After my Husband and I got married, and even occasionally before, we started talking about having a baby right away. We knew that we wanted to enjoy the first year of marriage before even trying, but wasn’t very proactive in preventing it. We, of course, talked about some loose based game plans; some of it being realistic and some of it dreams about how and where we would raise our child. One thing we 100% agreed upon was that we wanted me to stay home the first year to full-time raise our child. Now, let me just say, I never thought in a million years I would even be fortunate enough for that dream to become a reality. So when the opportunity presented itself my Husband and I knew we had to make it happen, at all costs. No matter what.
Now, having been raised by a working Father, I didn’t really have an accurate example of a full-time stay-at-home parent, so my views of a SAHP was a tad glamorized, due to after school specials and television sitcoms. I envisioned all of the great and wonderful things and never really considered the things about it that are a little less enticing. All that said, it has been the single best decision we have ever made, whilst being the biggest life adjustment we have ever made. Ever. That’s not including the financial wreckage that we trudge through, knee-deep, from month to month. Let’s just say, it has not been as simple as staying at home to full-time raise my Son. I am certainly not Florence Henderson. But even Florence Henderson had Alice.
Some things I never read about in my expecting Mommies books, while powering up for this moming adventure…
Some days, you won’t shower. The first two hours of my day are my favorite. I wake up to the beautiful sounds of my Son letting me know he’s ready to start his day. He’s the most talkative he’ll be, he’s giggly and slaphappy, smiley and curious, and I absolutely adore it. So much so, that even when I’m at my most exhausted, I’m almost happy when I hear him stirring. Anyhow, about two hours into his day, he’s ready for his first nap. Now this first nap is the biggest tell for how the rest of the day will pan out. Firstly, he’ll stay down anywhere from 2 hours to 45 minutes. So, there’s really no telling how much ‘me’ time I have. Secondly, I say ‘me’ time, but this is where I have to decide between doing anything for me or doing what needs to be done. My choices usually include: drinking a hot cup of coffee, eating, taking a shower and getting ready (makeup and all! Mommies you know what I mean), dishes, a couple of loads of laundry, a Netflix movie on the couch; because, let’s face it, some days you have to. Do I get some writing done because it’s been ages and even though I get interrupted while in the zone every single time, it’s worth it. Or budgeting, making lists, routine organizing, and the things that really do call for silence and my undivided attention. Go ahead, Mommy, choose. Which will it be? I’ve considered making a Russian roulette type wheel just to make it interesting, but decided against it because I don’t have the time.
You cannot call in sick. And you ALWAYS go to work exhausted. Staying at home with your growing child is your full-time job. More so than any other full-time job. You are 100% around the clock, like a doctor. Therefore, you are always tired. Always. It is extremely easy to get rundown. Making you highly susceptible to getting sick. And god forbid your monthly visitor is being a pill this time around. You must trudge through. You must be the victor in this 5-7 day battle to multitask while your head aches for the ninth hour, your uterus feels like it’s self mutilating, and your nose will not stop running so you’ve shoved a tissue up there like a tampon. Or worse, your nasal passage is so congested that your eye’s and face feel like they’re caught in a vise grip. Not to forget, you have to constantly wash your hands and try your hardest to keep your sweet Angel away from yourself, so he/she doesn’t get sick as well. Because the only thing worse than what you’re going through, is what our Angels go through when we can do nothing about it.
Some days, you wont get out of your jammies. This one is slightly more optional. But any stay-at-home parent knows that some days it seems impossible to even change your clothes. Or, at least, why would you. Now, it’s not like, even when our little ones are up and active we cannot slip away to get dressed. BUT I spend most of my days on a routine of dishes, laundry, changing diapers, making easy-to-hold, easy-to-digest, easy-to-gum meals, for my Son. I’m rocking him to sleep, having playtime that develops his growth and coordination, making beds, wiping down kitchen counters, giving baths, and maybe cleaning a bathroom or two. Most of the time, when my Husband gets home from work, I cannot believe it’s already afternoon. When you’re up so early and you stay so busy on someone else’s routine, you kind of just loose track of reality. So, putting on a pair of jeans just falls by the wayside.
Some days, it’s incredibly isolating. This is one of those, ‘I thought it would be different’ realities about staying at home that I never considered. I have zero friends with children. Aside from family that I can reach out to from time to time, there are no coffee dates to be made. No conversations about how silly our Husbands are, or which methods we use to put our little Angels to bed, no “oh, I know! Me too!” moments. Most of the time we are super strapped for cash and everything bought is an absolute necessity; so, no ‘come on, baby, let’s go buy some designer hand soaps!’ plans for the day. It would be great to have a little more adult conversation from time to time. At times, I’ll realize that it’s been days since I’ve even spoken to anyone but my Son, my cat, and my Husband in person. Sometimes it would be nice to have a friend come over and hang out, while I mom, without thinking it’s boring ’cause she moms too. Which brings me to my next point…
This one is for parents in general, not just stay-at-home parents…
You may loose a friend or two. Having kids absolutely, in every way, takes over your life. I’ve always wondered why people with kids could never muster up a conversation that did not center around their adorable little Angels. They seemed so obsessed and preoccupied with their children. And now I know why. When you have a baby, you almost literally at times, live and breathe said baby. Most likely, there’s nothing else to talk about because chances are nothing non-kid related has happened in the last week. Now, we’re still human, so there are other things to connect about. That said, it’s a bit daunting when the friends you had pre-baby are still spending most of their time in bars and starting their nights at 11 pm. Having parent friends is ideal because they understand that a crazy night out is actually a mild evening out (or even better in), enjoying happy hour at a nearby restaurant. That way, you don’t have far to go if, by some chance, you have to rush home. It’s cheap, a lot more quiet than a bar, and lets face it, at the end of the day, quiet is worth it’s weight in gold. And you’re still home, showered, and in bed by 11 pm. I want a friend that understands that I’ve spent the last 7 months 100%, around the clock, servicing and caring for a tiny little human that needs me to do everything for him. I once had a non-parent friend tell me, “are you gonna start posting nothing but baby pictures now?” Umm, yes. I created an entire perfect human being. All you did was make stir fry and you posted pictures of that. Another non-parent friend said, “can’t you just have someone watch him?” Umm, no, I can’t. Next.
For all of these things (the last one being a bonus) I absolutely LOVE my new life!
No, I don’t love the days that feel so hectic that I push my shower to the end of the day, only to be too exhausted to take it. No, I never have a moment to myself. I carve out special moments and push important things to the back of the line to do things that I love. Like write. Yes, I sometimes feel unattractive when my Husband comes home and I’m still in my jammies (or even worse, my pregnancy nightgown) and my hair looks like a wretched birds nest on the top of my head. And yes, sometimes I feel like a woman who has disappeared into the background because I’m not relevant anymore to certain friends that have no kids. But you know what, I am having the time of my life. I’m so happy that I get emotional, just watching my Little Man feed himself eggs. My Son is life and this life is so worth it. No, I am not Florence Henderson and no, I am not the kind of SAHM that can do it all and still wear a full face of makeup and schedule three lunch dates a week to stay relevant (no judgement, I’m just not it). But I am everything to someone. My best friend is a tiny little man who poops his pants in public and is ALL smiles. He’s the only reason I need and he’s made this life of mine the only life I need to live. He’s given me my dream job; I am his stay-at-home Mom and I love it!