When I decided to start this blog, I was determined NOT to make it another “Mom Blog”. The internet is littered with them and I don’t want to be in the middle of the pile. When I was pregnant, I read every mom blog there was and really enjoyed them, but I think there are already enough. One of my best friends has recently decided to make the transition from working mom to work-from-home mother and while she is excited about it, she is also a bit apprehensive. I give you exhibit A:
Maggie wants an actual SAHM guide to review and prepare for her new life. If you know Maggie, you know she always gets what she wants. KIDDING! Calm down, tiger. So, for the first and last time, I would like to present:
12 Things You Need To Know Before Becoming A Stay-At-Home Mom:
1. IT SUCKS-As the mommy bloggers will tell you, a common misconception of SAHM life is that mothers sit at home all day blowing raspberries on chunky baby thighs and baking apple pies. WRONG. While there are days where I lie in the middle of my living room floor while Jack crawls all over me like a mom-sized bouncy house, usually, I stick to my schedule. Going one day without cleaning can destroy my entire week. You might think that because you’ve already had your baby for two years and are used to his exhausting behaviors, you are prepared for keeping him 24/7. You are not. Imagine the mess he makes when you have him all weekend or just the few hours he gets to play when you get home from work. Now, imagine the attention he requires during that time. Multiply that amount by 9 hours per day. It can be overwhelming.
2. IT’S THE MOST INCREDIBLE THING IN THE WORLD-Being with your tiny human 24/7 can also be the greatest joy you will ever experience. The bond you develop when you are literally all he has to look at, talk to, play with all day is incredible. Please don’t think I’m saying that daycare babies aren’t 100% bonded to their parents, but as with any relationship, spending all day and all night every day with a person will bring the two of you to a different level. Jack is my shadow. Sometimes, that can be really annoying. Usually, it’s the greatest thing since the creation of the internet.
3. YOU MUST STICK TO A ROUTINE-Maybe I should have listed this as number one, but one and two just fit so well at the beginning of the post, ya know? Jack wakes up, eats breakfast, plays for an hour, takes a short nap, wakes up, plays, eats lunch, plays for a few hours, takes a long nap, wakes up, plays for an hour, eats dinner, takes a bath, plays for 30 minutes and goes to bed at 7PM on the dot. EVERY. SINGLE. FRICKIN. NIGHT. Many of the play times include going to the grocery store, running errands, or meeting friends/family for dinner. The only time he stays up past seven is if we aren’t home. I try to get chores done during Jack’s play time, but some of them he just won’t let me do until he takes a nap. Jack and I both need this schedule so that I can get things done without a stressed out baby. Find whatever schedule works best for you and stick to it. Day cares usually have schedules in place anyway, so I would think it’d be an easy adjustment.
4.NAP TIME IS MOMMY TIME Always take advantage of nap time. It is a time to get things done, especially if you’re about to be running your own business. This is the hour(s) to write emails and make phone calls. I’m using nap time right now to write this post. You will quickly learn what you can do with your toddler and what you can’t. Use this time wisely. Make a list(I make mine mentally and forget half of it) of things you need to do each day and plan accordingly. Sometimes, it’s hard to make yourself do the things you need to do. You don’t have a boss checking to see if your work is finished. The second you put that baby down for a nap, you need to immediately pump yourself up to get things done. Turn on some music. Do some jumping jacks. Whatever you need to do to stay motivated. The days that you don’t take advantage of nap time can turn into sad, veg on the couch, “I’m a giant blob of useless crap” days. It is not worth the extra episode of House of Cards. Repeat after me: “IT IS NOT WORTH THE EXTRA EPISODE OF HOUSE OF CARDS!” You will always feel good about getting things done, and you will usually feel guilty when you don’t.
5. YOU SHOULD DO A LOAD OF LAUNDRY EVERY OTHER DAY- I am serious. Maggie? MAGGIE!!! Are you listening? I MEAN it! It will save you SO much stress if you commit to a load of laundry every other day. I don’t mean, start a load. I mean wash, dry, fold, and put away a load of laundry every other day. It is shocking how strongly this little tidbit can improve your life. Laundry happens to be an activity I can do with Jack. He loves to feel the warm clothes when they come out of the dryer. He might throw some clean things around on the floor while I’m trying to fold them, but if you make it a game, it can actually be really fun. Just be sure and hang the dresses and collared shirts first.
6.KEEP A CLEAN KITCHEN– I don’t know what it is about a clean kitchen, but it can make everything else seem less chaotic. When you cook something, clean it up before you even sit down to eat. Take out the trash. Wipe off the counters. Pyscho toddler might have destroyed your entire house, but at least you don’t have to clean the kitchen at the end of the day.
7.GO OUTSIDE EVERY DAY EVEN IF IT’S JUST A FEW MINUTES-Another hazard that comes along with staying home every day is cabin fever. Going outside, if only to walk the dog, can really change your entire attitude. You need your vitamin D. You need to feel the wind on your cheeks. You need to remember that the world is still spinning outside of your home. It’s good for mommy and baby. As long as the weather is nice, just go out and sit. I usually take Jack out after lunch. He has a full belly and lots of energy. When we are outside, I just sit and breathe and name whatever he happens to be looking at. We pick dandelions and tear up leaves. It is so refreshing.
8. SOMETIMES, YOU MIGHT FORGET YOUR HUSBAND-That guy. The one you married. You know? Yo baybeh daddeh? When you’re with your little man all day, he becomes the focus of everything. He is your job. Every good employee stays pretty focused on their job, but don’t forget your main squeeze. He’s working hard, too. He comes home and listens to you bitch about your sweet little angel spilling his milk on the rug and punching you in the face and pooping in the bath tub, but don’t forget to ask him about his day. While you might need a break at the end of a long day, remember, he needs one too. Find a balance of “Take a load off, honey.” and “Please take this little demon child away from me.” Try to step back and decide who needs a break more on each particular day.
9.YOU WILL SUDDENLY FEEL A LOT OF PRESSURE TO EDUCATE YOUR CHILD-Obviously, every parents feels the need to ensure that their kids know the ABC’s. They tell them what things are and name colors of objects and noises of animals, but when you’re the single source of information your child receives every day, you feel you are the one to blame if your child doesn’t know everything the APA says they should. If your baby is dumb, it is probably your fault. At day care, children are usually learning new things from their teachers. If your SAH-child can’t say, “Mother, will you please pass the potatoes?” by six months, you have failed. You aren’t just a mommy, now you are a teacher, without a teaching degree. Your child might not get into college because you forgot to teach him division before kindergarten. During playtime, I usually sit with Jack for about half an hour and name the colors and objects he’s playing with. I also read to him each day, even though he could care less. I don’t do this because I expect him to be a baby genius. I do this so I can never feel guilty if he turns out to be a terrible middle school student like his mother.
10.TAKE ONE CHILL PILL EVERY MORNING BEFORE YOU EVEN GET OUT OF BED-Unless Jack is doing something potentially dangerous, I just let my chill pill do its work. I accept at the beginning of my day, that he is going to leave a huge mess for me to clean up before bed. Soon, though, he will be old enough to help while we sing the “Clean Up” song. I let Jack open cabinets and drawers. I let him take the pictures off of the shelves. I let him go to TOWN on our piano. As long as it isn’t breakable, who cares?! It isn’t just that it keeps him quiet and entertained. It’s the look on his face when he gets to hold something new. It’s watching him open a cabinet and remove its contents, inspecting each item thoroughly. Saying “No! No! No!” all day gets really old. Choose your battles. Take. Yo. PILL.
11. SOMETIMES YOUR PILL DOESN’T WORK-I think the pharmaceutical companies slip in placebos every 10-12 days to save money. Sometimes, “chill” is just not a level you will be able to reach. You’ll be stuck in a hole wondering when your husband will come dig you out of it. Your precious little munchkin nugget will be on your last nerve. You will feel very very guilty about this. You will wonder if you’re a terrible mother. You will thank God for allowing you to stay home with your darling cocoa puff and ask Him to forgive you for you selfishness. You will text a good friend and ask them if you’re a terrible mother-and they will tell you the truth. You are a WONDERFUL mommy and you are doing this right. When this happens, YOU win the “I deserve a break today” when the husband comes home. And this is the time you take a bubble bath and plan a time when your husband(or any nice person off the street) will watch the baby while you…..
12.TREAT YO-SELF-Go get your eyebrows waxed. They’ve turned into little hairy turds above your eyeballs. Wait. That’s me. Do whatever “treating yourself” is to you. Go get a haircut and then buy some chocolate. Go rollerblading in disco pants. Try to catch a bird. Whatever makes you happy. My favorite way to treat myself is free. It’s called “Daddy and Jack Day”. Rick and Jack go run errands for several hours while I stay at home and do absolutely nothing. I binge watch the episodes of Ellen I’ve missed and eat icing. Seriously. You will learn to know in advance when you’ll need these “Mommy Moments” before your chill pill wears off.
As with any job, this one comes with its pros and cons. I think many SAHMs overplay it on both ends. Sometimes, it sucks. Sometimes, it rules. Most of the time, it is just a job worth doing. Good luck with your transition my darling friend, and may the poops be ever in your favor.