Being a Stay At Home Mom is many things. One thing it is not: Respected. Nobody can convince me otherwise. And I understand it, I really do. Before you come for me, let me try and explain.
As a SAHM I am a wearer of many hats.
I am a cook.
I am a housekeeper.
I am a personal shopper, schedule maker, appointment maker, time keeper.
I am a home nurse, teacher, sleep specialist, butt specialist.
I am a personal entertainer. A singer, dancer, actor. A Triple Threat if you will.
I am a chauffeur, a language specialist, a story teller, a party planner.
I am the gatekeeper to every list, every important detail.
Every day is different, yet each day is the same.
It’s planning, preparing, and cooking each meal; cleaning up after each meal.
It’s endless amounts of laundry for each member of the family along with the linens and towels. Wash, dry, fold, put away, repeat (because my youngest goes through three outfits a day).
It’s keeping the bathrooms clean, the floors vacuumed and mopped, the dusting.
It’s trying, and usually failing, at keeping the windows and stainless steel free from greasy and slobbery baby handprints and fingerprints.
It’s picking up the same toys 10 times a day.
It’s making grocery lists, keeping track of what we are low on/what we need, and doing the weekly grocery run. Coming home and trying to put it all away while the babies pull at your legs.
It’s the constant mental notes taken on whether or not we need diapers, wipes, toiletries, cleaning supplies, TP and so on.
It’s scheduling all appointments for the little babes and being the one to take them.
It’s planning everything that has to get done around each kids nap, sleep, and feeding schedule.
It’s tracking the bottles, the medication taken, the amount of soiled diapers each kid has in a day to be sure I catch a potential inconsistency.
It’s packing the diaper bag, remembering every single detail so no one is left stranded.
It’s tending to boo boos and fevers, catching falls, anticipating potentially dangerous situations.
It’s teaching right from wrong, working on fine motor skills, enunciating every word and vowel sound; practicing colors, shapes, numbers and letters.
It’s knowing what each kid is saying when nobody else does or isn’t sure.
It’s being an expert on sleep patterns. Getting up throughout the nights and in the mornings. The very early mornings.
It’s keeping the littles entertained and happy through daily dance parties, singing favorite songs, and acting like Anna while my daughter is clearly Elsa. It’s playing endless amounts of Monster Chase and Airplane.
It’s telling approximately 47 stories a day. Because when your baby hands you a book you read it. Every. Single. Time.
It’s knowing when it’s time to switch from bottle to sippy cup, from sippy cup to straw. Knowing when you need to buy the next size up clothing and shoes.
It’s planning every holiday, birthday, family outing, event. Making sure all gifts are bought and wrapped, decorations made/put up, food prepared, costumes picked out. It’s handling every detail.
It’s taking the tiny wanderers on adventures to parks, farms, play dates, and walks.
Its baking, and coloring, and crafting.
It’s a never ending mental list of all the things.
It’s never using the bathroom alone, going hours without eating or drinking a single thing, and usually being the last to shower.
It’s being in a house all day with only a toddler and baby to talk to. Like all day every day. Zero adult interaction.
It’s no lunch breaks, quiet car rides or walks to clear your head. It’s no down time or mental health breaks.
It’s trying to watch a 3 minute video on your phone but it taking 45 minutes to watch the whole thing because your babies are calling your name or pulling on your clothes, or falling, or throwing up and making art with it on the floor.
And it’s doing all of the above on your own 98% of the time.
You’re on your own because your partner is the bread winner. They work and pay the bills. And that’s the trade.
And in return you are rewarded in so many ways.
I never miss a single first. First word, first smile, first crawl, first steps, first tantrum.
I never miss a single moment of joy, sadness, uncertainty, or realization that either of my babies have.
I never miss a single snuggle, Eskimo kiss, or a sibling bonding moment.
I never miss a teachable moment, a proud mom moment, and the not-so-proud mom moments (usually at my lack of patience on the hardest days).
I get to relish each giggle, each “mama,” each accomplishment.
I’m lucky enough to never miss out on my daughters broadway level “shows” she puts on three times a day (at minimum).
I am honored to be their safe space.
I am blessed and I am thankful for this life every single day. But that doesn’t mean its not mentally and physically exhausting. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a lonely existence. It doesn’t mean I don’t have really bad days where I just can’t keep my shit together.
And theres nothing wrong with me admitting that. It doesn’t make me any less appreciative for what I have. It just makes me human.
As a SAHM, you aren’t bringing a cash value to the table. You aren’t paying for the roof over your head or the food in your belly. You aren’t paying for the clothes on your back or the gifts under the tree. You exist and have all that you have because your partner financially floats you. They take on that burden.
Before I had my daughter, I had a fulfilling career. My weeks were easily 70 hour work weeks with commute. I made good money and covered my half of the bills. I had this whole other identity and I loved what I did. Distance and daycare expenses played a huge roll in my decision to leave that behind to stay home.
In the time since I left the traditional “9-5” day job, I started my own photography business and I do freelance work on the side occasionally. But it doesn’t cover the salary I once made.
No matter how you spin it, it’s difficult going from one extreme to another. Not bad. Just different.
And when you don’t get a paycheck, something concrete that is earned for the work you put in, it’s hard to truly respect it. No matter how much is involved. Being a SAHM isn’t viewed as a “real job” by pretty much everyone except SAHM’s. Lol.
For me, I have a hard time seeing the value in what I do even as I do it. I’m not saying it isn’t valuable and meaningful “work.” It’s just difficult to accept that it is. I’m sure I am not alone in this. My situation isn’t unique. I’m not the first SAHM and I won’t be the last.
The days are long. The years are short.
One day these babies will be self sufficient and they won’t need me as much, if at all. One day I will return to my regularly scheduled program. I will look back and simultaneously miss every moment I had with them and wish I could go back. I just know it.
But there are moments in my day to day that I miss using my brain for legal jargon. I miss having a consecutive ten minutes to gather my thoughts. I miss quiet, uninterrupted lunches. I miss having the freedom to just come and go as I please. I miss leaving my house more than once a week for a grocery run. Which is, in fact, the only thing I do alone. That’s my “me” time.
I miss having uninterrupted, adult interaction on a daily basis. Like real, in depth conversations where my views, points, and suggestions are taken seriously. The most adult conversation I have currently is asking my husband if he has any special requests for lunch or dinner or if he prefers his whites get put in before his darks.
I miss having my own identity. I miss being viewed as someone who is intelligent, ambitious, and just the general bad ass bitch I know I am. I miss being respected. I miss being heard. I miss being seen.
And I think all moms can relate. Whether you are working or not. I think it’s time we normalize being regular moms with real ass feelings. Normal feelings.
This is the season I am in. And my longing shouldn’t be taken as anything other then what it is. A tired mom. A woman changed. An individual gripping onto the last remnants of individuality she still has left.