As I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and read posts from so many of my friends who are stay-at-home moms, I chuckle. Then I gasp. Then I shake my head. I feel the pain of the mamas who write the status updates that share the conundrums of being a stay-at-home mom, and completely relate.
The other day, a Facebook friend wrote a status update that read, “Today, I walked into my 18-month-olds room to get him from his nap, only to find that his diaper was flung across the room and his bottom was bear. Let’s just say that I am going to need to get a dozen bottles of bleach and a firehouse.” That post was well received and ushered over 100 ‘thumbs up’s,” and “chuckling faces;” but I felt the pain of that mama, and I clicked the “sad crying face” to show that I understood her struggle and supported the challenge of cleaning up a crib full of baby poop while making sure that said baby didn’t get into the bleach, write on the walls, or make a huge mess somewhere else in the house.
As I read this status update, and as I thumb through and read other updates posted by stay-at-home moms on a daily basis and see that people react with a chuckle, or make comments like, “Bet you’re glad you DVRd your favorite TV show” (I kid you not, someone actually wrote that comment on that status update about the diaper,) I realize that many people are still under the assumption that being a stay-at-home-mom is an easy job; one that involve eating bon-bon’s while lounging on the couch and watching soap operas while the kids play. I think that the general public has changed their view and understands that staying home with young children is an important and difficult gig, but I also think that there are too many people who still think the latter.
So, to clear things up for those who believe the false impression of a bon-bon eating, soap opera watching stay-at-home mom, I took the opportunity to talk to several stay-at-home moms, and this is what they confessed about their not-very-glamorous ‘careers.’
15 “Nothing About My Day is ‘Mine’”
Jillian Z, a stay-at-home mom of 3 little boys, tells us that nothing about her day is hers.
“People have this false impression that I have all of this free time. That I can do whatever I want, when I want. I just don’t understand how people can think that. My day starts with changing diapers, arguing with children about getting dressed, making breakfast and rushing out the door, dragging my two youngest ones so that my oldest child doesn’t miss the bus. And from there, it’s play dates, library programs, craft projects, snacks, more diaper changes, tantrums… Truthfully, nothing about my day is mine. It’s all theirs. I consider it a good day when I can take a quick shower before they wake up and have those 5 minutes to myself; and those five minutes are usually the only part of the day that are actually mine…But even then, I am still strategizing and worrying if I am going to get dried off and dressed before I hear them call for me.”
14 “My House Is A Mess”
Zeandra D. has been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years and has 4 little girls. She confesses that her house is always a mess.
“It’s funny, because people think that I have all of this time to clean the house. For the longest time, my husband would come home from work and ask, “What happened? Why is everything such a mess?” He finally learned to stop asking when I laid into him after a very long, exhausting day and my kids were running amuck and I was sitting on the couch, curled up in a ball. The truth is, I do try to keep things neat and tidy, but every time I pick up one mess, I turn around and there’s another one. Eventually, I realized that it was better for me to concentrate on my kids and keeping them healthy and happy (and alive) than trying to clean up the messes that they made. Messes are just a part of my life now. It won’t always be this way…”
13 “I Have Become A ‘Mombie’”
Delanie T., a stay-at-home mom with a 14-year-old and a 2-year-old, confesses that she has become a ‘mombie.’
”It has finally happened. I have become a ‘mombie.’ You know, a mommy zombie. I am constantly exhausted and have bags under my eyes. My pot of coffee is like brains for zombies; it’s what keeps me going. If it weren’t for coffee, I definitely wouldn’t survive. I feel like I am just going through the motions. Like I am a mindless, walking, talking zombie. I make sure that my kids are dressed and fed; I make sure that homework is done; I make sure that they get to where they need to be, when they need to be there. But honestly, I don’t know how I do it. At the end of the day, I collapse on the couch and wonder how the heck the day passed and how I actually got them – and myself – from start to finish.”
12 “Making Friends Is Tough”
Chandler D. says that being a stay-at-home-mom can be isolating and that making friends can be very tough.
“I had no idea how isolating being a stay-at-home mom would be. When I was pregnant, I swore that my relationships with my friends wouldn’t change; but, you know how that goes. Your schedule gets so busy and your priorities totally change once the kiddies arrive. When you do have free time, you collapse in a pile and the last thing you want to do is put on a game face, a pair of pants and a bra to socialize with other adults. I do interact with other adults, but it’s usually in play groups, and we can’t have in-depth conversations because we are constantly chasing after our little ones. When we do start to talk about something of substance, someone has to run and grab their kid, and by the time you regroup, the topic has been forgotten. I have found that it’s really tough making friends and meaningful relationships with adults.”
11 “I Lose My Temper, More Than I Like to Admit”
Kelly Davis, a SAHM of a 6- and 2-year-old, says that she struggles with losing her temper.
“I try my best to contain the beast within me; but sometimes, it can’t keep her tucked away. There are three points in the day when I can feel my temper creeping up on me: In the morning, right after school and before dinner, and right around bedtime. During these times of the day, there is just so much going on. I have to make sure everything is taken care of, and both kids are calling my name or arguing; homework needs to be done, lunches need to be packed, baths need to be given… And I am absolutely, completely and totally exhausted. With so many demands on my shoulders, coupled with the fact that I am beyond tired, I snap, lose my temper and sometimes lash out on my kids. I hate it.”
10 “I Feel Like I’m Constantly Being Judged”
Charlotte Smith told me that she feels like she is constantly being scrutinized and judged as a SAHM.
“I don’t know if it’s just paranoia, or if it’s reality, but I feel like I am constantly being judged. I feel like my husband judges me because the house isn’t in perfect order and dinner isn’t always on the table when he gets home from work; I feel like the older, more experienced moms are judging me in playgroups when I don’t hover around my baby, or when I do hover around my baby; I feel like my own mother is judging me when I let my baby cry it at nap time after I have tried everything I can think of, and she still won’t settle, and I am at my wits end and just have to walk away because I feel like I’m going to snap. I know that most of the time, it’s probably me being paranoid, but I do honestly feel like people are judging my abilities as a mother.”
9 “I Feel Like Nothing More Than a Mom”
Lily Q. says that since she became a SAHM a year ago, she feels like she’s lost her identity.
”I never thought that I would ever want to quit my job and stay at home with the kids. Never. I loved my career; and while I love children, I didn’t want to lose my identity when I became a mom. However, my feelings changed when I gave birth to my daughter. I took 12 weeks off to stay home with her, and when my maternity leave was coming to an end, I was beside myself. I couldn’t even fathom leaving my daughter in the care of someone else. We were lucky to have the means, so my husband and I decided that it would be wise for me to leave my career and become a SAHM. Don’t get me wrong; I love being home with my baby girl. However, there are times when I feel like I have completely lost my identity and all I am is a mother.”
8 “I’m A Hot Mess”
Shelly Dupree told me that she feels like she is a hot mess all the time.
“This aspect of being a SAHM actually makes me chuckle, but I don’t think in the ‘ha-ha’ way. I spend so much time shopping for the perfect outfits for my little girls. I make sure that their clothes are perfectly pressed and their outfits are perfectly coordinated, from their hair bows right down to their socks. I spend so much time making sure that they look picture perfect, and then I walk around in sweatpants and a tattered sweatshirt all day. Most of the time, I don’t even put on a bra and my hair is always up in a messy bun. And makeup? What’s makeup? I can’t tell you the last time I put that on. I am a hot mess, and I’m actually OK with that, as long as my girls look adorable! Is that sad?”
7 “I Get Mad At My Husband. A Lot”
Misty Daniels, a stay-at-home mom who carts 5 kids around all day, confessed that she gets mad at her husband more often than she likes to admit.
“I can’t help it. I mean, I know that he works very hard. He’s an amazing father and husband. He provides for us financially, and he’s a great support system. I don’t know what we would ever do without him. However, I can’t help but get mad at him. It infuriates me when I see that the garbage can is overflowing, or his socks and underwear are balled up in his pants when I do the laundry, or when I see him sitting on the couch watching TV while I’m cleaning up dinner and the kids are wrestling and I have to break them up. Dude! Can you step up and lend a hand? It just infuriates me! I mean, I don’t forget to clean the toilet bowl or do the laundry; but he forgets to take out the garbage on a constant basis. And then he has the nerve to tell me that I’m nagging him! Uggg!!!”
6 “I Really Think People Think That I Do Nothing All Day”
Jessie Peters, a SAHM of a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old, told me that she thinks people think that she doesn’t do anything all day.
“I find it funny that people think that I don’t do anything all day. I mean, they really, REALLY don’t think I do anything. Like, what do you think I am doing? Sitting around watching TV? My day includes changing diapers, wiping noses, making sure homework gets done, trying to teach my kids valuable skills and make sure that they become competent, respectful, productive members of society. We go on play dates. We do projects. I build forts and crawl around on my hands and knees. I put on puppet shows. I do so much more in 5 hours of being a SAHM than I ever did working. It just boggles my mind how people think that I don’t do anything all day.”
5 “If I Have To Hear About Pokemon One More Time…”
Shaneeka Morris told me that Pokemon is on the verge of making her go insane, and I had to giggle, because I felt her pain. I feel the same exact way.
“I love my son, I really, really do. And I love when he gets super excited about things. I love to share his excitement, too. But, if I have to hear about Pokemon one more time, I think I am going to lose my mind. It’s all he talks about. From sun up until sun down, that’s ALL I hear about. One night he even came into my room, woke me up from a dead sleep to tell me about a dream he had about Pikachu. What the hell?!? I can’t keep up with it! There are so many characters, and their names are all difficult to read and pronounce. And, you know what? I honestly hate Pokemon! I don’t have the heart to tell my son that, of course, so I just grin and bear it; but on the inside, I die a little each time the name comes up.”
4 “I Cry At Least Once A Day”
Lindsay G. said that since she became a SAHM, she cries at least once a day.
“I was never a crier. Never. I bucked up. Even when the going got really tough, I put on my game face, pulled up my boots and tackled whatever was challenging me head on. I never broke down and cried. That all changed when I became a SAHM. I cry when my kids are sick or in pain and there is nothing I can do to comfort them. When my son throws a huge tantrum because he doesn’t want to wear pants that have a zipper, but all of his non-zipper pants are in the laundry and he has to get on the bus, I walk away and cry. I cry when my husband says that he’s going to be home late from work. It’s all so emotional, and it all lies on my shoulders, and there’s nothing else I can do but cry.”
3 “I Feel Like I’m Out Of Control”
Danielle Stevens said that since she’s become a SAHM, she feels like she is out of control.
“I was always an ‘in control’ type of gal. I had things together. I was the person others looked to when it came to organizing things and getting things done. I held a high-profile job, and I was excellent at it. When I decided to start a family, I also decided that I wanted to leave the workforce so that I could raise my children, with the intention of returning to work when they were all in school full-time. Well, since I have left my job, I feel like I have lost all control. I honestly feel like I have lost all control. I’ll spend nights trying to plan out the perfect week, filled with themed activities and the perfect schedule, but then it all seems to fall apart. I don’t want to wish their youth away, and I know that I will regret saying this, but I can’t wait until they are all in school and I can go back to work!
2 “My Definition of Success Has Changed”
Misty Calhoone confessed that her definition of success has change since she became a SAHM.
“I used to attribute success to scoring a new big client at work, or to completing the new interior design project that I started in my house. Now that I am a full-time SAHM, my definition of success has changed. I consider it a success when my 2-year-old daughter who is potty training stays dry all day. I consider it a success when she actually eats – and fully enjoys – the lunch that I have prepared for her. I find it a HUGE success when all of those successes happen, and I also manage to clean the house, cook dinner and get the laundry done. It’s funny how your idea of success changes when you become a SAHM mom. Everything is relative, I guess.”
1 “It’s Not Always Perfect, But Sometimes, It Really Is”
Tammy DeMico told me that even though being a SAHM isn’t always perfect, sometimes it really is.
“Believe me, there are days when I feel like I am going to pull my hair out before 9am. The kids are battling each other over who got the Lego guy’s head first, or they refuse to put on their coats, even though it’s freezing out. There are times when I just want to crawl back into bed, put the covers over my head and have someone else take care of my kids and my house. However, even though a lot of the time, things aren’t perfect, there are those times when it couldn’t be more perfect. When the kids are happily playing together, or we are enjoying a blissful snuggle, or when there is just so much love in my heart that I feel like I’m going to burst. Those are the times that are absolutely perfect, and it is in those times that I feel absolutely blessed to be a SAHM. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”