The Untold Story of Being a Stay At Home Parent

Before having children, I only dreamt of being able to stay home with my kiddos, being able to be apart of their growing development. I honestly never dreamed I’d ever have the opportunity to do so. Then, God blessed our family and as of now I am able to watch after my son while expecting another one on the way. Although there are so many wonderful things that you get to experience while staying at home with your child, there are so many challenges that come with being a stay at home parent. I am not here to complain, I know I am very lucky to be able to take care of my child but there is so much that people just don’t understand about how much it takes out of a person.

I used to work a full time, career path job. I was a project coordinator for a promotional products company in the San Fernando Valley located in California. I have always held a steady, full time job since I was 18. Being able to fully depend on myself financially is something very empowering and gave me a sense of security. The challenge from this transition is the guilt I feel when I’m not able to help out my family financially. On the months that we have struggled financially, I have really felt the blow of being a burden and just have had the feeling of being a useless asset to our family. Yes, I know I am at home – cleaning, feeding the baby, cooking dinner, washing and folding the laundry, constantly going. But for some reason, it just never feels like its enough.

When my son was old enough, I started my own Etsy shop. Thankfully, it was quite a success but then I struggled with time management and I was often left with not enough hours in the day to get everything finished. I would work until 2 in the morning to finish up orders only to come in to the next room and see it in shambles. The dishes needed washing, the trash needed to be taken out, my son would wake up every hour if I wasn’t sleeping or cuddling next to him and my husband would come home to no meal cooked. I felt like a failure.

Although I was able to make a decent profit and help pay for some bills, something was always suffering. I felt I was neglecting my son’s needs and often just left him to cry so I could finish what I needed to do. This left me feeling so guilty, because he still needed me. I often snapped at him because I was exhausted trying to keep up with so many things – I had to finally close my shop because I realized that I was a wife and mother first.

The guilt never really seems to go away because the grass always seems greener on whichever side you’re not currently on. Women who work bring home money but don’t get to see their children grow up. And stay at home mothers get to watch their children grown up but then are left with years of non work experience and are deemed unemployable because of their lack of “in field” experience. There’s the misconception that we just stay at home and do “nothing” all day – but let me tell you, some days I feel like I haven’t stopped. Being a stay at home parent can be very lonely, especially because you don’t get any interaction with other adults unless its John from Citi Bank trying to collect on your bill. The feeling of neglect is overwhelming sometimes but I often don’t say anything about it to anyone because I truly appreciate my husband for what he does for us and I love my son. I know that its neither of their intentions to have me feel unappreciated.

There is usually no one else to talk to about our struggles so there is no venting allowed. If you do open your mouth, you are often faced with the judgements and criticisms of others telling you “well, you’re lucky that you can even stay home,” or “they will only be young and rebellious for so long until they want to leave with their friends (regarding your kids),” or “girl, you’re so lucky – you don’t have to go to work,” etc. I often just keep my mouth shut because no one will truly understand unless they are in a similar situation.

At the end of the day, yes I do feel so very blessed that I get to be watching over my son and taking care of our home. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to watch him grow and learn and just to continue to grow that bond with him. Although it is very challenging, I would not change it for the world. But it will be a constant struggle and adjustment because there are some days when you need time to yourself. To recharge your batteries, to go out and actually be able to indulge in the soup and salad combo at Panera Bread without feeling guilty for it because the amount you spent there could have been split for a meal for you and your kiddo.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, the guilt might not ever truly fade. You just have to keep reminding yourself that you are an irreplaceable part of your family dynamic. Your family depends on you to take care of the things that they don’t see and take for granted because someone else (you) is getting them done. You are feeding, nurturing, comforting, and loving your family and that itself does not have a price tag my dear. Your “office” will always be dirty, filled with soiled diapers and sippy cups that need to be cleaned but your heart will always be full. One day, all the chaos will settle and you will miss the pile of dirty laundry on the floor with a side of Tonka trucks by the side of the kitchen. Give yourself the time that you need, make your husband stay at home while you take a long drive to 7-ll and get yourself that slurpee. Blast the radio and let your hair dance in the air in its full mom bun glory. And if you see a fellow stay at home mother, salute her, encourage her. Let her know that she is appreciated.

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

1 Timothy 5:14

Mommy of 1, Now Mommy of Two!

So, I know I have been missing in action…again! Owning an Etsy shop started consuming my life, aside from the already time consuming 24/7 job I have of being a work at home/ stay at home mother. The past 5 months had become so stressful and I was at the point of a mental breakdown, but I didn’t understand why I had started becoming so overwhelmed so easily.

I had lost my passion for the pieces I was creating, lost sight of why I had started it all. I was snapping at my son because I was so exhausted, sometimes working in to the wee hours of the morning to try and get orders out in a timely manner. All for what I felt was starting to become in vain. I received some negative feedback in my shop which I felt was very unfair, and I took it really to heart because I worked so hard on people’s orders. I thought to myself, why am I neglecting my son for strangers who didn’t appreciate what I was sacrificing? So I decided to take a break from it all.

The negativity had really gotten to me. I felt like a terrible mother who was constantly snapping at her son and not giving him the patience and attention that he deserved.

Then amongst the madness, I received a wonderful surprise.

I was pregnant with baby number 2!!

I received a wonderful blessing during such a trying time in my life, and it gave me so much peace and hope.

So, those are the reasons why I have been “out of the office,” lately. But I have a feeling I will be posting more now that I have so many more experiences to be documenting.

Till next time!

~G

Confessions of a Stay at home Mom

I used to always be aware of time. I’ve always liked to schedule my time to try and get the most out of my day. A typical day for me in the past would start with: getting ready for work, preparing lunch for my husband and I, feeding all my animals, and then off I was to my commute for work. Work from 9-5, off of work, drive to pick up hubby, and off we were on our commute back home. This was very single day, the same routine.  And then there was the weekend. Sounds kind of boring when you have an unfulfilling job and you feel like you’re lacking a purpose.

Now, I am a stay at home mother and although I have finally found the most fulfilling job that gave me a purpose – I still run in to obstacles. In a previous post I went on to describe my experiences with my “fussy baby” and although I love my new job, I can’t help to sometimes feel unappreciated. It seems to me that society really praises women who chose to put their careers before their family. Maybe it’s because not too long ago, women were not allowed to have careers? I mean, more power to you if you are pursuing your dreams – this is not a women’s bashing post what-so-ever, I’m just kind of tired of the misconceptions people have regarding what a stay at home mother really is.

I can remember a conversation I had with a friend a few years back; we were discussing our futures and aspirations. She went on to list off all the possible career choices she was considering and what her dreams were. When it got to me, I had a list too – one that I had put together because people expect these types of answers. But instead I chose to just be honest and say what was in my heart. “I just want to have a family and be a mother.” Well, the response on her face alone shamed me but when she finally uttered the words “that’s it?” I kind of felt embarrassed and went on to list off a few other career choices that were within the major that I was studying.

Now a days, we pay people to watch our children so we can go out to the world and pursue other things; careers. Some people don’t really have much of a choice and for financial reasons, they have to get jobs in order to provide for their families and there is no shame in that. There’s no shame in any of it, but why do I have to be ashamed for what I love to do?

When I was a working woman with a career, I did not find much fulfillment in it but obviously I had to work for financial reasons. I also wanted to make sure I had a strong working record to build a strong resume. All things I have accomplished, but didn’t fulfill me.

I know on most days, it’s hard for me to get through the judgments of other – what I like to call “Mean Moms.” They seem to nit pit at every decision that you make, or one up you every time you think you did something really great for your kid.

I think what’s important is to do what is right for you and your family. Whether that is to stay at home with your child or choosing to work – just own it. And don’t let others make you feel like what you are doing is wrong. No one lives in your shoes; no one knows your fears, your struggles, and your financial situation.

Just keep on rocking that mom life you’re living!

~G