One benefit of being able to document our lives so freely with social media is the ability to look back so easily. Every day I can go back and see for YEARS what I was up to on that particular day. On May 31st I realized I had reached my One Year Anniversary of being a Stay-At-Home mom.
I wanted to share with you five things I have learned over the last year.
1. Staying home is not the easy choice.
When my husband and I first got married and started talking about starting a family, me staying home was always the first choice. And if I am being honest with you, I really thought it was the easier choice. After being a working mom for over three years, I can tell you that both working and staying home are HARD. And I had to choose my hard. For my family, I felt like making the sacrifices we needed to so I could stay home were worth it.
2. Not everyone will understand your choice, and that is ok.
Luckily for me, I’m surrounded with like minded mamas who support and uplift each other, so most days, I feel like I am in the majority. But every once in a while, I will run across someone who will make comments about me being able to laze around, or how my husband has to support me. It never feels good to have your life critiqued or to feel like you are less than because you aren’t bringing home a paycheck.
3. Filling the day is hard.
I don’t know about you, but when I imagined staying home with both of my kids, I had this fantasy in my head of days filled with endless art projects and laughter. But holding their attention is way harder than I ever imagined. Most days I spend hours setting up things to do and they spend about five minutes on it until they become “bored” and move on, leaving me there trying to finish art projects or spending the rest of my day frustrated and cleaning. It is for this reason I will always bow down to the dedicated teachers who spend countless hours planning and getting kids to follow through during the school days.
4. Just because I am home does not mean I want more kids.
Before having children I thought I wanted a huge family. I grew up as an only child. (I have half and step siblings but we never lived together.) I could not imagine ever only having one child. We have two children, and I can not count the number of times I’ve had to explain that we are happy with the two we have and do not plan on having more. Many people will then say, “But you are already home, what’s one more?” Well, it is my sanity for one thing. It is another mouth to feed and body to clothe and college to save for as well. My hat is off to those who have large families, but it is not something I foresee happening for us.
Advice for all of those who mean well: We moms do not want to or need to defend our decisions to have large families or small families, or if we are going to try for that boy or girl so STOP ASKING US!!!! Seriously… stop it!
5. Finding a mom group is important for my mental health.
I stopped working in May of 2017 and did not join a moms group until September of 2017. By then I had let my health and fitness lapse. I was anxious and finding it hard to be motivated by much. I knew my kids deserved more than a mom who barely got through doing the laundry and keeping the house clean. My husband deserved more than a wife who was miserable in her own skin and lonely. Finding a moms group fed my need for companionship and my need for Jesus was key in keeping depression at bay.
As I was writing this I asked my husband to give me a few things he has learned this last year while I have been home, and these are his top three.
1. Better communication
In every relationship communication is key. Now that I am home, we can spend more time together, which has been great but also leads to more opportunity for misunderstandings. We both have to be very conscience about how we communicate and clear up miscommunication quicker.
2. We had been living with false assumptions of each other for the last 6-7 years.
One day while grocery shopping together, we discovered that we both preferred white bread. We rarely buy bread but when we do, we have always gone with wheat. I’m sure mostly it was for health reasons, but after so many years we had just assumed it was because the other person preferred wheat bread. Then one day while making our bed together we realized we both had been sleeping with a flat sheet because we thought that was what the other person wanted. Both very small and silly things to find out, but it really opened our eyes to what things we could have been doing or saying simply because we assumed that was what the other person wanted.
3. We both have similar struggles when it comes to fitness and food.
We both want that ideal body and to be fit. But when the rubber meets the road, we both find it hard to have discipline and self-control with foods that are not the best. Staying consistent in the gym is just hard with our schedule and the kids’ schedules, so we end up putting ourselves on the back burner.
Maybe you are reading this on your lunch break at work feeling guilty because when you get off from work you will immediately go home, start dinner, and start the bed time process, feeling like you are missing it all. Or maybe you have been home with your kids from the very beginning, but wonder what it would be like if you still had a regular day job to go to.