I remember my mom defending herself and her decision to stay at home with all five of her kids regularly. So many people, including her so-called friends would scoff at the idea, often saying things like, “So, that’s all you do?” or “With all that spare time you can (fill in the blank – bake sale, volunteer, clean up…).”
The comments always left her feeling diluted and disregarded, like she was at the bottom of the barrel. It was assumed that she was either too lazy to get a “real” job or not smart enough to work outside of the home.
I Didn’t Know What a Stay-at-Home Mom Went Through Until I Became One Myself
As a kid, I didn’t always understand what my mom went through. Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I feel as if I understand so much of her pain and what she went through. And to be honest, thinking about it breaks my heart.
Any stay-at-home mom will tell you that working at home is more than just difficult, it’s exhausting. You’re constantly on-the-move and there is never an end in sight when it comes to your to-do list. Just when you finish all the “must-dos” you approach the land of all the “should-dos.” Another reason why those pinned posts on Pinterest don’t seem to ever get done!
Why Being a Stay-at-Home Mom Is Hard Work
As I take a rare moment to myself to write this blog, I’m reminded that I should really be doing the laundry that is piled up in the corner of my bedroom. I’m anticipating that my three-month-old son will wake up at any moment, causing my writing speed to decrease tremendously. I know I will then be forced to type with one hand so I can nurse him back to sleep. I’m noticing the clock and realizing that dinner needs to be made, which means I need to clean the dishes first.
And that’s just what immediately comes to mind.
For the past five years I’ve been at home with my kids full-time, and here’s what I’ve learned about it being difficult.
- A Stay-At-Home Mom Is a Working Mom
- You Are Always on Call
- Your Work Often Goes Unnoticed
This distinction, while often used at schools and in friend groups, does not hold up to the realities of staying home. If you stay at home with your children, you are working around the clock.
Unlike other jobs that allow you to punch out when you’re done or leave your work at the office, moms never do. We’re up for the 2 a.m. feedings and in the kitchen at 5 a.m. at the insistence of our family wanting waffles for breakfast before school. Even when you’re “out” with your friends, your phone is within easy reach, waiting to be summoned home by crying babies or runny noses.
I would venture that at least 75% of what I do each day is completely unrecognized by my family. That’s not counting my five-year-old son, of course, who notices everything. So much of a stay-at-home mom’s work goes on behind the scenes, allowing the home to operate smoothly. It isn’t until you leave that your work finally gets recognized. Even a two-hour absence can create utter chaos in my home. I hate coming home to it but love knowing that finally my husband sees what I do all day!
While being a stay-at-home mom is hard, I would also like to acknowledge that being a mom, period, is difficult. Whether you stay-at-home or work a 9 to 5 only to jump right into mom duties the moment you walk through that door, you go above and beyond each and every day.
Moms everywhere, you are awesome.