Every week on Friday I feature a post from a fellow mom sharing her story about motherhood. This week I have Carly from Mommy On Purpose discussing how being a stay at home mom is hard. She shares the good, bad, and one must-have survival tips for other stay-at-home moms.
I love love love being at home with my kids.
It’s literally my dream come true – when I was in high school and people asked me “what I wanted to be” my answer was simple:
A stay at home mommy.
And then life happened and time went by and I didn’t become a mommy. Instead, I became a waitress with a sort of crappy self centered existence and no real meaning or direction. I was brutally unhappy.
I feel like I was given a second chance, a new opportunity to create a life I loved, when I became a mommy. (I even found myself a stay at home mom job, so I could contribute financially. No more terrible shift work!)
So I love love love being at home with my kids. I am grateful every day and yes – I even use the word “blessed” un-ironically. But that doesn’t mean that every second of my day at home with my kids is rainbows and sparkles.
It doesn’t always feel easy to be at home with my kids
Even though there is literally no place I’d rather be, almost everyday, I reach a point where I can’t stand one more episode of Octonauts. Or Ranger Rob. or Rusty Rivets.
I can’t imagine picking up the blocks AGAIN, let alone trying to clean anything else – I can’t even see the kitchen counter or the table top (although both were clear before I went to bed). I don’t have a single creative idea about how we should entertain ourselves next, we’ve already colored for half an hour and we tried painting but honestly, that was a bad idea. It killed fifteen minutes, but it took 20 minutes to clean up.
I am so tired.
The guilt from wanting to just sit quietly with my phone for a half hour starts to feel incredibly overwhelming.
I look at the clock and see that there’s still THREE HOURS until daddy gets home, and my heart sinks a little.
This happens about the same time that baby number one decides he can no longer live without my undivided attention and baby number two desperately needs a nap but I can’t get her to sleep because baby number one needs my undivided attention. Even if I felt ok ignoring him and locking myself and baby number two in another room to try to get her to sleep, chances are great that she won’t GO to sleep with him pounding on the door and crying.
(Not to mention the few times I have tried that, he has found fun things to do like “soaping” the bathroom, and washing the floor in the hall with toilet water.)
So now she’s crying and he’s yelling “uppy” while patting my stomach and my brain feels a little like it’s boiling.
But I love love love being at home with my kids, and I am aware that it’s up to me to refuse to let the fact that I feel this way make me into a mom I don’t want to be.
I have a choice to make:
How do I want them to remember me? How do I want to remember THEM?
I might not be in control of my feelings, but I am 100% in control of my actions
And I am determined that when my kids think back on their time with me, they will see a mom who loved being at home with them. I hope they’ll never realize (until they have children) that it was hard, and overwhelming, and at times even… a little boring.
It’s ok for me to say these things. Those are things I feel sometimes, and it’s ok to feel that way.
I don’t have to lie and pretend that every moment is something picture perfect of a Disney commercial – but it’s also ok for me to not want to be the mom playing candy crush while her toddler cries “mommy come, commmee”.
Because when that little face looks up at me and says “mommy come, commmee” – I am instantly reminded that this IS my dream, and I do really want to go where ever he wants me to go. Even though I don’t always feel like it, my heart does want to be here.
The thing is, I am well aware that it’s not just my kids who will look back on these days with memories. Do I want to look back at this time and remember the overwhelm, and think of all the times I snapped at my babies just because I couldn’t deal?
Or do I want good memories, of their beautiful smiles and their fun little toddler words?
Most definitely, I want option B.
So I’ve developed a coping mechanism that helps me get through these little rough patches we have in our day, and transforms crumbling-to-pieces mom into serene-and-joyful mom.
We vacation to the grocery store
I might already have a reputation in this town for being that crazy lady just wandering around the grocery store not buying anything. (You do have to be careful, when you vacation to the grocery store – if you buy things, this can get awfully expensive.)
Packing up two kids and hauling them down to the store might seem like a chore, but it also seems like a desperately needed change of scenery.
Everyone is sitting in the cart, everyone is contained.
We eat raspberries as we wander the isles (sloooooowwwwwwly), and we chat about all the things on the shelves. (Sometimes we go to the dollar store instead, and I let him play with *whatever*, and then just put it back before we leave. Yes, it’s worth the little battle about if we get to keep the thing or not.)
We can generally spend at least an hour this way, and then we pay for our raspberries and leave.
When we get back home I feel 1000x better.
OR, if baby number two just IS NOT getting a nap, we don’t stop at the store – we just drive around. It’s so peaceful. She naps. And he (baby number one) and I have “sitting strapped in our chairs” time.
We don’t eat many sweets at home, so I stop at the drive through and we share a cookie. Then we drive out of town and look at the cows.
(I’d like to think this is a learning experience but so far all we have learned that cows say…. “cowwwww”… so, it might be more of a cookie experience than a learning experience.)
I never imagined I would need to “escape” from my home, let alone to the grocery store, or drag my kids out every afternoon… but I think anything beats hanging out with mom while she cries in the kitchen.
People judge me a little
I’ve admitted to a few people that we vacation to the grocery store in the afternoon. And I’ve been told a few times now that this isn’t a realistic coping mechanism. They say it like I’m a little ridiculous.
Like they think I should just figure out how to be at home and it’s not THAT HARD.
But if it’s working for us, why isn’t it great? If I can be a better mom after an hour in the grocery store – if I can chat and smile and kiss my babies with nothing but appreciation for them, why isn’t it the best thing ever?
Do what YOU need to do to be the best mom you can be
If you need to put the TV on for an hour, or let them have a half hour with an ipad, or whatever it is you need to do to stay sane… (and appreciate your life!) isn’t a sane mom better than a mom who can’t cope or a mom who regrets choosing to stay at home?
Do what you need to do to be present and enjoy your kids. They’re only little once.