MY Truths about being a SAHM

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Being a stay at home mom is certainly a defining role for me in my life and so I naturally give it a lot of thought on a day-to-day basis.  I thought it might be interesting if I shared some of MY truths regarding being a stay-at-home mom.  This post was also admittedly spawned by a hysterical comment passed on to me from a friend’s whose daughter asked her if she was “nothing before she was a mom.” I mean, it sure seems like it, right!?  LOL  PS:  Said friend is a working mom.

  1.  My CHOICE to become a SAHM was just that.  A CHOICE.  It was a conscious, concerted decision that I/we made with painstaking care.  It wasn’t about sucking at or not liking my previous job (I mean, because I hope this is not true lol).  In fact, I LOVED my job as an educator.  I also loved teaching Master’s courses to teachers continuing their own education.  I taught at some nearby colleges/universities part time in their MEd programs while teaching elementary school.  I got my masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Ed Policy and actually finished my thesis (on effective professional development) when I was pregnant with Z.  An yes, I DO plan on using said degree when the littles are a bit older.  Back to the story- when I was preparing to give birth to Zachary, we were still unsure if I would be “pausing” my career as an elementary school teacher and adjunct professor.  We had done the math (literally) many times and come to the conclusion that my paycheck as a public school teacher would barely cover daycare.  I also had a 2 hour commute daily which played into our decision.  Would our son go to daycare near my work or near our home?  Would I be able to get him by 6pm?  Was it even worth it?  And then, it just seemed like the right decision for us.  At least to try.  I was lucky that my District gave me a year (unpaid but still held my job and tenure) to try out this whole SAHM thing and the rest is history.
  2. It is harder than any job I have EVER had.  I have had a few jobs in my life, many times more than one at a time (I have an issue sitting still lol), and I can tell you, this gig is the hardest.  You don’t get paid, the hours are endless and let’s call a spade a spade: it is NOT the most glamorous of professions 🙂  It is physically and mentally challenging every. single. minute.
  3. Not all of my friends are SAHMs– I feel like there is this stigma that SAHMs hang together and WMs (working moms) hang together.  Separately.  This, at least for me, just isn’t true.  I have many SUCCESSFUL working mom friends and I LOVE spending time with them.  It is obviously a lot easier to hang out with other SAHMs during the day, but friendships that span over time are all created equal!  In fact, we just formed a new “mom club” to chat, etc. and the mix is half and half!
  4. I don’t think being a SAHM or Working mom is superior and Mommy Wars are REAL. Piggybacking on the above fact that my friends are a MIX of SAHMs and WMs, CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG!?  I have to say- I TRULY don’t get it.  I don’t judge others.  I TRULY DO NOT.  I don’t have the space in my heart to do that.  And I hope that others feel the same.  If we continue breaking each other down and judging each other’s choices, we ALL lose.  I always think of it like this:  happiness in the world is not finite.  There is not a given amount to have and once someone takes it all, there is none left for others to have.  Relish in other people’s happiness!  They are not “taking yours!”  You can be happy too!  With that said, being “around” during the day allows me to see a lot of these said “Mommy Wars” being fought.  I hate it.  I refuse to be involved with it.  Please join me?
  5. I do NOT sit at home and eat bon bons.  Maybe it was how I grew up?  But I feel like I always had this image of SAHMs at home on the couch “watching their stories.” You know, soap operas?  I am happy to say that I have not once watched a Soap nor do I know exactly when I would have time to do that!  If the kids are awake, I am obviously engaged with them or trying to get the household in order, and if the TV is on it is certainly NOT tuned to “The Young and the Restless,” but rather PBS.  And yes, I let my kids watch TV.  Happily.  Now, during their nap, I usually eat lunch (because this won’s happen when the kids are awake because let’s be honest, mommy’s sandwich look way taster than theirs) and then I get to work.  I do a variety of things ranging from laundry, to scrubbing the floors, putting groceries away, organizing papers/bills, cooking, packing/unpacking Z’s lunchbox, etc.  I will usually take a half hour to an hour to cross train on my pedaler and watch the news or Wendy Williams.  Whatever, judge if you want, but go watch her first 🙂  While I do my “pedaling” I will check emails, pay bills electronically, etc. Basically anything on my phone that I can get done.  I am lucky I can multitask 🙂  SO yea, no bon bon eating happening 🙂
  6. I still have a cleaning lady.  So yes, I spend a LOT of time on my knees scrubbing floors, vacuuming, laundry-ing, cooking, etc.  But at the end of the day, I still value GREATLY our cleaning lady who comes weekly (she is lovely and loves us and the children!).  I am a VERY neat/clean person and need my house to be as such. I feel like it creates a calmer environment when everything has a place in the home.  I know, “at Monica’s house, you can eat cookies over the sink.” (Friends TV show reference about how anal I am, but I am ok with it)  I clean daily but feel like a weekly cleaning with 2/3 boys is still necessary. For me.
  7. I still wear clothing.  An admitted Pajama enthusiast, I make a conscious effort to get “dressed” daily.  Yes, sometimes I just put on a clean pair of said PJs, but most daysI try to get it together.  Weather it is gym clothes or a mumu, I call it a win.  I also am a bit traditional and try to look super put together (curl my hair, put on my mascara- the only make up I wear really) and have the house super clean and in order by the time my counterpart walks in the door.  I think it is nice and I like doing it.  I know. I know….
  8. It is really hard not “earning your own money.”  As I have mentioned before, I was quite the worker before I had kids.  In my early teaching career, I worked at Nordstrom in the shoe department which was fabulous.  I have also worked for a kids’ play space in the city, an Au Pair agency, some local colleges/universities, etc.  I was really into making and having my own cash.  So, yea, this is a huge challenge for me in being a SAHM.  I wish I had some good advice for those of you struggling with the same sort of issue, but I don’t.  Just wanted to mention it 🙂
  9. Sometimes I do miss “going to work.”  I miss it when my brain hurts from Elmo, puzzles, Legos, bubbles, loading and unloading the dishwasher.  I miss it when having a pooping audience, kids snatching my food, climbing on me (“the mountain”), tantrum-ing in Target, when hiding behind my computer blogging for adult interaction and when wiping butts.  Sometimes I miss getting dressed up and having a quiet car commute and conversations with colleagues.  About intelligent stuff.  Drinking coffee at my computer waiting for the bell to ring, being called “Mrs” instead of Mommy all day.  But would I change it for the world!? NEVER. Instead, I just occupy myself with a new venture (details coming soon!!!) and snuggle my buddies.
  10. I still feel like a “bad mom” some days.  Yea, let’s get something straight.  Just because you sacrificed your career, end up covered with dirt and kid grime daily and do the “mom thing” all day every day, you will STILL have days where you don’t feel like you are doing enough.  Like you aren’t enough. Like you are a “bad mom.” (Speaking of this, who wants to come see that movie with me!??!). Seriously though, if anyone has found the trick to “getting it all done” or “doing it all right,” PLEASE let the rest of us know.
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ALL worth it for these kiddos!

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