It’s the life of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. You’re a stay at home mom. You don’t have to listen to a boss. You can pretty much do what you want when you want. You have all the time in the world to devote to yourself and to your home. You must be floating on freshly fluffed pillows every morning when you wake up and realize this is really your life.
You can’t remember the last time you had champagne. You have two little bosses who constantly nag you for stuff with a deadline of NOW. You can’t do whatever you want when you want because if you did you would have a weekly massage every Thursday afternoon after your manicure. Every day you notice some new cob web or area that really needs to be cleaned. You’ll get to it…one of these days. You can’t remember the last time you slept an entire night on your pillow all by yourself because one of your kids always ends up climbing into your bed. This is really your life.
Since I have been in the world of SAHM-dom for more than two years, I’ve come to realize the many misconceptions people still have about the lives we lead. I could honestly write a book. I, too, had many preconceived notions that I now laugh at. Silly, silly, me. With that said, I’ve come up with five things I wish I knew before becoming a SAHM.
1. You won’t be cooking meals that would make Rachel Ray jealous
“I can’t wait until I’m home so I can try new recipes.” Yep, I remember myself saying those very words. Well, chicken cutlets are still the “house special” and when I see a recipe with more than six ingredients, I still turn the page. If you were never a lover of the culinary arts, you won’t become one just because you have more time at home. The sooner you realize it, the happier you will be.
2. You’re not a circus; don’t try to entertain your kids like you are one
You can’t be “on” for your kids 24/7. This is something I still grapple with everyday. I feel guilty if I’m not doing something with them. That’s the reason I stayed home, right? It is alright to let them entertain themselves. In fact, it’s probably better for them. I’m learning this. You should too. Sure you can do stuff with them, but you don’t have to keep pulling out tricks from your hat.
3. Schedule “time off” for yourself every week
Just because you stay home doesn’t mean you can’t have time for yourself. You may not have the twenty minute car ride to work by yourself or a designated lunch break every day, but you can still have time off. The best way to do this when you’re a SAHM is to schedule it. It may sound silly, but I’ve found it’s the only thing that works. Find a time every week when you know you’ll most likely be able to find a sitter. Stick to that time as “your time”. Use it to do something for yourself. It may be hard, but anything worth having doesn’t come easy, right?
4. Have other interests besides your kids
Okay, so once you can schedule that “time off” you may want to use it to explore interests that are not for the five and under crowd. What did you like to do before you were “so and so’s mom”? Do it now. Maybe you want to try something new…a new workout, a new hobby, etc. The point here is while you’re always going to be “so and so’s mom” you’re also always going to be “you”. Find your passion and explore it. You don’t have to stop following your dreams just because you decided to be a SAHM.
5. Accept your accomplishments as a SAHM and don’t try to compare
As a SAHM it is sometimes so hard to figure out what your accomplishments are on a daily basis. Some days the only thing to brag about is the fact that you got your kid to the potty before she peed her pants. It’s okay. It’s still an accomplishment. Don’t try to compare it to the promotion your friend got at work. If you do, you’re going to start feeling like crap. The truth is there are accomplishments to be proud of when you’re a SAHM. The moment when your daughter can write a letter on her own that you’ve practicing for weeks. The time when your little one realizes there is more than one color in the rainbow. Some may laugh. While these moments may not fill your bank account, they do make your heart overflow with joy.
I really think knowing these five little things would have made the transition to staying home a lot easier. Trust me, there are a lot more. Each day I am still learning how to make this situation work. Just like anything else, there are easy days and there are hard days.
For all the SAHMs reading this, what is your biggest piece of advice?