When Being a Stay At Home Mom Sucks

I don’t know about you but when I hear the words “Stay at Home Mom” I imagine a woman who looks refreshed, well put-together, and confident. I thought, as a SAHM, I would be not only keeping the house clean, but making awesome home projects from Pintrest and making healthy meals from scratch. Oh man, our house was going to be awesome.

Ha. I can barely keep the floor vacuumed.

This image is a stark contrast from the reality I have experienced… and it’s not just me. Other SAHM’s seem to consistently struggle with feelings of overwhelm, anxiety, and insecurity. I love this meme because I feel like it really captures my reality:

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So what happened? If you read my post “The Importance of Self-Care for Moms” then you know how I feel about the difficulties of juggling tasks as a mom. It just feels like our To Do List is endless. No wonder so many moms want to go to work just to have a break!

Here’s the thing I’ve realized… If I want my job to be “Stay At Home Mom” then I need to start acting like it’s a real job. At first, that may sound harsh, but it’s actually freeing.

Here’s why: If being a Mom is my job, then that means other things are NOT my job.

So, like I would at any place of employment, I need to hone in on what my job description is. Here’s what I’ve come-up with so far:

Mom Job Description

Purpose of the Position: Fostering a Healthy/Secure Attachment with Luca

 1. Attending to his basic needs in a timely manner. This involves feeding, bathing, changing diapers, keeping his clothing clean, and maintaining a safe home environment. 

 2. Facilitating his physical, emotional and social development as appropriate. This involves playing with him, offering opportunities for him to explore new things, exposing him to social situations, and researching child development.

When I really break down each of these two points, it’s easy to see how my days are quickly consumed. Everything I do with Luca has a purpose. I try my best to avoid just keeping him busy so that I can “get things done.” But we ALL fall into this trap. We all become obsessed with “getting things done.” Why??

Let me just call out the elephant in the room: We are afraid of what other people will think. Whether it be our friends, family, and/or (most likely) our husbands, we don’t want people to think we are just lounging around all day. So, we frantically busy ourselves with cleaning, crafting, beautifying, cooking, baking, or whatever so that we can show that we are productive members of society. Who wants to be JUST a Stay at Home Mom? I don’t. I want to be respected. It takes a lot of humility to take care of my kid’s needs but then have my husband come home to a messy house. Or to go out without my hair and make-up done. Or to bring store-bought cookies to a potluck. There’s something so distorted about a culture that expects us to raise healthy children AND have pin-worthy house, body, and culinary skills.

Don’t get me wrong, we still need to help around the house. I still have grocery shopping as one of my wifely duties. I do most of the cooking although Caleb does help me cook and clean-up dinner every night. I know it also makes sense for me to clean as much as I can. However, Caleb still takes it upon himself to do some chores around the house. When I was working, we split the cleaning tasks appropriately and that hasn’t changed much. You know why? Because I’m still working. Just because my job is now at home and my boss is an infant, I still have accountability to do the job that we wanted me to do which is: to be a MOM.

I think being a Stay at Home Mom could be awesome. It could be fun. We could look back on these years with fondness. My theory is that we hate being Stay at Home Moms because we hate the unrealistic expectations that secretly come along with the role.

Moms, we have a choice. We can either continue to put those dumb expectations upon ourselves, or we can embrace that our time/energy is limited. We set-out to be Stay at Home Moms because we believed in the quality time we could provide our children. We believed that the time we put in now would pay dividends in the future.

Yes, it’s awkward when your husband comes home and the house is a mess. Yes, it hurts your pride when you bring a box of crackers to a pot luck. Sure, your hair is still in that messy bun most of the time… but you know what? Your kid is happy and healthy. You are doing a service to society by raising a relationally healthy kid. People who are psychologically healthy contribute to society. Of course, there are some things that are out of our control. There are no guarantees, but at least we can look back say we did the best job that we could.

*Note to Working Moms: I am in no way suggesting that kids who don’t have a Stay at Home Parent can’t be relationally healthy. Some moms have no choice but to work. Some choose to go to work. Either way, with intentionality your kids will thrive. That’s the only thing any of us moms can do, is to intentionally try the best we can to raise relationally healthy kids.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Unfair Expectations of Motherhood

To Do List, To Shmu List

New Year’s Resolution for Mamas (& Papas too!)

 

 

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20 thoughts on “When Being a Stay At Home Mom Sucks

  1. Spot on. We made the decision for me to stay home for attachment reasons (our twins are adopted). It’s easy to be tied to the physical “evidence” of “doing something” during the day – if the laundry is done or the floor vacuumed or a bathroom cleaned, it’s an external sign of productivity, right? But the most important things I do during the day go “unnoticed.” 🙂

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  2. This is a great post! I did the same when I realized that the task as SAHM was becoming overwhelming: I made a (very long) list with my tasks, duties etc. and realized that it was too long. I then decided to write a more realistic one and I stick to it. There are things that I simply don’t see as my tasks and that I delegate or devide among those in the family who can do them. And I gave up the “perfectionist” side in me and became kinder to myself. – Being a SAHM is a job.

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  3. As always this post is spot on. I too struggle with the expectations I set on my self as well as others place upon me. I have let go of so much for the sake of this very limited time with my baby. No task seems as important as her well being and happiness but its still hard to look around at my messy house and long to-do list.

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  4. Reblogged this on Three or More and commented:
    I could have written this! Constantly reminding myself that my house does not need to look like a show room because frankly I would rather go for a walk with my kids after school is a daily occurence. Why oh why do we put these pressures on ourselves?
    Great blog post!

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  5. I’m constantly telling myself this, I’ve even told other people this, but it’s such a hard thing to actually put into practice. I hate myself when there is junk everywhere and I have to pick up a pizza for dinner and I hate myself when I leave the baby to play in his pen while I clean the kitchen and dust and sweep and… it’s so ridiculous. I don’t understand why I’m supposed to hate myself no matter what, but I sure do a good job of it.

    I’m glad you wrote this. It’s nice to have somebody else say it. Maybe that will do me some good.

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  6. […] So, right about now would be when I could jump on my soap box and preach about how I’m incredibly important because I’m dedicating my time to raising a future productive member of society, etc. However, I am not going to do that. If you want to read about that, click on the link above. Or if you want to read about how staying at home can really suck, read my own post on the subject by clicking here. […]

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  7. I really can’t believe some of you are serious. If you are this overwhelmed and “busy,” you’re doing something wrong. Period.

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    • I cannot even respond like I wish to this post because my kids are tearing the keyboard out of the computer… that enough for overwhelmed for you? Please don’t feel like just because you are having a different experience or have more help than most of us other SAHMs that our lives are just as carefree as yours.

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  8. i think the hardest part about this is that our job is our kids and then we personalize and internalize the kids…if we had another job then we wouldn’t maybe take what the kids do so personally…. i dunno… cause there is like a grey area there of understanding that the kids are just kids..they’re gonna do whatever they do… and any amount of AP parenting and or SAHM parenting isn’t going to change that and we can’t control it….sorry there’s no guarantee. but if we had a different focus one not of our kids so much…24/7 then maybe we wouldn’t take them so personally? pouring your heart and soul into the kids, husband and house is dangerous. what if it doesn’t reciprocate. it definitely doesn’t sometimes…sometimes it does…but having your main job be SAHM for 13 years I can tell you it feels more personal…
    i think i’m ready for a career change.

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  9. I guess I can see both sides of it…and I understand the points being made in this post but I have some questions…

    I have been on both sides working and SAHM. The way I see it, if the in home day care lady could
    keep her house together with 5 kids why can’t I? And that actually was her job. If you’re going to treat it like a job then there should be things to strive for and improve, and more responsibility will come as you progress in your career as a SAHM.

    So after I got the rhythm down I started working on goals I wanted to achieve. One of which was keeping the house clean throughout the day.

    I do think being a SAHM is NOT easy, but let’s not make excuses not to try and be better at it. I see a lot of people agreeing with this post, I could see a lot of people using it as an excuse too.

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  10. I laughed so hard when i saw seeing “mom’s get a job just to take a break.” I did the same thing, but just so we can have some extra cash in the house, which is always nice. I was thinking i could juggle evenings, and graveyard shifts and take care of the family during the day. Kind of like a superhero, stay at home by day, making minimum wage at night……hahahahha! NOPE! My “available work time” means taking my evenings and weekends away. It was starting to “get to me” to be away from my family, and was starting to become too exhausted and grumpy during the day and not pleasant to be around. I didn’t have a social life before working but now i couldn’t even visit my sister cuz i was either working or too damn tired. The house fell apart literally, my husband was too tired after work to do any chores, and the chores he did do, didn’t really matter. Laundry and dishes! Which are so important! After two months i handed in my two weeks notice…it just can’t be done 😦 well, not in my case anyways. It really is a job, and if you treat it as such, than you can accomplish great things 🙂

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    • I should also mention that one important sahm job to me is to keep your child active and take them outside, this is just so important to me! I can’t stress it enough. But my husband, while watching them, thinks it was important to keep the house clean, so he wouldn’t take them out….lol funny to see the sides change. Yesterday i had to yell at him, “Never mind the vacumming! Just take them to the park!” He said, “Then i won’t get anything done while your gone!” <—-that right there!! That's one of the reasons why i'm choosing to come back home, at least for now…

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience Lisa. I think we all have this illusion of what “the other side” is like, no matter what side you’re on. Reality can be quite the sucker punch.

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