Being a stay-at-home mom is not a glamorous job. In fact, one of the biggest secrets of motherhood is how challenging it actually is. You’ve got the isolation, the dirty diapers, the complete lack of privacy and the inability to eat sitting down. Until that little cutie-pie is in school, your identity of being an intelligent individual is on hold. It’s easy to get bogged down on the negatives, of which I am often guilty. We know how hard we’ve worked all day, but we rarely have anything to show for it. Because the time goes so quickly, it is imperative to remember the advantages of staying home with your children, and there are many. The next time you dream about earning a paycheck for your efforts, remember some of these easily forgotten benefits of staying home with your tots
It’s a procrastinator’s dream job
Heck, halfway through folding that basket of laundry the baby will have spit up so you won’t finish it anyway. And while you were cleaning the kitchen, your toddler got into the lotion and trashed your bathroom. Besides, it’s time to make dinner and everything is going to be a mess again soon. And it’s not like you’ll get to eat the meal before it gets cold because the baby will start to cry and you’ll have to get up for more milk because your toddler spilled his and you are so tired you’ll have forgotten the potatoes in the oven. Oh, I’m sorry, were you actually trying to send out thank-you notes for something? Nice try. I rarely finish any task I start. I’m sure I could have spent a lot of money on therapy to determine why, but now that I have children, the answer is obvious.
You can wear the same thing every day!
Although this can feel like a negative, it’s also great. It may sound appealing to have a reason to shower, put on make-up, do your hair and put on a fresh outfit, but sometimes it isn’t! Can you recall when you had a paying job and you dreamed of staying in your pajamas all day? My laundry load has been significantly lightened because I wear the same pair of jeans every day for a week (maybe two), and I have actually gone grocery shopping with my pajama top under my coat. If reading that makes you cringe, then fine. Consider my lack of laundry my contribution to the Green Movement: I save water and don’t put chemical detergents into our water system. Now do I sound cool?
Cleaning is optional
You might not feel like the boss (after all, you have to give in to the demands of your hungry toddler and be ready to wipe poop at a moment’s notice), but you can turn your phone and computers off without getting in trouble. While your disgusting house might not look ready for a taping of Real Housewives and your husband might complain about the mess, drawing with crayons with your child is unbelievable. I’m not beyond the guilt factor when my house is less than presentable, but memories of playing with my children trump that icky house feeling anytime. Plus, playing with your children is much more important than cleaning a house. It prepares them for school and builds a bond that you might not otherwise have.
So, while you might feel unappreciated for your efforts, you have the freedom to sit and read, cuddle up on the couch, take an hour for lunch (as long as you are in tea party attire) and set the tone for your house.
Memorable moments are plentiful
Finally, whether or not you feel like the “rock” for your children, you are. In a world of change, you are the constant. The tantrums, the hugs, the fears, the hurt, the joy of discovery—you are there to help make sense of it all. You’ve seen your child struggling with an emotional melt down; you get to be there to help him through it. While this is not fun, it is important to teach our children to work through these moments. When they figure out how to finish that puzzle or build the tower, you get to cheer them on. Do we always know what we are doing? Absolutely not. Do our children know that? Nope! But they know we are there, so when they ask, “Did you see that?” our response can be “Yes! Yes I did!”
Regardless of your reason for staying home, you’ve got to take the good with the bad. The trick is to make the most of it, because, believe it or not, those children are going to be gone one day. While I didn’t enjoy every moment of it, being a stay-at-home mom was a great experience that I’m glad to have had. In fact, I found myself wishing I could have more children and do it all over again.
Fortunately, for my husband, it only lasted a moment.