now 19 months. I soo miss going to work. I love my son dearly but I just need a break from all th ed crying and whining. It litterally gets to me. My son is spoiled by his dad. So when his dad is at work I’m stuck with a spoiled baby lol. I just stay prayed up…

    • It’s so hard, right??? Lots of prayers is a good idea. Lots of wine, too 🙂

      • Thanks Caitlin! I have no one who understands the life of a stay at home mom. All I get is “you’re lucky” from others. I don’t want Anyone judging me so I don’t talk about it. I am also getting my Masters degree online, so I rarely get to just sit down without thinking about the pile of dishes, laundry, or schoolwork.

        • This was hard for me to post because I knew some people were going to judge me for feeling this way, but it’s so tough to be home with kids all the time! Good for you for getting your Master’s!!! What are you studying??? I can’t imagine trying to do that while taking care of babies. I just started working PT a few weeks ago, and it’s definitely a WHOLE new set of challenges, but I am so happy to be doing something that I love. Plus, I think daycare has been such a great social experience for my son.

  7. Thanks for sharing!! I have been staying at home for almost two years with my step sons( twins) 7, their half brother who is three and my own daughter who is nine months. I cant remember the last time I did anything exciting by myself or with a friend and I have been beating myself up because I can’t seem to do everything that needs to be done around the house, invest time in my kids and all their extra activities!!! I’m only twenty one and all my friends are partying at college. So basically there was no one to reach out to on a day when I thought I was gonna loose it! Thank you thank you thank you for reminding me I’m not alone!!!

  8. When moms are honest with each other, so much comfort can be provided. I agree with it just being a mentally exhausting task to deal with small children all day. I have two toddlers and a very supportive husband but i want to add that sometimes extended family can make your choice harder. My family is constantly asking why I won’t work, implying I’m just lazy. I homeschool and cook three meals a day and clean, but anytime we say we don’t have the money for vacations, parties, etc they say it’s because of our poor choice as a family. I never expected this from people!

  9. Laura Freeman says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve just put this on my Facebook because I think it’s great! I knew I wasn’t alone!

  10. Omw! I nearly cried when I read this! It is 100% how I feel right now!

  11. Thanks for posting this…I really needed this today!!

  12. I have been a SAHM for EIGHT YEARS! It was always my dream to stay home with my kids until all three of them were in full-day school, and luckily my husband and I have been able to work that out financially….but seriously, eight years living “outside the world” is a reeeeaaaaaallly long time! haha The only comfort I can offer you is that it does get easier once they get a little older 🙂 Being home with my four year old is not nearly as exhausting as it was being home when I had a four year old, a two year old and a baby! The number one thing that saved my sanity was joining a playgroup six years ago. I made some lifelong friends (and so did my children!) and it gave me a change to talk with actual, human adults during the day! And bonus – my girlfriends and I have been taking an annual kid-free “mom’s weekend away” once a year for the past four years and it has been bliss! I highly recommend it!

  13. Just knowing you’re not alone is helpful and can give you that extra kick you need.

    Thanks for sharing and being brave and honest. It took one courageous act from you Caitlan and all us Mommy’s can smile and breath a sigh of relief… “yes i’m not alone, i’m not lazy, i’m a normal Mommy, in a fast paced modern world” Hurray!!

    Praying for all Mommy’s and to also say, our tears are not in vain.

  14. I have to say, I love reading all of the comments that I’ve received on this post. You all are amazing mothers! I wrote this after a particularly tough week. Honestly, I was nervous to post it. I figured I’d receive some negative feedback, since most people assume it’s a blessing to be able to stay home with your children. Amazingly, I find that most of you agree with how I was feeling at the time. I only received one negative e-mail, from a stay-at-home-father, ironically. To update you on my situation, I’ve actually returned to working full time since I wrote this post. It’s not really for the financial reasons, considering the cost of daycare negates the income that I’m bringing home. However, I felt like I was beginning to miss my career and resent the fact that I wasn’t working, after working so hard to achieve my teaching certifications. All of the mothers that survive staying at home are amazing to me – I tried my very best, but in the end, I went back to work, for now 🙂 Thank for you for judgement-free positive comments and thank you for reading and sharing my thoughts. – Cait, The Honest Mommy

  15. As much as we love those little turds, staying home all day is such a challenge. I completely feel where you are coming from. I wrote a post a while back about why I’m not cut out to be a stay at home mom. http://cassidi-thejjproject.blogspot.com/2013/02/bitty-bitty-bitty-i-asked-jj-what-to.html

  16. Your words are so true! I’ve now been home for 5 years. I went from working full time to now putting in 13-14 hour days at home! I do consider it a blessing that I am able to be home with my two boys, but some days are very challenging. My husband leaves early and works late and a 13-14 hour day for me with two little ones can sometimes be too much. Sometimes I feel like everyday is “Groundhog Day” with the monotony of the days. I also feel that I don’t ever get to sit down and by bedtime, I feel like I am out of patience. When people ask me what I miss most about my job, I always say “talking with the people I worked with.” Moms who don’t stay at home can’t seem to relate to the need to have adult conversation. They always say, ” we’ll, don’t you talk to your boys all day. “. Talking with toddlers all day is not that same as talking to an adult. I love my boys dearly, and I know that eventually they will both be in school, but for now, I have to just ” keep on, keeping on” because I have two little ones that count on me everyday and I can’t let them down.

  17. It was so nice to read this. I have a graduate degree and HAD a great career, I choose to stay at home with my children but I can so relate to Every. Single. Word. And I can totally relate to the ‘Groundhog Day’ comment.

    When my husband complains about traffic — I envy the time he gets to spend alone, in his car, with his thoughts or favorite music or having a phone conversation that he doesn’t have to race through because the baby is whining or screaming inches away from the phone, clawing at your arms or legs to be picked up (because you’re suddenly doing something that isn’t about them).

    When my husband complains about office politics (which is rare because he works with fun people that are always doing fun stuff outside of work that I am invited to, but whose going to watch the kids?) — I envy all the adult interaction and conversation. I miss the responsibilities of a career and use of my education.

    I just want the uninterrupted sleep I used to take for granted. A shower where I’m not so tired it takes me 5 minutes to even start washing myself. Normal clothes that don’t make me feel like I’ve given up (because I haven’t, but who has time to shop and iron?). Even a smidgen of my old social life. I feel like even if I get the free time, I’ll use it to sleep or clean. I miss not having to get up at 8am to be somewhere by noon.

    I also feel like stay-at-home moms are not allowed to complain because, geez, “you’re at home all day, you don’t have to work” & also you must not love your children if you don’t want them around you every waking minute of every day, how awful. F whoever came up with that completely and utterly incorrect train of thought. I work harder at home than I ever did in middle-management at a Fortune 50 company (50, not 500) and I used to think those hours were so long.

    I used to think that maybe if I hadn’t had a career or wasn’t educated, maybe I would be more content. Not so, no matter what your socio-economic status, the day to day grind of being a stay-at-home mom is the same. I googled ‘stay-at-home-mom prison’ and this came up.

    Thank you so, so much for sharing this. A thank you to the commenters as well, its nice to know your normal human condition response to (lets be honest) a form of indentured servitude is okay. Nice to know Its okay to still want to use the bathroom by myself and feel like a person occasionally.

    Thank you 🙂

  18. I feel the same way. I’m so happy you all agree. I feel bad to complain but my toddler is mom mom mom mom mom every secomd. Or rite behind me talking.yelling.playing at my feet. I love her and am lucky to be home with her but my bf working so much and I’m stuck home all the time is so hard. I worked my whole life till now, never thoughtid miss work.justto be around adults or hear no whinning or cleaning. Thanks for this post. Am

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for all your posts. i googled “challenges of a stay home mom” because i am thinking of becoming one after working for over 10 years. I know i have longed to be home with our 2 daughters, but i imagined there were challenges to adjust to. I keep telling myself that every choice has consequences. I wont choose sahm because it is easier but the responsibility of motherhood. i have had nunnies take care of our kids all this time, why not me? they are my kids. I just wanted to be prepared in advance.
    Liz

  20. I’m not a stay at home mom, but I have 3 children 5 and under, work full time as a pediatric OT, and am also working on my doctorate!! Even though I’m married, as a mom I still do 99.5% of the duties caring for the kids. I think people really don’t understand the true “job” of a mom. We are non-stop!! And if a child stays home, would it not be similar to daycare?? Workers at daycares don’t clean all day or rest, so why would someone think that a stay at home mom would get so much free-time?? Some people have no clue!!

  21. Thank you for this! I have a 5 month old and a 3.5 year old. I’ve been at home with them since my first was born. I was nodding in agreement to everything you listed. Kuddos to us SAHMs, it’s hard work!

  22. Ogechi ngemegwai says:

    Nice one. Coming from a once very busy career mum.
    Am planning one too for about one year. I need all the encouragement in the world. It will be very challenging after being a busy banker for 14 years.

  23. THANK YOU! your post made my day!
    i almost jump from third floor of our flat! figuratively.
    my 13m son is sooo neediness! i am a SAHM since married. yeah i never work and i thought being sahm is wonderful (yes it is. but..there’re always but)
    i try to find new hobby. crochet, painting, crafting, cooking. but my son keep chasing me eachtime i start.
    and it’s more stressful that i dont have any friend..close friend to talk since he born.
    poor me, i am a nerveos person and dont know what to talk with new people >.<
    oohh i miss having friend!!
    anyway thankyou so much for accompany me through words 🙂

  24. Well said, just wish my husband understood, he thinks the only reason I don’t do ‘fun stuff’ during the day is because of bad time management! If only he would believe me when I tell him his much little time I actually have!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] the time when I was staying at home with my son, I wrote a post called “Things No One Told Me About Being a Stay at Home Mom.” It was a weird time for me. I was adjusting to motherhood in general and getting used to the fact […]

  2. […] the time when I was staying at home with my son, I wrote a post called “Things No One Told Me About Being a Stay at Home Mom.” It was a weird time for me. I was adjusting to motherhood in general and getting used to the fact […]

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