I can’t believe I’m even writing these words, but my youngest child is entering Kindergarten THIS FALL! My years as a stay-at-home mom are over. I’ve thought about this year for a long time and have really had a variety of reactions. I’ve thought I would start a career at this point. I’ve also thought I would continue staying home and caring for the household. And I’ve thought I would do a little of both. I would get a part-time job, and spend the rest of my time caring for the home. Now that the time to decide is basically here…I’m sort of at a loss. I don’t know what I want to do. I thought when the time came it would be clear.
Being a Mom is Hard, No Matter How Much You Work
Over the years I have stayed home with my kids full time, part time, and for a little while I worked full time. I have done it all. I know what it’s like to hang out with babies all day, just waiting for my husband to walk in the door so I could hand them over. And I know what it’s like to be away from them all day: the frantic mornings getting kids to daycare, and the exhausted evenings that go by too quickly. I’ve even had part-time nanny jobs where I took my kids with me and watched other people’s kids for a little extra money.
I say all of this to let you know…there is no judgment here. I am not a strong supporter of being a SAHM, WM, WAHM, or whatever else you call yourself. What I am a strong supporter of is doing what works best for you and your family. Apparently what worked best for me always changed, or maybe I get bored easily. 😛
Well, I’ve learned a lot of things from being a SAHM to some degree over the last (almost) 11 years. I’m a believer in using my experiences, good and bad, to help others. This post is my small way of doing that. 🙂
4 Things I’ve Learned From Being A Stay-At-Home Mom
Don’t forget there’s an outside world.
Bring your kids out of the house regularly. Show them what the world is like and what people are like. It’s important for your kids to know that life isn’t all about them. And it’s important for you to remember that your life isn’t all about your family. It is your job to prepare your kids for being on their own. How can you do this if your child’s only experiences are fighting with their siblings and going grocery shopping?
The world can be scary for kids. Heck, it can be scary for adults! Use the time you have with your kids when they are young to show them how to relate to people. How to care for people. Let their curiosity lead them to new adventures, relationships, and lessons learned.
Being organized helps, but being flexible is better.
If you know me or follow my blog, you know that I love to organize. I am definitely type-A. And possible a little high strung at times. Being organized has made it easier for me to handle when life gets busy. But sometimes, I expected my hard work of getting organized to have a greater pay-off than was realistic. I would even say I wasted time organizing things and schedules when they didn’t need it. I’ve learned over the years that being organized looks different for everyone. What stresses my family out may not stress out yours. Don’t beat yourself up for not having every area of your home or life organized. Organize what matters to you, what is most important to you.
The reason I say that being flexible is better than being organized is that flexibility causes less stress. When you can learn to “go with the flow” and not have an aneurism when something doesn’t go as planned, or you forgot to take the chicken breasts out of the freezer (again!), you will be calmer and happier. Is it the end of the world if you don’t feed your family homemade meatballs, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob when your planner says so? NO!
Surrounding yourself with people who support you is essential.
You already beat yourself up enough, don’t have people in your life who tear you down if you can help it. If you can’t help it, put up boundaries. On the other hand, notice the people in your life who tell you the truth in love, and invest in those relationships. Sometimes the truth is that you are a really good mom, and sometimes the truth is that you need to calm the freak down.
Don’t do this parenting thing alone! Find a babysitter. Go out with your friends. Date your spouse. Find other parents with kids your age or older to hang out with. See the therapist. Ask for help. And don’t put whatever you can’t handle on your spouse.
You are exactly the type of mom your kid needs.
This is one that I had to learn over and over. I’ve struggled over the years with depression, which didn’t help, but like most moms I at times felt inadequate. Let’s face it…I felt inadequate ALL. THE. TIME. Now I know you aren’t perfect, but you are doing your best. You love your kids, and they know it. That alone right there is HUGE. It doesn’t always feel like that’s enough…that you are enough…but it’s true.
Now, if you ever find yourself wanting to give up, you are not alone. If for a brief moment you did give up, forgive yourself. If, for example, there is ever a day when you find yourself driving down I-35 debating whether or not to just keep going all the way to Texas and never come back… take a deep breath, say a little prayer, turn the car around, and go back to your kids. And then give yourself some grace. Parenting is hard.
What have you learned from being a mom? Share with us in the comments!