If you really pay attention, you’ll notice a lot of stay at home moms say, “I never saw myself being a stay-at -home”, “This wasn’t the plan”, or something of that nature. Being as though I’m one I can say that it’s for sure the truth. However, there are women who want to be at home. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that however when you have plans for the betterment of your life and they’re put on hold because daycare cost too much – and most don’t teach anything – and as a mother you want the best for your children, it happens. In my case I ended up having another baby which is prolonging my process. AND NO THAT IS NOT ME BLAMING MY CHILD. I can’t lie though some days I am truly upset that I don’t work and others I remind myself that the safety of my children and saving money is more important. Being at home all day long can take its toll on you, but it’s about the way you balance everything that matters.
When people hear “stay-at-home”, forget adding mom or dad, that alone screams lazy to them. People feel like you literally do nothing all day because you get to stay home and care for your children. When the reality of that is that’s not where it ends or begins. Sure, I’m home with my kids but I have a house that has to remain clean, clothes that have to be washed, food that has to be made, a husband, bills to be paid, and other household duties. And that doesn’t include things outside of home like grocery shopping, shopping for necessities – diapers, wipes, soap, etc. – trying to find extracurricular activities for my kids, trying to find school for myself that works around my husbands schedule, and then some. And believe me it is not easy finding activities because only one of my children is old enough to do some of what’s available to us. Not to mention people thinking that because I don’t work, I have nothing but time on my hands.
I feel like people say to themselves, “Let me call her she ain’t doing nothing” before they pick up their phones. They then hear the baby screaming and crying before I can say “Hello” and “Get back here” right after that. That’s when I hear “I can tell you’re busy, so I’ll call you back later” and that is my point. Just because I’m not waking up at 5AM to make it to work by 7 or 8AM and get off at 3PM doesn’t make my job – that doesn’t give a paycheck – less important than yours. My children are currently 2-years-old and 8 months and staying home with them is more draining than working a 9 to 5 that you have the opportunity to leave. And yes, I have worked so I’m speaking from experience. I don’t get a lunchbreak from my kids, I don’t get to go out after work, I don’t get a promotion, or time off. No, I sit at home all day, alone, caring for my babies while running up and down the steps trying to make sure the food isn’t burning and all messes are cleaned.
We are a military family – which I’m sure you got from the title – so it’s more common to find other moms who stay home as well. But that doesn’t mean you’re not alone. We’re not all buddy buddy and to be honest I haven’t been here that long, but I’ve met three and I’m sticking to them. OMG! I honestly love them and have yet to feel judged or any negative energy from or around them. It would be nice to know more moms, but the reality is everyone isn’t open to meeting new people, I notice some are clique-ish and others simply have this “I’m better than you” attitude. How can anyone come together as one to help each other out when there’s so much separation? Which takes me back to being stuck in the house with my children.
They’re both clingy because all they know is mommy and daddy which is what makes things harder – for me. My job NEVER ends and if I step out for a few while dad takes over, I’ll get calls. I feel like there is no “me time” because I’m always taking care of everyone else. I don’t get to not cook even though my husband can cook, but he doesn’t – he has twice. I can understand it on weekdays, but not the weekends. He’d rather eat out all the time. I don’t get to be tired, I don’t get to enjoy a shower alone most days, I don’t get to use the bathroom alone. I want to take a day away from home. I’m talking a full day, no kids or husband included, just a day full of what I want to do, uninterrupted.
It can take a toll on you as a spouse too – but remember I’m only speaking for me. It’s hard juggling my kids all day, doing everything else around the house and knowing my husband will want some kind of attention when he gets home at some point too. I become frustrated when my husband gets to be tired, but I don’t. Although he’s never said that I simply take it from his actions. He’ll fall asleep anywhere and I’m left with the kids…. AGAIN. We don’t get to do date nights, we don’t get time alone unless they’re sleep, and we rarely have our bed to ourselves. But at the end of the day no matter how tired I am I still have to be his wife just like I have to be their mother. I still have to make time for him and try to do little things that I feel will make him happy and feel loved. Which leaves me where? YES, wondering when I’m going to get a break. A lot of people have night sitters but we don’t. It would be nice to have a night alone and I’m not even talking a date. Simply being home alone to reintroduce ourselves as husband and wife, go for a walk, or even sleep. Shoot! I could sure use some uninterrupted sleep. The lack of alone time can get in the way because it seems like all I care about is the kids and not him.
I do feel like things become complicated at times when I’m tired and/or don’t want to do something because of two things. The (sometimes) lack of attention I give my husband and him not understanding it because he works and I don’t. I get it, it seems like an unfair balance, but he asked me to stay home. Yes, he does work every single day, but so do I. The only differences are I don’t have to leave home and I don’t get a paycheck. I still have hopes and dreams like finishing school, becoming licensed for my craft, getting my blog off the ground, regularly caring for my mental and that’s just to name a few. It is hard because I do have a duty to my family, who I love dearly, however I do wonder when I’ll be able to accomplish something for me. I wonder when I’ll have a degree or even a certification under my belt. When I’ll be able to have a girl’s night out or date night with my husband. When I’ll be able to get through a simple task without having to stop a million times because someone is crying or needs something. No matter how frustrated I sometimes get, I do still try to look at the positives.
The Bright Side
It isn’t all bad although it can seem that way at times. There are things that bring me joy as a stay-at-home mom like not having to worry about the safety of my children because they’re home with me. Saving the money I’d be giving to daycares if my children attended. Not having to beat myself up about them being able to do certain things if they were enrolled in school. Being able to do things with the spouses – I do know and like – which can include my children. As overwhelming as it is being home – for me – it has made me realize things but more importantly that I can do anything. As cliché as that sounds, I am so serious, because I’ve been home since the end of 2015. No matter the emotions I’ve felt or feel I get up and take care of my kids. So, there’s no reason why once I’m working again, school, and anything else I want to do that I can’t get through it because I’m fighting through this.
What You Should Know
You have to be so let me say that again…. YOU HAVE TO BE mentally stable to take care of children. Whether they’re yours or someone else’s. I’ve battled depression, lack of energy, downed my self-worth, feeling like I’ll never get ahead, just all these negative things. And this is all from staying home, not working. Not to mention people and their overall. Sorry, not sorry, I don’t have time to answer every phone call because you think I’m not busy. I don’t want to watch your kids because I’m always home – per you. I don’t want to be your “go to” friend because no one else is available. Regardless of what others may say or think, I remind myself that no one can understand what they aren’t going through. Nonetheless, it feels amazing to watch my children grow daily. To know that I didn’t miss their first words, first steps, and the independent things that they do that make them so happy they have to show me.
THIS IS A THANKLESS JOB so don’t expect people who work to understand your frustrations. They’re the main ones downing us that stay home, but it isn’t all of them. Don’t expect your husband to understand why something wasn’t cleaned, why dinner isn’t at least started, and why the kids are all over the place because “you’re home all day”. Trust me, he doesn’t understand because he’s not home all day. It gets rough for some of us and that’s why I’ll tell anyone I’m here for them in a heartbeat. To any stay-at-home parent that happens to feel the way I do my advice is to try to look on the bright side daily. You WILL get back to work, you WILL finish school, you WILL find time for you. Stop beating yourself up, agreement or not, you’re doing something so many people don’t have the heart to. It is a thankless job, you don’t get a paycheck for it, you will get frustrated, but above all you’re in the comfort of your home where YOU have control. And half those who speak negatively about stay-at-homes wouldn’t last a full day with their one child.
Here is what more Mom’s had to say:
“I have two degrees, my B.A. in Public Relations and my MS in Public Administration. Two degrees and nothing to show for it, I have yet to have a career in my actual field. I’ve had GS jobs as pretty much an Admin Assistant but that’s it. The last time I just broke down crying about this was this past January when I called my sister-in-law to vent right after I found out I was pregnant with my third child 1 month before my husband deployed.” -Kye
“I love being available for my kids for the first years of their life. I was adamant about not starting daycare until 2-years-old. I also love attending school functions that I would have to otherwise take off for if I was working. A major con is that it’s a thankless job and you put in way more time than a 9-5 with no time off or sick leave. People also think you do nothing all day long. Being a SAHM is not for everyone especially with very young children. –Tawana
“I’m used to working full time, so this is new territory for me. I love the fact that I get to really enjoy my kids everyday, but days like today aren’t so enjoyable. It’s rough… (by the way my 80lbs lapdog is barking to COME IN as I type this)… we are pulled in so many directions and have so little time for ourselves, and that is just throughout the day with the kids. When the husband gets home we have to be cute, have cleaned up, cooked something, be ready to hear him talk about his day, do homework (I have a 13yo also), and try to squeeze some self care….” -Che’Vonne