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Hats Off to Stay-at-Home Moms!

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Notes from a New Mom: I've been staying at home with my toddler for the past two months, doing what the nanny used to do when I was off to my office job, but not nearly as well, apparently. In fact, the other night when my husband came home from work, he commented, "Wow, how did she [the nanny] get so much DONE during the day? The house always looked soooo good." Meaning, "What the hell are you doing during your day, and why doesn't the house look as spic and span as when she was here?" The truth is, I don't think I'm a good stay-at-home mom, unfortunately.

mom and toddler

I could not love my daughter more, and spending time with her has been the biggest blessing ever, but I feel like I am going insane in this house. To be honest, I feel a little bit down, too, as if my purpose is foggy, and I'm just not in the best of moods. I wake up and get into "taking care of baby" mode, but I'm not really enjoying the process of it all. It sounds awful, I know. Knowing what I know now, I am in awe of the moms who stay at home and have smiles on their faces. Then again, the thought of returning to work and not seeing my daughter all day long terrifies me, too. So what do I do??

Maybe I need an attitude adjustment, because frankly, I really have very little to complain about, aside from the economic downfall we are all in, the job hunt, our financial stress and my feeling like a failure as a mom and career woman. My family is healthy and I am blessed. I know many more people have it way worse, and I think I might just need a good smack in the face, a nice dose of reality.

I look at the other moms in my daughter's classes and they seem to be having it all together. I wish I could be more like them. I wish that I just wanted to be at home with my kid, and that that alone would satisfy me. I'm in between .... And I just wanted to give a shout-out to the ladies who stay at home with their kids, keeping the house, taking care of the family. It is a tough, endless job with little reciprocity. Seriously, I'm in awe.

next: Who'll Raise Your Kids If You Die?
30 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jennifer October 15, 2010, 3:47 PM

Look at it this way…maybe your nanny got “so much” done during the day by ignoring your child and using baby einstein as an electronic babysitter.

Transitioning from adult-time all day long to playdates, Blue’s Clues and sippy cups isn’t as easy as it sounds. After 15 yrs working 50+hrs/week, then quitting to be a SAHM, it probably took me over a year to really get my timing down. Some days the house looked great, a lot of others it looked like a bunch of squatters had taken over.

Anonymous SAHM October 15, 2010, 3:51 PM

Advice from a mom who survived it already:

1. Get out of the house! Go to the park, library, or grocery store with your toddler. She is at an age now where you can decide where you want to go, not her.
2. Find some mom-friends and hang out with them. You still get to choose playdates based on whether or not you like the mom.
3. Don’t try to do what your nanny did. Accept that your house isn’t going to be as nice. Focus your time and attention on your daughter. Think about what you want for her and plan activities.
4. Moms are on-duty at night, too, unlike nannies. You need support and fun. Plan your day to include that for you.
5. Nap time is your time, not get the house clean time. Rest or do something you enjoy like reading.

very bloggy beth October 15, 2010, 4:40 PM

Such a nice post! Too often these days, the SAHM and the WOHM battle with each other, and that’s no good for anyone. I also was laid off a year ago, when my son was 18 months. It’s been a tough year, both because I’ve been unemployed but also being at home full time! Some mornings, I wish there were an office with a boss inside so I could march in and quit this mommy gig. But, in the end, we love them so much that we pull through somehow.

ceemee October 15, 2010, 5:31 PM

I feel the same way too! I am pressured to contribute to the family’s income by my hubby yet I want to take care of my children myself.

Shanon October 15, 2010, 6:34 PM

If your house was clean every day when you had a Nanny then they didn’t spend very much time with your child. I’m a stay home mom and it drives me nuts at the end of the day when my house is a wreck. And it never seems to matter how many loads of laundry or dishes I do. But that is because I take time to play with my son.

KS October 15, 2010, 7:17 PM

From my Stay at Home tried and true book to yours here are a few tips that have saved my sanity.

1. time management is a skill. You learned it for your job now learn how to effectively manage your time for your home. Don’t forget to include relaxing. After all one of the perks to staying at home is having five minutes to sit on your bum every now and then.

2. Do what you can do. I have four children and a husband who works more than he is home. I do not compare myself to other mothers EVER. I do what makes me happy and what I can accomplish in a day. If the toys didn’t all get put away one day nobody is going to die.

3. Make time to escape and leave your husband to tend to the children. Do not ever allow him to come home again and comment on the house without him having to walk a mile in your shoes. I’ve been there done that and my husband ate crow for two weeks while I was away.

4. GET DRESSED. If you wake up before the kids and pull yourself together you already feel like your ahead of the game. It may seem silly but it also has the benefit of giving you an excuse to get out of the house.

5. Get out of the house. It may seem daunting to just hang out with a baby but walking puts them to sleep and whats to say they wont appreciate a membership to the local museum.

6. Make a schedule that includes a nap time. Nap time is mommy sanity time. When the going gets rough and the laundry gets backed up nap time swoops in to save the day. Don’t forget to tape the schedule to the fridge.

7. Plan at least one extravagant kids party event a year. It gives you a chance to meet new mommy friends and planning for once a year allows you plenty of time to collect items and pull things together.

8. Don’t forget to be yourself. I see all to often women who have devoted their entire lives and being to mommyhood and it does nothing nice for their self esteem or marriages. Keep outside interests, girls nights outs and don’t ever feel guilty about spending money on yourself when it’s within the family budget.

9. Give yourself a break. You will find your rhythm. Don’t wallow in pity either. If things aren’t going the way you want them to sit down with yourself and be honest as to why.

Joyce October 15, 2010, 7:48 PM

I used to feel the same way. Really you just need to give yourself a break and do your best. It took a few months but I got used to it. I think that’s what it really comes down to, just learning to adjust. Once you get used to it you’ll probably love it.

Allison @ Alli 'n Son October 15, 2010, 7:54 PM

I just have to say that as a SAHM my house is hardly ever clean and I’m usually too tired at the end of the day to smile. I love it, but it is hard, tiring and even boring work. I agree with the others, get out of the house, meet some other SAHMs. It will do wonders for your mood.

Caitin October 15, 2010, 8:13 PM

As a nanny I am offended that you all believe that a nanny would neglect a child to clean a house. Some people are more naturally inclined to work well as a SAHM or nanny! With only one child it is pretty easy to entertain a child and keep the house clean! Cleaning can be entertainign for even the youngest child: playing with water: dishes, picking up and dropping things:laundry, following what you do: sweeping etc. It is possible to keep a baby entertained and clean the house. Although I have worked for families that expect me to be super nanny, housekeeper, tutor, & chef all in one. In order to do all that to a perfect extent children do end up getting put in front of the television, or in a bouncer etc. Nannies are HUMAN too!

Oh and to the author: I hope you get into the swing of things, it takes time, try to enjoy it. THE HOUSE DOESN’T MATTER! Enjoy this precious time with your daughter!

Robyn October 15, 2010, 8:56 PM

I completely empathize. When I went back to work when my son was an infant I yearned every day to be with him rather than at the office. Two years later when I lost my job I was thrilled to finally have some time to be his mom all day every day. Sheesh, what was I thinking? Now eight months later I find myself struggling with a whole new range of emotions. The biggest lesson I’ve learned during this process is to just do your best and never ever compare yourself to another mom. We never know what’s really going on in someone else’s house, life, relationship, etc. Just do the best for yourself and your family. And never feel guilty about napping. There is no other job that starts before the sun comes up and ends after it sets.

mountainmommy October 15, 2010, 9:18 PM

All those moms who appear to “have it all together” are just like everyone else. We all spend too much time comparing ourselves to others, without knowing whats really going on. Don’t compare your insides to their outsides. they are probably in awe of you, wondering how YOU keep it all together. :)

zandhmom October 16, 2010, 7:36 AM

I am so pleased that the moms who commented were helpful instead of mean (which is usually the case on MomLogic). I too have been a full time working mom and a sahm and both have their pros and cons. The hardest for me was when I first quit my job and stayed home was that I felt so much pressure from my working sisters and friends to try and justify what I did “all day”. I scrub my house clean everyday to show that yes I did “work” all day. That got old really fast! Now, I keep my house clean enough and enjoy my time with the kids. I also remind myself that this is MY life that I am living and it works for my family.

emily October 16, 2010, 10:01 AM

I really liked this post. I am not a SAHM, but a working single mom. I worry all the time what people think when they come into my house. There are ALWAYS dishes in the sink and a basket of clothes by the machine. There is always a few toys lingering around the house at any given point. I always feel like I need to get it more together, but sometimes I just want to sit down and watch T.V. while she naps. I just don’t have enough time in the day, and it’s very reassuring to hear from the SAHMs that don’t have spotless homes either. Sometimes I have to pick between cleaning house and getting on the floor to play. Almost always it’s play, and now I feel so much better about it! Thank you! Normally I get a cringe from sahm articles, but this one was great!

Katie October 16, 2010, 10:42 AM

Being a SAHM can be tough, especially when you’re not used to it. I really missed contributing to our income, so I found an online job which I do in the evenings after my toddler goes to bed.
I also started following It has helped me so much with keeping the house clean and clutter free, without going crazy.
Just remember that the time you spend on your family and yourself is more important than a clean house. I’d rather be happy and dirty then clean and miserable.

Anonymous October 16, 2010, 11:38 AM

I wonder if the comments today mean that working moms read MomLogic more during the week and SAHMs read it more on the weekend?

XXXX October 16, 2010, 5:45 PM

Quit kissng SAHM’s butts!

Catherine October 19, 2010, 6:31 AM

I was a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years. It was, and continues to be the best time of my life. It IS hard for a young mom when she leaves her career behind to stay at home and raise any amount of children. You miss your adult peers, there is a lot you feel you may be missing out on. However, look at it this way. You have embarked on a brand new career. One more meaningful. You are now responsible for the well-being of your children. Use this time to make your day work. Take a walk after giving your baby breakfast (whether nursing or not). When you come back, put the baby down for a nap and start working on the tasks at home that need to be done. Throw in some laundry. Vacuum. Yes. Vacuum. Forget the old adage that the baby won’t sleep. Babies will get used to the noise. I lived in Manhattan and my children slept through every kind of noise you could imagine. Vacumming was just part of it. When your child wakes up, you get to spend quality time. As the baby grows, you will find yourself doing more things with the baby. Reading to her/him. Excersizing. All the while doing housework and getting meals ready while the baby has downtime.
It isn’t easy—but it works. I remember we NEVER had processed food in the house when the kids were young b/c I made everything from scratch.
In addition, FIND OTHER MOMS!!! They are out there!! When my children were young my neighborhood had a “Mother’s Group”. We would have meetings once a week at different apartments. We would discuss topics relevant to staying home. Once a month, we made the dads babysit and we went out to dinner. WE would have family pot luck dinners. We even had little babysitting cards that we would “cash in” with each other if we had a doctor’s appt. or something during the week. With a little effort—it works to your advantage.
Also, as the kids get older, before they start school—you can take them on little field trips to museums, etc.
Remember, once they are in school you will have more time to yourself during the day—then when they come home from school your day will REALLY start with the car-pooling, extra cirricular activities. Oh boy—will you be busy.
In all honesty, the only downside of this is after you become an empty-nester, it will be hard to get a job. Nobody these days wants to hire a woman who stayed home to raise children. Sad fact. Good luck to you. I really miss being a stay-at-home mom!

Zgirl October 19, 2010, 7:53 AM

You’re probably doing a great job b/c your house is not so perfect…you are spending quality time, which is more important than anything.

1. I feel the same way…we all do. You may think the other moms have it together, but we’re all in the same boat. I use to be a FT working mom and i always say, being a Stay at home mom is a much more demanding job.
2. Nanny: without a doubt, had the TV on or left the child to play in a playpen or something of that sort.
3. Hubby: do a stay-cation. Spend the vacation at home so he can see your routine for a week, not just a random day here n there. I think my hubby realized how difficult it was once we did that and took day trips. You also run errands b/c you’re home.

In the end, we’re blessed to have this job b/c we’re influencing and raising our kids. Plus we get to do fun things and experience it rather than hearing it from the nanny.

Hope this helps.

jessica October 20, 2010, 3:23 AM

katie…I was wondering what kind of online job you got..ive been looking for one but all the ones I can find have been bogus.

#1 Mom October 20, 2010, 10:48 AM

When I was a full time SAHM my house was spotless AND my babies very well cared for. No reason for it not to be spotless if you just employ a little organization.

Treat staying at home LIKE a job -because it is and that mentality helps alot. At first I think a lot of SAHMs just go without any schedule or organization. That’s not good for you or your child. There should be educational/learning time, play time, and cleaning time. Having a schedule would make a world of difference and you wouldn’t feel so adrift.

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