8 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE BECOMING A STAY AT HOME MOM
Being a mom is nothing short of amazing, period. But all great things come with bad days and aspects to which you wish you may have been warned of before hand, I mean lets face it being a mom is the equivalent of holding down two full time jobs! The trials and tribulations of being a stay at home mom is something I see on the regular in mommy forums and the idea of writing this article has been percolating in my mind for some time now. So here they are, 8 things I wish I knew before becoming a stay at home mom.... and for the record I would have done it anyway :)
1. How my mental and physical health was going to change.
This comes with just having a baby in general, as a stay at home mom you won't get the outside stimulation that may ease some of the baby blues and depression that comes with the postpartum package. Granted, no ones postpartum journey is the same but there are many things that happen after giving birth that still remain unspoken about to many women, and maybe that just aids in the struggle. Because for many of us the struggle is real! Your body which has already expanded to great lengths to accommodate this tiny beautiful human will continue to go through changes and being home with a new baby is utterly exhausting, and will compound more stress and possible unhealthy habits if you're not careful. Your physical wellbeing can be directly tied to your mental wellbeing and after giving birth you will be overwhelmed with so many emotions that things can end up seeming like a blur. Knowing and identifying what you're going through whether it be baby blues or post-partum depression can make all the difference in the world for your mental and physical health.
2. That you feel like your job is never done!
Just to make things clear, you're trapped around the clock with babies and/or toddlers that are constantly in need of something almost every minute of the day so in reality, no your job is really never done. Oh, don't believe me, check out my day in the life here. But that's not the whole picture - on most days there are just so many other "balls up in the air" like meals, meal planning, cleaning, engaging with the kids, play time and on and on...that there is this undercurrent of anxiety of there being something that is getting forgotten that needed to be done, and sometimes right before the kiddos get into their beds you remember the one important thing that you've forgotten all day long that will keep them up another hour LOL!
True story, I forgot to dry my kids bed sheets last week and almost had a nervous breakdown at 8pm- yikes!
loneliness and depression as a stay at home mom
3. The isolation and loneliness is real!
When you're pregnant you get so much unsolicited advice, to the point where its just flat out annoying. To hear, yet again, for the tenth time today how much your life is going to change and how you'll never, ever ever sleep again is draining. If you're anything like me, that advice is often met with a turn of the head and an eye roll- I was so sick of hearing it. So I blocked out most of the "lessons" random people wanted to give me and knew I'd figure things out for myself. The one truth I do wish I would have taken more seriously so I could realistically prepare myself is that being a stay at home mom is very lonely and isolating- even for someone that is more of an introverted person by nature. There is just something about the transition from being a working individual and having plenty of workplace discussion to literally being home with only an infant and/or toddler all dat every day. There is no amount of texting or facebook chat groups that compensate- trust me.
4. ...And yet somehow you feel like you never get time to yourself.
Remember what I said just a few senctences ago? How lonely it is to be a SAHM well, the flip side of that and honestly the constant on-going struggle is that you also are never without those tiny humans you've created. From grocery shopping, to playtime to nap time and every single minute in between 7 days a week until they go into the school system, you are with your children or a combination of your children and your husband/SO - it can be draining and exhausting when everyone needs to be taken care of in some way or another all day long. It is very important that you can find the support from family or friends to get the time you need to yourself and to unload some of the stresses that being a SAHM comes with.
My most recent hack for getting "me" time is to schedule an hour or two a week on my calendar doing something I enjoy; spa service, making YouTube videos, writing, watching TV. It has been working well for me that way and things get a lot easier as my kids become more independent.
5. Being dependent on only my partners income is harder than I thought it would be.
I mean really, it's harder than I ever thought. I am a very independent woman and I enjoyed working and earning my own money and I always saw my relationship with my husband as an equal divide and I know he saw me as the same - as a partner. So when the scale tilted in terms of income and home responsibilities my ego may have gotten the better of me. I no-longer felt like an equal partner for some reason, even though I was working in the home- being at home with children is HARD WORK all day every day. But, my preconceived ideas of earning a paycheck and how that fueled my self worth got the better of me. It took me over 4 years to come to even acknowledge this core belief that I had around work and money and I still grapple with it at times.
6. How little my partner understands the struggle.
My husband is such a great guy - really! He's the best father, a hard working and ambitious family man - we share the same values and are truly best friends. But when we had kids my struggle was not something he understood at all and he couldn't understand that someone as strong willed and independent as I am was struggling. I don't blame him, I didn't know why I was struggling either to be honest. But realistically, there is nothing in this world that will fully prepare you for motherhood and everything that comes with it both emotionally and physically until its your turn. The best advice I can give you is to educate your significant other on most common issues such as depression and anxiety so that they can identify the signs and hopefully be understanding and willing to get you help if things become severe.
7. Long days with small children is both mentally and physically draining
The plain reality is that the kids always need to be tended to, that's the job plain and simple. From feeding times, tantrums, tears, activities and clean ups there is little time to yourself. If you don't believe me let me tell you, as I sit here and and type this paragraph out my 3 year old is climbing onto me so that he can sit in front of me and "help me work" which consists of him banging on the keyboard as I type... so I have to now put what I'm doing on the back burner so that I can tend to his needs. I mean don't get me wrong - its okay! My children's needs always come first, but I have spent many days upset that I can not get anything done for myself and by dinner time I'm exhausted to think about anything other than getting them to bed.
that's us! how I get my writing done when my husbands at work.
8. How finding "mom friends" is not as easy as you'd think
I found it difficult to make mom friends - maybe I'm just picky, I really don't know? What I do know is that its not just me! I see loads of comments in mommy group forums asking for friendships because these moms are lonely, depressed and stressed! I guess you could chalk it up to personality and for some women networking and making new friends is their strong suit but, I just think and have found over the past few years that friends come organically and through time you acquire new great people - making new friends can't be something you set out to do in a week. Since becoming a stay at home mom I've found it more of a waste of time combing through every park, library and toddler group to find someone I connect with just to then have most of those connections unfold. I'm just not willing to suck it up for the judgmental, negative or snobby moms - you know the mom shaming types....smh, no thanks Karen!
On the Bright Side
With all this - I still wouldn't change it for the world, being a stay at home mom has been a wild ride and it taught be a new found respect for women who choose to give up their careers to nurture their children at home. You will never get this time back in your life so if being home is something you can swing financially, mentally and emotionally - its totally worth the thousands of memories that you will keep with you for a lifetime.
What are some things you wish you knew before becoming a mom? Let me know in the comments
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