10.07.2015

Real Talk: Being a Stay at Home Mom


I'm not sure I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom. There I said it and to be honest I've said it about once a day for the past few months.  The idea of going back to work has been floating around my head so much lately but I can't really pinpoint why I think I want to make this change. If you're new here or need a refresher you can read my post on deciding to stay home here

Don't get me wrong I love my kids and I love spending time with them but I don't know if this job is for me.  Lately I've been feeling like I'm missing something or I need something more in my life.  Some days I find myself stressed out over the most ridiculous things.  Some days I'm not sure I have it in me to save Sir topham hat from a burning building for the 100th time or play trucks in the dirt.  Some days I just really want to use a bathroom by myself or eat a meal without sharing. Some days I just want to talk to another adult about anything other than kids.  Some days I want to get dressed up and wear heels.

Then I start to think these things and talk about them and I start to feel so guilty. I start to feel guilty that I want to work. Guilty that I don't love every moment of every day. Guilty that I wish for alone time. Guilty because so many woman want to stay home and I'm not grateful enough. I thought Catholic guilt was bad but it has nothing on Mom guilt. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.

I also never realized how much of an identity I would lose by not working anymore. I didn't even have a crazy successful career but when people ask me what I do I sometimes don't feel good enough saying "oh I'm home with the kids".  The first thing they usually ask me is "Do you think you'll go back to work? You want to go back right?"  I never know what to say to this.  What's the right answer? What answer do they want to hear so they don't judge my decision?  I usually give a "oh I definitely think I'll go back I'm just not sure when yet" and I'm usually met with a "that's good"  and the topic is changed and I'm left feeling slightly uncomfortable.  Staying at home is not the norm where I live so I can't really tell what people think after I tell them this.  

Lastly I feel so far removed from my working mom friends. I still love them but I feel like our lives are so different.  I think some of them think I go to Starbucks and the mall everyday and gallivant around with my easy carefree life. Then I see their pictures on instagram having cocktails in NYC while I'm unshowered and covered in baby food and dirt and I think Wow your life is so glamorous and successful and I sulk while I drink my wine out of a plastic cup. But I know that's not the case because they might be putting on fake smiles and pretending to be having fun when they wish they could trade places with me. 

The grass isn't always greener. I know that. 

I'm hoping I can find some peace with my current situation or find an opportunity that I could make work with my family's situation. To be honest I don't know if I could leave my babies all day but at the same time getting to be just me for a few hours a day might be good for me and make me a better mom. I don't know.  I don't know what the right answer is. 

If you made it to the bottom way to go... sorry it's not the most cohesive post but I just had to get my thoughts down.   Any other stay at home moms feel this way?  Any working moms feel they are better moms with time away from their babies?   Not trying to start and drama because being a mom is tough no matter what I just love to hear other perspectives on the issue.

Thanks Friends!






25 comments :

  1. I think about this all the time already and they're only 14 weeks! I'm lucky that I can still work and stay home, but it isn't easy at all trying to do both. And some days I wonder which I would choose if I had to pick- working full time or home full time. I love my creative outlets and love having a break from being a "mom." Don't feel guilty about it at all!! They'll turn out great no matter what you do :)

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  2. Yes, yes, yes. I just started staying home in August and while it's very normal in Texas for women to do so, I do feel sometimes like, "Why did I make this decision?" I had a successful (albeit busy and time-consuming) career and while I don't miss THAT, I do miss putting on makeup, feeling like I did something with my day and feeling like I contributed financially. But on the other end of that spectrum, I do enjoy being at home with my baby and I know he's enjoying being at home, as well. It's a tough balance. I also think some (not all) working moms -- and I was one of them two months ago who thought this -- thought that staying at home was easy as pie. But some days, like yesterday, my husband gets home and I just hand the baby to him and burst into tears in my room. Being a SAHM is no joke. But you're right: working full-time and missing your babies is equally hard, just in a different way. Mom-ing all around is no easy thing, working or staying home!

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  3. I think many of us feel the same way as you - both the conflict and the guilt. And I'm sure many working moms also feel that same conflict and guilt. It's just not easy!! I so wish there were more part-time challenging opportunities for smart, hard working moms like you and me who want the best of all worlds. Hang in there and know that even if you decide to go back part time, you don't have to commit to forever!

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  4. Although I'm not in your shoes, I think it's safe to say that any mom, no matter if they stay at home, or they work, struggles with this. I struggle thinking about it and I dont even have kids yet! It's a shame that people ask those questions, and that there's a level of judgement attached to it, because realistically, it's none of their business what your plans are unless you want to share that. But also, sometimes people are just trying to connect and not trying to offend, but because it's sensitive to you, it comes off as judgment.
    Either way, I think you need to do whatever is best for your mental health and your family. Maybe you could do something part time if that's possible, just to see how it would feel and that might help you decide. Whatever you DO decide, you have a support network, in your real life, and here, to help you through!

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  5. Just a few years ago I was a carefree NYC working woman, and now I stay at home in a not so glam New England town. Some parts of the transition were easy, like knowing the work I'm putting in is rewarding with someone that I love deeply, rather than someone's bottom line. But I agree, it's so hard to give all of yourself to that. I recently got a sitter 3x a week for an hour at a time to run and do whatever and it's done wonders. I'm also planning on coming up with a plan for an eventual return to some kind of work. When it's hard, I tell myself that this phase isn't forever and that it will pass.

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  6. Yes! I have been home since 2012, now have two babies and this Fall it hit HARD if I was making the right choice in staying home. I think what helps me most is talking to my husband, scheduling me time away/alone for an hour or more, date nights with hubby, surrounding myself with positive women (a lot from insta/blogs!) and getting out of the house. I feel like groundhogs day with the dishes and sometimes I let them sit, so I can quietly enjoy a cup of coffee while baby naps and toddler watches a show. It is certainly a gut/heart decision on what is best for you and your family, and for me, I too keep coming back to--I just can't imagine not being with them all day most days. As hard as some times are, I know that the good outweighs! Silly things like the other night, I just randomly packed up and took the kids to a park at 6pm…and I met a new mommy friend! Things like that really make a world of a difference. Mom groups aren't exactly my thing, but mom friends are! I also suggest Momma Zen & Desperate: Hope for moms who need to breathe. Both great in their own way…You tube is great to get ideas of what to do with your kids too. Date your kids is one thing I'm going to start doing--appreciating each one separately! I'm always here if you ever want to chat; we mommas need each other!! Hope you feel better about everything soon. I juuuust came out of my little funk. xox

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  7. Oh friend, do not let that mama guilt get to you for one minute! Staying at home with one baby let alone two is TOUGH work and you absolutely deserve some "me" time. I feel the same way about wanting a job to have an identity beyond being a mom and wife and that is something you should feel good about and be happy if an opportunity comes along! I'm convinced motherhood is all about sustainment. You have to take care of yourself in order to be a good mom for those cute kiddos. Have you considered sending them to a Mother's Morning Out program a couple days a week? We were looking into that versus daycare for R and they are a great option if you can find a good one. There is nothing wrong with getting some help and that is something I've had issues coming to terms with (I still am) but I think having a few hours to yourself will help so much when it comes to really enjoying those moments with the boys, even if they are stressful and chaotic. Email me if you ever want to talk or de-stress, we've all been there!

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  8. I can completely understand everything in this post! I am working part time (M, W and half days on F) and am home with Cam Tuesdays and Thursdays. The days I'm home with him are the most exhausting lol! It is tough and I couldn't imagine having 2 boys to watch! I feel like the part time situation works well for me because I still get time with him during the week, but I also have work days where I feel as though I'm communicating with adults an using my brain. My mom and MIL are able to watch him on the days that I work so I have the house to myself as well which is so helpful! I can also get house chores done and run errands. If there's a way you can go back to work and still have a flexible schedule, that may be a good transition back. Don't feel guilty!!! All moms understand this feeling! xoxo

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  9. Oh it is so tough on both sides of the fence! I'm a working mom but I've lamented being one on my blog a few times. When I stayed home for the first six weeks of Sophie's life I thought I was going to go nuts there was no structure and I needed that. But the days that I get to stay home with Sophie are too few and far in between. I feel like she's growing up right before my eyes and I rarely get to see it.

    While we chose for us both to work, we've chosen to work opposite schedules, meaning not only do I not get to see my child that often, I don't get to see my husband either. I completely understand why you chose to be a stay at home mom, and while I can completely relate to how tough it is to be a working mom, I don't know what it's like to be a stay at home mom. I don't think your feelings are invalid or wrong in anyway.

    Is there possibly a way you could be part time at a job? We couldn't afford daycare when Sophie was born which is why we continued working opposite schedules.

    Oh and for those moms living it up in NYC, why pay so much for a cocktail that you can just get cheaper at home? Just trying to cheer you up mama! You'll find your way soon enough on what's best for everyone.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

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  10. I am a working mom, and honestly, I think it makes me a better mom and wife. When I had my first child I begged my husband to let me stay home, but it just wasn't feasible at the time (mainly because I carry all of our insurance benefits, because he is self-employed). I wrote a whole blog post on it, because I feel the same guilt for NOT being with my kids all the time. But in the end, I think it is best for all of us. They love going to school, they love their friends, and I honestly don't feel like I am missing out on watching them grow up at all. I am lucky to have a job the is flexible and allows me to work from home if they are sick, and go to their special events at school during the day, but no matter what situation one is in (working in the house or working out of the house), its hard to find balance. I think your feelings are completely normal, and I know I would feel the same way if I was home all day. I hope you can find the right answer for your family. Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you ever have questions about the working mom role!

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  11. Okay, so number one: DO NOT feel guilty for feeling this way - it's totally normal.

    Okay, now that we've established that, please know that everyone mothers differently. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Don't let other people judge you for how you're feeling.

    Now, as a working mom, I can tell you - I much prefer it this way, most of the time. I think I would go insane if I was home all the time, and I only have Abbie! I love her dearly, but sometimes she makes me insane. Plus, she is very much a child of routine - she likes going to daycare, likes the other kids there, and just craves consistency. It's the better option for us (and the necessary one, you know how expensive this area i).

    And I'm going to say the thing moms aren't supposed to say.... I don't really miss her while I'm at work. I know, you would think I would... but I'm busy! There isn't enough room in my brain to think about missing her. It was obviously harder when I first went back to work, but now? Nope. The photos of her on my desk make me smile, not sad. I 10000% trust the daycare she's in, so I'm sure that make a difference too. I know she's taken care of, I know she's having fun, and I look forward to picking her up at the end of the day - it's the best part of my day. She and I are HAPPY to see each other, and I think if I stayed home I would get frustrated a lot more often. It's just our relationship and our personalities. She's VERY independent and needs that time away from us, and I think it makes the time we do have more special.

    Whew, okay. Long comment. But seriously, don't let guilt keep you from doing something, if it's what you want. Your family will adjust. A happy mom is the best mom.

    And I'm around for you to pick my brain should you need it. HUGS, mama!

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  12. I can only imagine how tough a decision it is. I do know that you shouldn't feel guilty. Being a stay at home is amazing, but it also is hard ass work. I used to think I wanted to stay home, as I have gotten older I have turned more towards continuing to work. Having an identity outside of being a mom, having my "own" life so to speak. Ultimately, whatever you decide will be whats best for you and your family.

    Maybe when I have kids we can start our own business? Kids at your house a couple days and mine the other? The one without the kids does the work an then we switch? If only there was a job out there like that!

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  13. Note: I should add, a job that doesn't require us selling the latest fad products to friends, neighbors, etc

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  14. Are our brains & hearts the same!? I'm only 8 months in & have 1 baby at home but, I think no matter what, it's a hard adjustment. During the Summer Matt & I tossed around the idea of Mother's Day Out for Jack & then decided against it for whatever (dumb!) reason. Then, right at the beginning of September nothing really bad happened while we were home but, I had just hit a wall. I needed a break. I was tired and exhausted. I was longing for that 45 min drive to & from work in bumper to bumper traffic just so I could have some "me" time. I wanted a guaranteed lunch break and 2 uninterrupted meals (I ate breakfast & lunch at work). I didn't have some crazy awesome career but, where I worked I was there for 7 years & had kind of "grown up" with these ladies - they were a sounding board for me, big sisters who helped me through things, we vented to each other, had inside jokes... and then suddenly it's all gone! So, in early September after breaking down one night and tired Matt said, "let's find a MDO. We'll make it fit in the budget but, you need a break and we're going to do this." And so, we did! It was really hard finding a mdo that took kids under 1 year (which made me feel SO guilty) but, we found one! They had just started that week & we went to check them out. I loved the place & the people. It helped that I knew someone else that takes her kids there too! Jack has only actually been to "school" twice (today makes the 3rd time) because of him being sick last week but, I must say in just the 2 days he's gone it's been such a game changer! I've had time to get SO much stuff done & feel accomplished while not feeling like I'm taking away from Jack. I felt super guilty about even thinking about a MDO for him but, after these last few days I know in my heart it was & is the best thing for us all. I've been able to grocery shop, run errands, sit and watch a show if I wanted - whatever I needed or wanted to do. I realize this isn't getting out of the house & working with people (but, I am working on my Etsy shop too!) but, it has truly been such a help & blessing to us! Oh & funny thing... another girl I know who also stays at home asked "So what did you do with all of your free time while He was at school!?" on the first day Jack went - I hit the ground running sister!! Sort of felt like it was the old me on an extra long lunch break running errands! LOL! I hope this helps. I know being a SAHM is not as easy as people think it is - but, why do they pay big bucks for others to watch their kids!? It's not easy! LOL! But, I'm at the point where I need a break but, I can't go back to work full-time. There's no way, I could't do it after being home with Jack full time so, this is our happy medium. Ok... signing off! Excuse the rambling novel! You'll make a great decision though whatever you decide!!

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  15. I give so much credit to SAHMs because I SUCK at it. I am a teacher, so I get my fair share of time at home with the kid (including two months during the summer and numerous week-long vacations throughout the year), and I am always happy to go back to work. I feel guilty but I know that my kids do better in school because that's the type of kids they are. I am also at planning, so lots of days are filled with the same thing and the same activities....I feel more guilty about that than wanting to send them back to school! So, kudos to you for whatever you decide. :)

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  16. Dear Lord I really did write you a novel! Oomg!! Do I not get enough adult time or what!? Anyways! What is the Catholic guilt you mentioned!? I'm Catholic so I thought that was funny!!

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  17. I've been having the same feelings. I'm so grateful that I am able to stay home but my daughter is 21 months and I think she's almost ready to be in a school environment. I'm not pregnant with a second yet and I kind of miss teaching. I was good at it and had work friends and I truly liked it. But on the other hand...it adds extra stress to both parents and would I really be able to leave her in daycare? Would I regret my decision? It's really hard.

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  18. Sending you big *hugs*! I'm not even a mom yet, but I go back and forth all the time on whether I'm cut out to be a working mom or a stay at home mom. I've always told my husband that the perfect balance would be a part time job, it gets you out of the house and gives you responsibility and a reason to put on makeup and heels, but it also doesn't consume you so you have days where you can be home with the kiddos. Don't feel guilty for one second! I'm sure whatever decision you make will be the right one for you <3

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  19. This is such a great post and I completely understand where you are coming from! I feel this way at least once a week, but trust me, as the kids get older it gets easier. You interact with other adults (moms) more and that networking is so important. I have learned so much about how they all approach this situation and why. I'm so impressed with all of the new careers a lot of them have found out of being a mom and trying to make the work/mom situation work for them. Could you go back to real estate part time? Do not feel guilt at all for this!!!

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  20. Natalie, you are NOT alone! I have had a job since the age of 14 and work was always part of my identity (and something Im kinda prideful about, womp womp) But when I went back to work only 2 months after having my first daughter I swear something died within me and I vowed I would stay home longer with any subsequent baby we were blessed with. So when we brought home daughter 2 last July I finally committed to a year maternity leave. And it was NOT what I expected at all. I felt like I failed my eldest when we couldnt stick to a homeschool preschool schedule (Im a preschool teacher!) and then some days I felt completely stressed out and out of my element. But when my year was up I was hesitant to go back to work, and God willing I have stayed home still and its SO MUCH BETTER! It definitely takes time getting used to it and making a new normal schedule with two littles is hard enough as is. I still have occassional days where Im "off" but I feel so much more confident in myself as a SAHM, that maybe that is the difference from this year and last? Or having a 15 mo and a 4.5 yo is the difference, Im not sure. I do know that everything will work out for the best, whatever that is you decide is right for you and your family. Take care!!!

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  21. You should not have any guilt over this. The truth is that in order to be the best mom to your boys you also need to make yourself happy. If that means a little time away from home then so be it! I always lament about how badly I want to stay at home but the truth is. I don't live in a large house, a lot of my friends don't stay at home and I am not sure I would like it all that much either! However I don't have an option at this point which is what makes the struggle so hard I think. Plus I commute - which as you saw today on my snap - it's gross. haha

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  22. Wow I appreciate your honesty SO much!! I don't have kids yet but hope to soon and I tell myself every day "I could NEVER be a stay at home mom!". This is solely because of how hard it is. My sister is a SAHM and her work is FAR harder than my work as a PA will be. Bless you and all the other SAHM's because you have so much more patience than I could ever have. My favorite quote is "Comparison is the thief of joy" and it is SO true. I've found myself multiple times looking at marriages that looked so perfect on social media only to find out the husband or wife was having an affair and they got divorced 2 months later. When I have kids I'm sure my decision to go back to work will be much harder, but this is all to say that you should NOT feel guilty about either decision. Both decisions benefit your family and they will appreciate you for it!! Xo

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  23. I love how honestly you have shared your thoughts. I too am a SAHM, and I love it! I think a big factor of that is my community though. I have a great group of mom friends that I see every morning Monday thru Friday. Sometimes we even get together in the afternoons too. I get my adult interaction and a little bit of a break when we all meet up. I highly recommend putting yourself out there and joining some mom groups!

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  24. I've been thinking of this post for awhile. It really struck a cord with me. I've been at home for 8 years now and those first 2 were the loneliest of my life. I never wanted to go back to work then, but it was a hard time. Recently I've thought of it more and more because my job was my creative outlet, it was very gratifying, and it was super social. But it is also stressful. The thought of giving myself to a job and then coming home and dealing with the whining and fighting that comes at the end of a long day makes me think twice. I do think a piece of me isn't currently being fullfilled, I also think I don't mind waiting until it's easier for me to fullfill it - if that makes sense. I really admire mothers who can find the perfect balance (or a darn good one). And I do think the balance is different for everyone and I hope you find yours. I think one of the hardest things about being a stay at home mom is that there isn't the results you'd see in some other work choices, the projects are different, the feedback is different, the expectations are different. Don't be too hard on yourself, don't feel guilty in any way for your feelings, and I hope you find something that works for you!

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  25. I have some friends where a couple days of work per week helped them a lot :). A couple days to talk to adults, couple days to dress up, but days for home and kiddos too! You can find an all day 3s and 2s class/care... Do it lady!

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