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.