It’s been two years since I packed up my desk and hugged my awesome coworkers goodbye to venture into my role as a stay-at-home mom. To be perfectly honest, that’s a title I’ve only recently come to accept. If you had told me a decade ago that I’d be married with a kid, I would’ve said you were crazy (I’ve never been the traditional type). If you had told me a decade ago that I’d be married, with a kid, and working as a stay-at-home mom, I would’ve said you were even crazier. Why would anyone wanna do that?, I used to think to myself. I saw it as a very archaic way of life. Please, hold your fire – I’ve done some maturing and gained some firsthand understanding since then!
My husband and I got married in April 2014 and a couple months later, I started a great job…then, surprise! We found out I was expecting a baby, due to arrive just before our one-year anniversary. We hadn’t been actively trying to conceive, but felt that if we did, it was meant to be. Throughout my pregnancy, there was this internal battle as to whether I’d return to work or be home with my daughter full time. On one hand, I was so proud of my job and loved the idea of bringing in an income for our family. On the other, I felt a real need to be with my child full-time, to be as present as I possibly could during these years. I was fortunate to have the choice, albeit a tough one.
Ultimately, I decided to return to work after my daughter’s birth – I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t at least try. I was back for four or so months before realizing that my passion just wasn’t in my job anymore – it was home with my baby girl and I knew that’s where I wanted to be. I had reservations about taking the plunge and becoming a stay-at-home mom, though: Could this be a mistake?, What if I become isolated?, Will we find a good routine?, and so on. It’s been an eye-opening journey and some days I feel like I’m still adjusting! Throughout the last two years, though, I’ve gathered little bits of wisdom here and there. Some takeaways, if you will.
It’s a Gig That Requires Discipline
Going into it, I knew life as a stay-at-home parent could be isolating. Some days, I see how it could be easier to just “stay at home” all day. That’s where some discipline comes in. Staying ahead of any isolating feelings was a top priority for me. I started taking my daughter to baby story times, toddler times, classes at The Little Gym, and some play dates. For me, simply getting OUT of the house at least once a day makes all the difference. Getting into a routine and developing a schedule as a stay-at-home parent is so important for both you and a little one’s well being!
(Some) People Still Don’t Think it’s Work
I’ve never been asked the classic, Wow, what do you do all day?, but I have had some people ask questions that imply they’re having similar thoughts: So are you just staying home with her? Do you think you’ll ever go back to work? It’s frustrating, and I was very sensitive to it at the beginning. Most people have only good intentions and simply don’t realize that raising a child is actual work. If it’s not, then why would I be required to pay someone else to do it?
“Me” Time is So Important
This is the part where I brag on and on about my husband. He has always been insanely awesome about taking over and making sure I get time to myself. It can be tough having a little person shrieking and hanging all over you for hours on end – this introverted mother needs some peace and quiet…and solo trips to Targét! Seriously, the cliché about moms and Target is just so true – it’s a happy place, a refuge of sorts. Whatever your “me” time is – working out, solo grocery shopping, writing for Dallas Moms Blog (*wink*) – be sure to take advantage of it. It’s so crucial to make time for yourself.
On Some Days, You’re Just Cleaning
In the beginning, I was pinning activities left and right for my toddler and I to do together – cute holiday crafts, sensory play, you name it. I’m totally gonna be a Pinterest mom! Also, we’ll go to the PARK every day… AND I’ll cook healthy meals every night!, I thought. Come to find out, these are lofty goals when you’re chasing a crumbly, messy toddler through the house – there are some days when I feel like all I’ve done is wipe up one mess after another. However, with those days, I try to take a step back and look at the big picture: Nothing detrimental will happen if I don’t clean up that mess right this minute. *repeat*
There Are No Regrets
Plain and simple. No matter what – even on the days I question this full-time mom gig, the moments when I wanna pull my hair out, I could never regret the choice I made. There are good days and bad, as with any occupation. I could never feel anything but grateful for the time I have with my child – and grateful that it’s something our family is able to do. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, what was the transition into this role like for you? How long have you been at it? Feel free to share with us!