I grew up thinking that staying at home as a mom lacked ambition. I thought those women didn’t contribute, were lazy. This wasn’t because of anything anyone in my family taught me. More likely I had been influenced by media portrayal of women. “Women’s work” Is extremely undervalued in our culture and our economy. So when I got pregnant with my daughter I was determined to remain ambitious. I never thought I could be one of those women who “stay home.” I was completely wrong.
I went back to work when my daughter was eight weeks old and it tore me apart. I missed her so much I could barely function. I wanted nothing more than to be home with her. Now she is two and a half and my son is five weeks old and I am finally staying at home with my babies. I realized pretty quickly that staying home with children isn’t any easier than my job. If anything it’s harder. It’s like a job that I never get to go home from. Constant, high stakes work with an immeasurable mental load. But I love it. There is no where else I would rather be. Of course there are difficult days, but I have learned a few lessons that have helped me get through staying at home.
Be kind to yourself
There may be good days. There may be days that you feel you were the perfect parent you always thought you would be. But most days are not like that. Most days there are compromises and that is okay. Speak kindly to yourself; you are doing the best you can.
Spend time outside
We all have ambitions to limit screen time but we find that hard to do when we’re indoors. Get outside. The fresh air and vitamin D will be good for everyone, and can also help chase away the grumpies.
Let them help
It never fails: when your to-do list is the longest is when your kids seem to want your undivided attention doing something unrelated to said to-do list. Ultimately, they just want to be with you. Invite them into your tasks. Get their help with things around the house. Work together to get it done. You’ll be less overwhelmed and their cup will be full.
Don’t stress the mess
Messes happen. Early and often. I get that it can be super frustrating; not only do you have a thousand things to do, but you have to stop and clean up 637 messes each hour. Take a deep breath, and take the time to teach them how to clean up their own messes. Teach them to do it well, the way you want it done. That way they learned a new skill and can be proud of being self-sufficient, and you can be relieved that you don’t have to follow after them and re-do it. Ovbiously, really little Littles will require more help, but kids are capable of more independence that we give them credit for.
What are some mom lessons you have implemented to help enjoy staying at home? Share with us in the comments.