I always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. Like, seriously, for as long as I can remember. I never really had career goals, and when picking a major in college I once mentioned I wished to be able to major in “kids.” (which I actually kind of did). I love kids. Kids are amazing. They are hilarious and adorable and I wanted to spend my days being with them. And then I had my own.
I love my kids more than words can say. And I love being around them. They are an absolute joy. But not always. They are also really hard work. And staying home with them isn’t always as fulfilling as I thought it would be.
Now that I’m here in the thick of the stay-at-home-mom life (for the past 17 years and counting), I can honestly say I have many mixed feelings about it.
I have many contradictory feelings that make me both love and hate my job as a Stay-at-Home-Mom.
On the one hand, I like the freedom of scheduling my day however I see fit.
I don’t have to arrange my day around my work schedule. I have to get my kids to school and gymnastics and rugby and youth group, but I don’t have to be at work from 9-5 every day. I can take my toddler on a walk after I drop the kids off at school. Or not. It’s my choice.
On the other hand, when left to my own devices I sometimes get bored or lazy.
I often have really noble intentions to clean certain rooms or take certain aforementioned toddlers on walks, but just end up sitting on the couch perusing Facebook as a way to disengage from the chaos that is Getting Kids Ready for School.
Sometimes I think, I got a college degree so I could change diapers for the rest of my life?
OK, maybe not the REST of my life, but it sure seems like it right now. Why was I so determined to finish that degree anyway when all I’m doing is shuttling teenagers and chasing toddlers?
But then I think, Well, I guess I DID get a degree in an appropriate field.
Yes, there absolutely is such a major as Marriage, Family, and Human Development. And if any major is applicable to my career choice, that was definitely it. I still remember and use a lot of what I learned from classes like: Social Development, Adolescent Development, and Cognitive Development.
I often wonder how working moms do it.
How can they work all day and still get the doctor visits, shopping trips, cleaning, sports, youth groups and meal prep squeezed in? There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
But then I enviously fantasize about how much more refreshed I would be if I were doing something ELSE all day.
As it is, if I run an errand or write an article with no kids around, it’s definitely a break, even when it’s work.
I even got a part-time job (twice) because being a stay-at-home-mom was way too hard.
I needed something for me. Something to motivate me to get up in the morning when the lure of dishes and laundry just weren’t doing it for me.
Then I quit my job (twice) because being a working mom was also way too hard.
It was only part-time, but I came home physically exhausted, emotionally spent, and not wanting to give my kids the least bit of attention after a half day of being stretched to the max.
Sometimes I’m jealous that my husband’s coworkers like him and tell him how great he is.
My “coworkers” are often indifferent at best, mutinous at worst.
But in reality, I get loves and cuddles from a cute little toddler, while Hubby gets blamed when other people do things wrong.
I think I’ll take the cuddles.
I like that I can be home when my kids get home from school so someone’s there for them.
I want to be there to talk to them about their day and there to make them feel safe and loved.
But I’m often not home when there is shopping and other errands to get done (which there always are), and then they get locked out of the house and have to break in through a window if they don’t have a key with them (which they never do).
And when I am home, they barely say 3 words to me anyway. Unless, of course I’m busy trying to make a phone call or type up an important email, then they suddenly want to tell me about every meme they ever saw.
It’s great that I have time to pursue my hobbies when the baby is napping.
I’m lucky enough to have a great sleeper (right now, anyway) and while he naps I can get things done that I WANT to do.
I have no time to pursue my hobbies when the baby doesn’t nap.
He doesn’t always sleep that great. It seems like whenever I talk about how great he sleeps, he gets insomnia. Of course.
Being a Stay-at-Home-Mom has its advantages and disadvantages.
Staying home with the kids can be at once infuriating and freeing, soul-crushing and empowering, boring and busy. Overall I’m grateful I’m able to do it. It sure can be hard, but maybe it’s just the kind of challenge I need. I guess I did end up achieving career goals. I just don’t get paid for them. But I’m (mostly) OK with that.