As a stay at home mom, I feel like I’m constantly defending what I do to others. It’s really lame that I do that because I don’t owe anyone an explanation, but it’s also really lame that people act in a way that I feel I need to fill out a timecard. Nobody is judged more than stay at home moms! Truth.
I’ve been staying at home with my daughter for 8 months (since she was born), following an unemployed period of about 9 months. I found out I was pregnant when we moved to Washington, and I had a hard time finding a teaching job when I was knocked up. It’s not lost on me that I’m lucky I am able to stay at home while my husband works. Here’s a sneak peek into my daily life now. I’m going to do a 24 hour snapshot, since being a mommy is a never ending job!
7:30 am- Husband is leaving for work, and hands me a freshly diapered baby who is screaming and hungry. I feed her in bed, and try to put her back down, so I can eek out another half hour of sleep. 8:30 am- Baby Jocelyn is up for the day and so am I. I take her downstairs and let her play on the floor next to her toy chest while I check my email. I prepare a cup of coffee and find a Clif bar for breakfast.9:00 am- Baby is at the age where she is almost walking but not yet, and crawling super fast. I keep my eye on her and make sure doesn’t unplug anything and put it in her mouth. We practice walking (I take her arms and lead her across the floor), we practice saying “dog” and “dad” and we giggle a lot. I take some pictures and text them to my husband and my mom. If she learns something new, I take a video on my iPhone.
10:00 am- Jocelyn’s hungry for a meal so I put her in her high chair with some Cheerios. She picks at them and throws most of them on the floor, then falls asleep in her high chair. I debate vacuuming them up, but since she’s sleeping I decide to skip it. I move her into her pack and play and cross my fingers that she gets at least an hour nap in.
Now that the baby’s down I (hopefully) have an hour to myself. I glance around and take a mental inventory of what needs to be done and can be done quietly. Need: dishes need to be put away and the dishwasher reloaded, laundry needs to be put away, bills need to paid. Want: work on my blog and answer some emails. I determine that I can do one need and one want but I need to do the need first. I put the dishes away and refill the dishwasher, and sit down to answer some emails. I get midway
through the first one and…
10:45 am- DING DONG! I silently curse myself for not putting a sign on the door for the UPS man. The dog comes downstairs barking and the baby wakes up and starts screaming. I collect my husband’s work package and a package of blogging review mail and grab the baby. I add the makeup package to my ever growing pile and remind myself that if I get a chance to do my makeup today I need to try something out of my review pile
11:00 am- The baby’s up and I want to shower so I put her in her walker in our bedroom and pull it halfway into the doorway of the bathroom where I’ll be showering so I can see her. She will only be entertained like this for a few minutes so I hustle up.While in the shower, I try to test out a new shampoo and conditioner, as well as a hair mask. I take mental notes on how they feel and smell so I can write about them later. I alternately wash my hair and poke my head out from behind the shower curtain and play peek-a-boo.11:15 am- Without fail, every time I shower she blows out her diaper. I could place a bet on it. I get out of the shower and while wearing a towel, I change her and dress her for the day. She is ready to move and groove and I still need to get dressed. I try to place her in her walker again, and she wants nothing to do with it. I apply makeup with one hand while I hold her in my other arm. Foundation, a dab of powder, a nude sparkly cream eyeshadow, one sloppy line of liquid liner, one sweep of mascara, and a bright lip. The kiddo has tried to grab each of these out of of my hand and has a dirty hand with sparkles all over it so I wash her hands. I put my wet hair in a messy ponytail and go back to the play area.12:00 pm- We’re both antsy and it’s raining, so no outdoor walk today. I decide I want to take her to the YMCA where there is free daycare for kids while parents work out, but remember that it’s only from 9 am-12 pm and then 4 pm-8:30 pm. Drat. I feed her sweet potatoes and avocado and pack some baggies of goldfish and decide to head to one of our town’s three double decker malls. I can clock at least a couple miles of walking in (and maybe some bargain shopping!)1:00 pm- We arrive at the mall to walk. Part way into my first lap I get sucked into J.C. Penney because I want to check out the new Buxom lipsticks. I swatch a couple things on my hand and add them to my mental wish list. My husband and I have a weekly “allowance” and I don’t want to blow mine today. I walk a few more laps, and stop for an iced tea for some fuel.
Jocelyn starts screaming so we go home.3:00 pm- The YMCA’s childcare will be open in an hour. I know I should go, but we were just on an outing and the baby hasn’t pooped yet today, and I’m not sure if they will change her diaper if she goes there. (excuses, anyone?) I’m really tired and want to take a nap because I was up three times last night. My husband will be home in two hours. I decide to tidy up the house while the baby crawls around and plays in her toy chest. I look up my eMeals account and start prepping for whatever dinner will be.
4:00 pm- Jocelyn has a huge blowout and I have to change her out of her outfit. I put the “mess” in the laundry. I call my mom to chat while Jocelyn plays on the carpet since I haven’t had any adult conversation yet today. I get teary because I miss my family (they live in Wisconsin), but most of all, regular human contact with adults and as soon as we hang up I start thinking about going back to work. Or joining a mom’s group. I choose work because the mom’s groups attract a lot of crazies. I check Craigslist and all the teaching job websites I know about, and find nothing. I make a list of all the things I’m good at and/or like to do (teaching, reading, english, blogging, makeup, fitness, cooking) and start pairing combinations.teaching + english= teaching english. Fun!! I’d have to go back to school though, so…meh. Maybe later in life…next!blogging + makeup= blogging about makeup. I already do this. Maybe I should monetize my blog and try to use it as a full time job. Sounds hard to figure out. I should buy an ebook. I google “making money blogging” and put an ebook into my Nook library. Now I officially have 22 unread magazines and books in my Nook. I fantasize about a whole day of reading all to myself!Mike calls me and tells me he will be home at 5 pm but will have to work overtime tomorrow. I am quickly reminded of his erratic schedule and why I can’t work right now. I am simultaneously filled with guilt as my grinning, squealing little girl crawls into my lap and starts pulling at my hair and face. I should feel blessed every single second I get to stay home with my baby daughter!5:00 pm- Mike gets home but has to do inventory for his job on the computer. I am antsy for some time to myself but I stay home and crawl on the floor with the baby for a few minutes. I look around and feel a little guilty that there are Cheerios crushed into the carpet…I am a stay at home mom after all, and should have done a better job cleaning.Mike comes and joins us to play. I get away for a few minutes and check out my favorite blogs. Here are the blogs I read daily:The Freckled FoxMeg O. on the GoIntrubeauty15 Minute BeautyThe Wonder ForestI also go into my blogging “drafts” and make sure something is set to publish for the next day. I check out the post I had up today and spend a few minutes promoting it via social media.6:00 pm- Supper time! I finish making dinner and everyone eats. Mike feeds Jocelyn so I can go to the gym. To clear my mind, I drive around town for 20 minutes, enjoying the solitude before my workout. I do Couch to 5k day three at the gym before coming home. While I’m not totally thrilled with my body 8 months after baby, I’ve come a long way. I have a road ahead of me to get where I want to go, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.8:00 pm- Mike is going to bed and Jocelyn isn’t tired. We play some more, even though I’m exhausted. Finally, she gets pooped out when I hold her and we watch Youtube videos together. 10:00 pm- Wearily, I go to bed, knowing that I will be up at least twice in the night. Little girl is cutting four teeth right now. Sometimes, I also stay up late just to have more alone time, even if I’m tired. Any time I want to blog, it’s because I stayed up late past my kiddo’s bedtime to do so.
Being a mom is a hard job that requires lots of sacrifice. There is no pay check. I get paid in smiles, baby kisses, giggles, and hugs. We’re not rich or poor, but I feel like a millionaire when I spend time with my child and get to BE THERE when she learns new things.
Although full of sacrifice, I know these years of staying at home with my daughter and any future kids will be worth it. I want a beautiful life for my kids and for the time being, that means staying at home. Someday, it will mean working to provide family vacations, sports and music, and college.
For my family growing up, providing a beautiful life meant that both of my parents worked to provide for us. I think that’s honorable too and I do look forward to the day I go back to work. Being a living example of working hard to earn money for your family is something I want for my future.
I challenge you, mom or not, to brush off the negativity. There will always be people who don’t agree with what you’re doing, or think you could be doing a better job. There will always be people who are jealous. There will always be haters. Something I am focusing on more is doing what I have to do for my family, and not looking back. “Do whatever you have to do, and do it for you…”
Do you stay at home with kids? I’m curious what my readership does for a living. Please share in the comments!