MOTHERHOOD: LIFE AS A STAY AT HOME MOM

For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Sure I have/had dreams of a career and I’m really dang proud of the career I had up until this point. But something deep down always longed to be at home with my babies some day. I truly feel so lucky that the time for me to be able to stay home is now.


Growing up, my mom was a SAHM. I can honestly say I had a charmed childhood. My parents gave us the greatest gift of having one parent home and both parents always involved. Having my mom home with us meant everything and I think it’s the reason I always wanted to be a SAHM. And my mom made it look so easy and glamorous.


My experience so far though is not what I expected. Now that I’m in the thick of it myself, it is the hardest job and the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. What a blessing to be able to spend all day with my babies, watching them grow and learn and become independent little humans. As much as I love it though, the days are long and sometimes lonely. I have no idea how my mom had so much patience and energy and how she made it look so easy. And she did it with FIVE kids!!


The first couple of weeks were really hard for me. I cried a lot and questioned my decision every day. Most of my days consisted of managing one meltdown after another as the kids alternated between wanting my undivided attention. I just couldn’t figure out how to juggle two kids, their schedules and finding time for Rob, let alone myself. And many days I still struggle with this, but slowly but surely I am learning patience and learning how to manage feeling frazzled.


I think it’s important that I share the good parts and the challenging parts of being a SAHM. Being a mom is HARD. Society expects a lot out of moms and there is very little appreciation for the work we do. (This really is true for parents in general). Below I’m sharing the parts I love and the parts that have really challenged me as a person and as a mom. And I’m teaming up with fellow SAHM (who has become a dear friend) Taylor from Living Taylored who is sharing her experience being a SAHM. Check out her experience here.


WHAT I LOVE

My favorite and most obvious reason for loving being a SAHM is the opportunity to be home with my babies. What a blessing to be able to spend all day at home with them, playing, laughing, and watching them grow. I truly feel so blessed to be Lilly and Teddy’s mom and I feel even more blessed to be in a position where one parent can stay home. I’m hoping that as we continue to grow and get ourselves into a routine I can be better at planning out fun activities for us. I have always envisioned taking my kids to parks, the zoo, the art museum, Lake Erie and the islands, visiting daddy at work – all the normal things we used to do before Covid. Now I just have to be more creative with activities that keep us busy and get us out of the house (we do a lot of driving around town, visiting the river and picking up curbside orders).


I love that by being home, I can focus my attention on my kids. When I was working it was exceptionally difficult to disconnect from parenting while at work and from working while at home. I constantly felt guilty that I wasn’t present at my job or as a parent. Being a SAHM means I can focus one hundred percent on the needs of my babies and not have to worry about extra responsibilities.


Another aspect that I enjoy about being at home full time is being able to take care of the house. For as long as I can remember I have loved cleaning and organizing. It gives me great satisfaction to be able to play house all day. Although, I will say it requires extra effort to keep things tidy with two kiddos in tow. I saw something on Instagram that said cleaning with kids is like raking leaves during a tornado and boy that is the truth! But, I’m beginning to let go of the mess and allow for it. It’s messy because my kids are young and they are exploring and learning. As a colleague said to Rob: our house right now is a home that is lived in and really, what more should you want for your home?!

With all that is going on in the world with COVID, being able to stay at home and not be in a position that requires our kids to be in daycare or school gives me great peace of mind. I know 90% of parents don’t have this option so I can only imagine the mental and emotional worry parents are going through right now. I know myself and I know that worry would weigh heavy on me. So I’m thankful I can keep my babies close for a little while longer before Lilly has to go to school.

BIGGEST CHALLENGES

Being a SAHM comes with so many challenges that I never expected. Whether it’s feeling lonely, feeling exhausted, feeling the weight and responsibility of raising two littles, or sticking to a strict budget, there are so many aspects of this role that surprised me. I’m thankful for my mom, my sister and the many moms I’ve come to know on Instagram who have listened, supported and encouraged me. These women have most certainly gotten me through some difficult moments and now more than ever I think it’s important to have a community of moms who you can lean on for support.


The biggest challenge so far for me is finding time for self care. Some days I feel like I have zero time for myself. And just to be clear, a five minute shower does not count as self care or time alone. I thought staying home would give me so much more time to work on my blog and grow my brand, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m lucky if I get five minutes a day to spend taking pictures and styling outfits. Usually it happens with a lot of bribery and an upset child or two (which really isn’t that fun then).
Another hard part about being a SAHM is thinking you have so much time to get things done but you don’t. Most days you barely have time to eat, shower and use the bathroom. You do whatever you need to do to keep the kids engaged and happy and that means you go from one activity to the next, many times at a very rapid pace. I’ve had to really lower my expectations of what I want to get done (I’m talking blogging, decorating, working out, cleaning the dishes, laundry, vacuuming the floors, organizing the kids clothes, rearranging the playroom, etc). I make a list of what I HAVE to get done for the week and try to do one thing on that list each day. I remind myself daily that my kids are only this little for a fleeting moment and all the chores can wait.

Meal times are exceptionally stressful for me, with lunch being the hardest. Trying to make lunch for Lilly and me and keep Teddy occupied and keep the dog from eating everyone’s food is enough to send me over the edge some days. And usually by this point in the day I’m exhausted, which just adds to the stress and chaos. Sometimes I feel guilty that I watch the clock like a hawk waiting for nap time to arrive.


Despite some of these challenges, I’m learning so much about myself and how to be a better person and a better mom. I’m learning so much about patience and grace and letting things go. I’m learning that in order to take care of my kids, I first have to take care of myself. Sometimes that doesn’t always happen, but when days allow for me to slow down and take a break, I take them.

I’m learning that the days are not perfect. But they consist of perfect moments. I love watching my kids play and learn and use their imagination. I love watching them figure out a new skill or understand a new concept. I love taking them on walks and exploring our cute downtown. I love that they feel safe with me and come to me for comfort.


Time is going so fast, yet the days are so long, the nights sometimes longer and some days just really seem hard. But at the end of the day, there is no where else I would rather be than at home with my kids. I don’t want to miss a moment with them and I know I’m incredibly blessed and fortunate to have this opportunity.

And yes I wrote this blog post over several weeks during naptime while Teddy slept on me. And honestly I wouldn’t change any of it.


Sláinte,

Shannon

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