In October of 2009, I gave birth to my second daughter. While out on maternity leave, my husband and I decided to take the plunge and make the financial cuts necessary for me to be a stay-at-home mom. And so my adventure began. After the holidays, as life began to normalize, I realized that just like any major life transition, staying at home came with ups and downs. While I LOVED staying at home with my kids, it was not always the bliss I had imagined. It’s wonderful. . .and it’s HARD. If I fail, or don’t do my best, it’s not the organization of my desk that suffers and I don’t just get behind. It affects my children. At the same time, I don’t have a supervisor looking over my shoulder keeping me on track. I found out quickly that a lot of unstructured time mixed with a lot of unstructured things to do, for me was just. . .well, unstructured.
And so, these years later (wow, I’ve been home now for almost 3 and a half YEARS!), I’m still finding that not working a traditional job is very different than I thought it would when first I embarked on this adventure. With every change in our family structure or schedule, there has been a major adjustment period. I homeschool Melody, but she goes to a school for homeschoolers (I know sounds strange. =)) 3 days per week. Romeo has been added to the mix, and my husband now has a job that requires him to travel out of town for a week, once per month. I am learning to view this family management thing as a dance. When one of our members changes their choreography, everyone else has to change theirs to adapt. But we persevere and the rewards far outweigh the angst.
I’ve had a few people ask me what I do all day. . .or some have asked me to do them “favors” during the week with the clear assumption that I sit on the couch and play on my computer or watch TV all day. I now find this comical. In the beginning when I was still stressed out of my mind because I EXPECTED life at home to be more like that, I didn’t react so kindly to those questions.The last time someone called me and began their query with, “So what are you doing today?” . .because they needed me to do something for them, I simply listed my schedule for the day. It was met with a stammering, “Oh, wow, I didn’t realize you were busy,” and a quick end to the conversation.
So. . .I completely love that I am not bored at home. And I completely respect other moms who have full time jobs and still manage households, too. But I have completely changed my perspective on what it means to be a “stay-at-home mom.” After more than 3 years of experience, I’d liken it more to being CEO of a small corporation, where all the employees may decide to revolt on the same day, some of them still poop their pants, and you can’t fire anyone. The hours are 24/7 and you don’t get sick days, but the dress code is flexible, the hugs are unlimited and tickle fights after breakfast are encouraged. <3