Happy Friday, guys! With Amelia’s monthly posts being done now that she’s one, I wanted to start another monthly series to take its place. I wanted to do something that reflects my life as a mom, because even though this isn’t a “mom blog,” being a mom is my everyday and I know it’s many of yours, too! So, I decided to start a motherhood series (ideally, it will be up every first Friday)! It will be a mix of posts that are written by me and some really strong moms that I admire and we’ll have a different topic each month. I want this to be a place of inspiration and a judgement free zone, somewhere we can be uplifted and supportive of everything that goes along with the amazing, wonderful, stressful, and rewarding world of motherhood. To start the series, I chose a subject that I feel strongly about- being a stay at home mom. I know it’s not for everyone, but I wanted to lead with this particular post 1. because this is my life right now and 2. because there’s been more times than I’d like to admit in the last year that I’ve felt looked down on, almost guilty even, for not having a job outside of my home (and though I also write a blog, most people don’t know how much work goes into it). No matter what you choose as a mother, whether you decide to work outside the home (either out of necessity or by choice) or stay at home with your children, you make the best decision for you and your family and no one should judge you for that or make you feel inferior because of that.
Lucky? Yes. Glamorous? No. Boring? Definitely not! You wouldn’t believe how often I get, “I don’t know how you do it. If I stayed home all day I would be so bored!”, or “What do you do all day?” as if staying home with a one year old isn’t the busiest job in the world, or even a job at all. And I don’t know about you, but I could spend a full week cleaning my house and still have work to do… it’s tough enough to keep up with the house with just a husband and a dog, not even counting the baby! With everything on my to do list (and I’d be willing to bet any mom’s), it’s pretty impossible to be bored. In fact, it’s rare that I get to even sit and enjoy my coffee in a single sitting. So, here’s my story (the super short, abridged version) of my life as a stay at home mom.
As much as Amelia is a normal one year old, she isn’t. Shortly after she was born (after almost three weeks in the NICU), she was diagnosed with Hemifacial Microsomia and then almost promptly followed that up with another almost-three week stay in CHOP’s NICU. While technically all that means is that one side of her face is smaller than the other (her right jawbone is slightly smaller than her left and her right ear isn’t fully formed, also called Microtia), she also has two heart defects and was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea, which meant she had to wear a CPAP whenever she slept until she was about 8 1/2 months old. She also has torticollis, has physical therapy twice a week, is followed by Plastics, Cardiology, Pulmonology, and ENT, sees her pediatrician more regularly than is normal, is on two reflux meds, and has an inhaler. Aside from caring for her daily, I also take her to multiple appointments a week, pay our bills, handle our budget, keep up with the house, do the laundry, cook dinner, do the grocery shopping, and write a blog (I’ve been working on my time management and organizational skills, trying to meal plan, minimize clutter, and simplify my wardrobe, but that takes time, too!). Oh, and in my free time… what is that again?! But seriously, though, being a mom is tough!
When I’m feeling low, my Grandmom tells me this story about when she used to work in the Orphan’s Court at the Court House. As a stay at home mother herself of four kids for almost 20 years, she remembers feeling this way herself and it used to infuriate her when a woman would come in and state her job as “just a housewife.” So, she would write domestic engineer instead! With all the pressure to be able to do it all that women are under these days, its easy to fall into this trap and not give yourself the credit you deserve. It’s much easier to pick apart your shortcomings than to praise your accomplishments, but we really need to start cutting ourselves some slack and giving ourselves credit- we’re raising little humans!
A Day in the Life of this Stay at Home Mom:
7 am: wake up (Joe gets Amelia out of bed and I brush my teeth and wash my face before heading downstairs to make coffee)
7:30 am: bottle and morning meds (I usually work on the blog from now until its time to feed A breakfast)
8:30/9 am: breakfast (one day a week, usually Monday, A also has PT at this time so everything gets pushed back a bit)
10/10:30 am: nap time (she naps for 1-2 hours depending on the day- most of the time I take this time to answer emails, pay bills, straighten up, eat, etc. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I take a shower while she’s napping!)
12:30/1 pm: lunch (on Tuesdays, A has PT at 1 so our schedule gets a little thrown off. We also visit my Grandmom for lunch on Wednesdays)
1:30-4 pm: depends on the day… Tuesdays she has PT from 1-2 and I try to do some grocery shopping after that (since we’re already out), Wednesdays we visit my Grandmom, some days we try to visit friends, and some days we just play at home and I try to get some housework done or pay bills, etc… basically whatever I didn’t get to do during her am nap, I try to do in the pm and at the least cross something else off of the infamous to do list
4-6 pm: I prep and make dinner, feed Amelia, and give her a bath (not everyday, again, it depends on what the rest of the day looked like)
6-7 pm: depends on the day but we usually eat dinner sometime around this time, then cleanup, then get A ready for bed
7:30-8 pm: bed time for A. Joe gives her a bottle and puts her to bed and I try to work on the blog so that I can spend some time with him before I go to bed (I try for 10:30 but it’s usually closer to 11… yes, I’m one of those people who needs her 8 hours of sleep!)
Now I’m not saying that Joe doesn’t help me, he does. I’m so lucky to have a husband who comes home and takes Amelia as soon as he walks in the door. He does her morning bottle and morning medicine and he does her bedtime bottle, meds, and even puts her to sleep. He also helps out a ton with getting her in the middle of the night. But with that being said, he leaves the house around 8:30 am and often isn’t home until 7 pm, he sometimes has dinners for work that he has to attend and even has to travel occasionally (which is so hard- I admire you mamas with traveling husbands! I’m such a baby about it!).
Thankfully, I do have the blog, which gives me a creative outlet and helps me keep a sense of myself (by forcing me to actually get dressed and put on makeup a few times a week because it can be really hard to lose yourself when caring for another person full time) but it’s hard to really make time for myself and to find a work/life/me balance (please tell me I’m not the only one!). I have been wanting to get back into yoga since Amelia was born and I haven’t read a book in I don’t know how long but it’s more than worth it. I try really hard on a daily basis to make sure I’m present when I’m interacting with Amelia, to make sure I’m cherishing the time we spend together, and to really soak up every moment I can because I know it won’t last long! She’s growing so fast already!
In no way am I writing this to complain. I made a conscious choice to stay home with Amelia. I’ve always known that I wanted to stay at home with my babies but I don’t think I ever realized how difficult it would be, or that people would actually try to make me feel less important than if I were “working.” This is my choice and while there’s nowhere I’d rather be, it’s just as tough (sometimes tougher) than going out of the house to work and it definitely deserves the same level of appreciation. Being a mom is hard work! Whether you’re at home full time or working out of the house full time or doing both part time, we need to support each other as a community and lift each other up! Just remember that you’re doing a great job, you’re beautiful, strong, and smart, and can handle anything that comes your way!
Thank you so much for reading! I really hope you guys enjoy this series! Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve ever dealt with this or if you have a particular subject you’d like to see! I’d love to know what you think!
All photos by Donna Billingsley