On being a Stay-at-Home Mom

I go to brush my teeth this morning and have to move fake celery out of the sink first.

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I would’ve moved the cars, but they and their toddler driver shower with me 9 out of 10 mornings anyway, so I just scoot them aside for later.

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After showering, I walk into the living room. We’ve been awake for 30 seconds and it is already covered in miscellaneous toys.

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I turn on Daniel Tiger so I can make breakfast.

You can’t even tell what’s happening on the screen because of the greasy hand prints everywhere. Unbeknownst to my 2 year old, the television is not touchscreen.

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It’s 7:15am. Too early for tequila? Maybe. I fill my bottle up with water instead.

The straw is malfunctioning, but I keep trying to hydrate anyway…one drop at a time.

A few hours and one long swig later, out pops a piece of carrot.

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I vaguely remember the toddler using my cup at some point during a meal.

4 loads of laundry, 87 “Please do not sit/stand/push/pull/squeeze/poke your brother.” commands, 3 sticky spills, 10 diapers, and 7 vomit-soaked burp cloths later, it’s finally…10am.

I text with my husband a few times on my way to the Old Navy sale. He’s grumping because he’s sitting in a conference room in meetings all day. They even have to order in food instead of taking a lunch break.

All I hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice in my head. I’m inwardly rewording what he’s saying. “I am in a seated position – in a super comfortable chair, by the way – having adult conversation. I mean, sure, we have to work a little, but we’re also just shootin the breeze. Man do I feel rested doing all this sitting. The best part is that I didn’t have to make/order lunch! Someone did all that for me and set a plate in front of my face. Isn’t that awesome?! I’ll just eat this warm meal while we all check our March Madness brackets.”

(I’m sure he does the same. “Ohhh…going to the park 8 times this week must have been sooo hard.”)

At Old Navy I have a lengthy conversation with a woman about the kind of wrap I’m carrying my baby in. Because that’s what I do now. I’m a baby-wearer. It frees up one hand to wrangle the toddler and one hand to carry a Venti quadruple-shot latte.

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I was at a wedding a few weekends ago and saw a lot of college friends. They’re all young and cute and non-stretch-marky, doing 20-something things like going to concerts and eating at “sit down” restaurants. Every single one greeted me with, “Hey, mama!” Because that’s me now. A mama. Times two.

I try really hard to listen about their extra cool career traveling the world as I slyly wipe baby vomit off my dress.

Being a parent is the most amazing thing in the world. You, a human, look at another human and say, “Yep. You. Let’s make more humans.” So you do. They’re 1/2 you and 100% perfect.

But being a parent is also the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. And being a stay-at-home parent? Oh my heavens.

It’s rewarding and thankless. It’s wonderful and irritating. It’s exhilarating and exhausting. It’s fun and mindnumbing. It’s all of those things, all the time.

When the days are good, they are goooooooood. When the days are bad, you find yourself on the Southwest Airlines website searching for one-way flights to…well, anywhere.

Don’t ask me what I do all day. Rather, congratulate me on keeping everyone alive and not burning the house down. And for heaven’s sake do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ask “What’s for dinner?” if it’s past 6 and you don’t already see something cooking.

Staying at home with young kids means I can tell you to the minute when I expect my husband home, because we’re hanging on by a thread until then. But it also means I get to see every single milestone my kids hit. It means I have tiny hands touching me and saying “mommy mom momma mommy mom mommm mooooommmaaaaaa” from sunup to sundown. But it also means I get to be the one to kiss every boo-boo. It means I have passionate conversations with strangers about Baby K’Tan vs. Moby Wrap, and other riveting subjects. It means I spend a lot of time at Chick-fil-A during Mom Rush Hour (11am-1pm on weekdays, if you’ve never experienced this).

About 2 hours into any given weekday at home with my boys, I run out of patience. Especially right now, with a refluxy newborn. I ponder giving one or both away. I love them with all of my heart and pretty much think they’re the greatest things ever, but I just can’t pick up one more mess. Or make one more meal. Or change one more diaper.

I don’t think I’m the only mom who feels like she’s drowning in monotony and whininess. (And if I am, you should’ve stopped reading a long time ago.) You love your kids, duh, but you’re just so…tired. Maybe ready to give up.

Im learning, slowly but surely, to be so thankful for that feeling.

Because at that moment – when I’m ready to throw in the towel – I can hear God saying, “It’s. about. time. You don’t have enough patience. You don’t have enough energy. You don’t have enough gentleness. But you know who does? Me. And I’m happy to lend you some of mine…but do you know how much I give you? Enough for today. Enough for this moment. Enough that you’ll need me again tomorrow. And the next day, and every day for the rest of your life.”

It’s like he knows we try to do it on our own or something. And it’s like he knows that when we try to do it on our own, we run out of energy super fast.

Instead, we pray: Give us today our daily…patience. Kindness. Gentleness. Self-control.

Not enough until our kids are grown. Not enough to get through the week. Give us enough for today, because sometimes, in the thick of tantrums and messes, we can’t even imagine tomorrow.

{insert “the days are long but the years are short” quote here}

Thank you, God, for entrusting us with your children. And special thanks for making one cute moment outweigh 1341 not-so-cute moments…that’s a lifesaver some days.

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And thank you for the quiet reflection of bedtime.

No matter how disobedient my kids were or how much they cried or how tired I am at the end of the day, the very things I was irritated with at the beginning of the day are the same things that make my heart full at the end. I finally laugh about the carrot in my straw. I smile at the cars in the shower and think about how much fun my bigger boy had driving them over the drain. I love the greaseprints on the tv – a reminder of how small that “big” boy really is. I see the celery that I frustratedly cast aside that morning and my heart breaks for the couples who would kill to find fake food in weird places around their house.

As I return the toys in the living room to their rightful place in the playroom, I find myself thanking God for two healthy boys who make such wonderfully massive messes, and asking Him to help me revel in their sweet innocence a little earlier than bedtime the next day.

May we, oh stay-at-home parent friends (and working parent friends…and all humans, for that matter), never forget how much love, joy, peace, patience, etc. we have access to the moment we say, “I can’t do it alone.”

32 thoughts on “On being a Stay-at-Home Mom

  1. Belinda

    I’m sending this to my 1st time mother – daughter. She will need this this. Thanks for sharing. (1st time grandma). 🙂

     
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  2. A Dad

    “I text with my husband a few times on my way to the Old Navy sale.” I hope you were WALKING to the sale and not DRIVING. By the way, I loved the article.

     
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    1. Lindsey C

      This was the exact same thing i was thinking about the texting. If you were driving, it can wait no matter how great you think you are at multitasking the texting and driving.

       
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  3. Texas Bombshell

    My SAHM best friend posted this on Facebook. It’s hard to relate to a lifestyle so far fetched from your own, but this is so well written it gave me a sense of appreciation and admiration for what all my Stay at Home Mommy friends go through. While I’ve never been naive to the sacrifice and sometimes unglamorous daily ongoings of a SAHM, it’s very easy to forget just how hardcore it is and why I admire people for having the courage and grace to do something I can’t, at least for now. Kudos for the great read!

     
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  4. Whitney pauley

    I’m a stay at home mom of an 8 year old, 2 year old and 3 month old. I’m lucky I got a minute to read this!!

     
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  5. Roxanne

    That craziness is exactly that, crazy. And without it, we would be wondering what to do. I stay home with my 2 children during the day and work in the evenings. A few weeks ago, I was stuck in the hospital for 3 days, I was bored. I kept thinking, “I can’t wait to get out of here and back to the craziness”.

     
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  6. Rachel

    Love this! I definitely underestimated how hard it can be until I started staying home with our second child.

     
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  7. Kas

    “asking Him to help me revel in their sweet innocence a little earlier than bedtime the next day.”
    Yes. A little earlier, a moment here or there in the day, oh how precious these little ones! I have 4, tho my first and last are growing up with Jesus. I don’t know what I would do without the sweet moments. Thank you for writing this, thank you for the gentle (no guilt trip) reminder.

     
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  8. TAmama

    This is awesome. My husband is a stay-at-home dad to our 3-year-old boy and 15-month-old girl. He loses his mind pretty much daily, and he’s doing an amazing job. I’m sending this on to him – it’ll be really good for him to know he’s not alone!

     
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  9. Becky

    I am a stay-at-home-mom of a 19 month old with another one coming in October. This is the perfect explanation of my thoughts and feelings. 🙂 I keep a journal, instead of a baby book, that will one day be given to my daughter. I joke in it contantly about how lucky she is that I haven’t wall slammed her. 😉 But, I love her more than anything or anyone else. Keep on truckin’!

     
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  10. Melissa

    Thank you so much for writing this. I was cracking up and relating in the beginning and tearing up at the end. I went from being a stay-at-home-mom for 11 months with my son to having to go back to work full-time in an instant. I worked for 5 months, found a part-time job at my church, and I’m home with my baby again. Only, he’s not a baby anymore…to say the least, it hasn’t been an easy transition for either of us. But we love each other too much to have it any other way. Thank you for writing this.

     
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  11. Tina

    I remember those days all too well. My boys are now 13 and 10 and one piece of advice if I can share is this…if you can make your bed in the morning when you get up, the day seems to have a better start. Get down in prayer before you get up out of bed. Blessings.

     
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  12. Sharissa

    Yes! “My grace is suffiecient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) And you’re right – it’s a good thing He makes’em so cute!

     
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  13. Michelle

    I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old. Moby all the way! Don’t get me started on those Baby Bjorns…how come the babies look so uncomfortable in those? And this post totally makes me wants third 🙂

     
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  14. Brittney

    I just randomly found your blog through some mutual friends on Instagram. I stay home with my 1 year old and this could not have come at a better time! I love the honesty in your writing. I am officially a blog follower now. 🙂

     
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  15. Carla

    Being a stay at home mom of two boys, I couldn’t have written this better. Honestly it’s like you took the words from my head! Made me cry. My boys are 2 & 5 and I thank god for them every day, and I apoogoze to god for my lack of patience on most nights. Thanks for sharing.

     
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  16. Kirstie Potter

    Your message encouraged me today, and I actually quoted you (giving reference of course) in my own blog today, since it was on our weaknesses! Thanks for the awesome share!!!

     
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  17. Julie

    I needed this today after running errands with my four girls who are on spring break!! It was not a fun morning, to say the least.

     
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  18. Beth Garcia

    As a stay at home mom for the last nearly 26 years, I loved this read. I still have a 12, 15, and 17 year old at home, we homeschool! My others are 25, 24, 22, 21, and 19 and let me say even though they have moved out on their own I am still their stay at home mom. They still call and say “mom can you……?” I would not have it any other way…most days:). The investment we make now pays off when they are grown. I am so blessed with great kids. I truly believe that the majority of the ails in our society come from bad parenting. Investing in the lives of our children is one of the most important things we can do. Revel in the mundane and resist the urge to make everything special. When everything is special then nothing is special. As we appreciate the little things we teach our kids to do so. Kudos to all the diaper changers put there. Know that what you are doing is priceless and valuable. Call on God daily for grace and then pass that on to your kids!

     
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  19. Natasha Seward

    I’m a stay at home mom, too. I have a 6 year old, 3 year old and a 1 year old (2 boys and 1 girl).
    When it’s crazy it’s crazy!
    I love this article because I know that my sanity isn’t the only one that’s being stretched to it’s limits yet my heart is being fulfilled by joy and love!

     
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  20. Becki

    You have the most important job in the world, Ladies! I never regretted one minute of staying home with my children. I often wish for it back, my youngest turns 21 this year. Press on!

     
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  21. coffeemugsandsippycups

    So beautifully stated. I kind of feel like you and I are living the same life. 😉 Thank you for this wonderful reminder today! I have five kids ages six and under (with another coming in July), so I can definitely attest to the madness involved with staying at home. 🙂 Be blessed!!!

     
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  23. Mom of 4 little boys

    This was just what I needed to hear today. I am a stay-at-home mom to 4 boys (ages 4, 2 1/2, and 18 month old twins). I can sympathize with every single detail of your day!! This is a great reminder that when those precious little “angels” are about to drive me over the edge, that’s exactly when I need to call on HIM and stop trying to do it all myself!! 🙂

     
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  25. Anna

    This is so beautifully written! I’m not a mommy yet, but I do know from the many wonderful, God-fearing women around me that being a mama is a very good thing. Moms who love the Lord, their husband, and their children more than anything are some of the most beautiful people out there…

    …Even when they’re covered in baby throw up. 😉

    God bless you as you raise your sweet children in His ways!

     
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  26. Sylvia

    So very well written. It’s good to read something like this as your little one is *finally* asleep at the end of the day, and realize you’re not alone. Only in my case there’s no dad coming back home in the evening to help out — it’s all me, 24/7. Still. I wouldn’t change it for the world. As hard as it was to decide to put my career aside to stay at home with my now 11 month old son, I have no regrets. I can always go back to work any time, as long as it feels right. As for now. I’m making sure those tiny hands know I’m around when they want to touch me. And to see that sweet little face smiling at me as we wake up in the morning is the biggest, best reward I could ever wish for. Thanks for sharing.

     
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  27. angieandjodi

    Oh my goodness! I identified with this post so much! It’s amazing how many highs and lows you can experience throughout a day being a SAHM. It is definitely wonderful that one precious moment trumps it all and makes you realize how blessed you really are. Thanks for writing this!

     
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