I had no idea what it was like to be a stay-at-home-mom two and half years ago. I wouldn’t change my mind, but here are a five things that I wish I knew at the time:
1. No one tells you “Good job” – Unless you have an insanely awesome husband
and kids (which, Darling, I hope you do!), you probably won’t hear “good job” on a daily, or even weekly basis. This was (and still is) one of the hardest adjustments. When working, if I reached my numbers and stayed in budget, I could count on hearing, “Good job” or better yet, I’d get a raise!! Being at home, if I do the laundry, clean the floors, run errands and get the kids fed, bathed and in bed, no one really cares. Its all part of the job.
2. It takes time to make friends & it can be lonely – Everyone is different, but for me, I found that it takes time. As a stay at home mom, you aren’t always around people like you may be at work. It takes an extra effort to get out and be social. The first couple of months being at home with my daughter were really lonely. I have videos of myself having full-on conversations with her when she was four months old. I also remember having twenty minute conversations with store clerks (poor store clerks!). But, slowly and luckily, I was able to forge wonderful friendships for both me and my daughter. I am thankful for our group of friends every day!
3. Be prepared to share one income – When I was making my own money, it wasn’t anyone’s problem (except my own) if I spent $10 a day at Starbucks. Jimmy Choo’s from Barney’s, no problem! That all changes when you aren’t making your own money. I will say, that yes, my priorities have changed and I would rather buy my daughter something cute than spend $500 on shoes. But, making your own money is empowering and it’s definitely something to consider when making the decision to stay at home or go back to work.
4. You can’t leave at the end of the day – Ever have a bad day at work with a co-worker or client? You can leave, right? Not when being at home. You can get a sitter or have your partner watch the kids but for the most part, your job is 24/7.
5. No lunch or bathroom breaks – Literally!! You will not be able to pee in peace again, ever, ever, ever!!! And, all meals will most likely happen standing up.
I can’t write this post without mentioning how wonderful it is to stay at home. Like I said before, I wouldn’t change my mind. I love the fact that I can dance to the Bangles with my daughter at 10am on a “manic” Monday. I love all the gooey, glittery mess that we make crafting after naps. I love the funny sayings, “Mom, I did a Mommy poop AND a baby poop!!” Or, how my son laughs at everything and rests so peacefully in my arms before going down for a nap. I feel fortunate to have had the option to make a decision, as so many of us don’t have that luxury.
Moms, how did you make your decision to stay at home or go back to work? And, what did you learn along the way?