After my husband sent me 11 Secrets that all working mothers know (advice given to Savannah Guthrie by a colleague upon her return to work after having baby Vale), I could not stop thinking of all the things that my stay-at-home mom friends and I vent about regularly. Just like the author, I completely agree that there are more similarities than differences between working moms and stay-at-home moms. After thinking about it for a week, here is my little list for those of us on the flip side of the coin.
- My daughter’s preschool teachers will never know what I look like with makeup on or a put-together outfit. Well, this is not entirely true. Sometimes at pickup, they do see a more put-together Monica but drop off is a different story completely. My daughter even pointed out to her teachers once, “Look, my mom wore her pajamas to drop me off!” Thanks, kid. When you don’t have anywhere to be but home or the store, it’s just hard to get ready that early. How working mothers get themselves plus their children ready every morning is a mystery to me.
- I’ve touched on this one before, but some days I would kill to go to the bathroom alone just once. Or to chat with another adult without being interrupted. I envision my working mom friends casually pouring a cup of coffee and lingering in the hallway talking with coworkers before settling down in their cubicle taking that wonderful first sip of coffee. My first sip is typically cold by the time I get to it because I get so sidetracked with the kids.
- As a stay-at-home mom, your days are ruled not by deadlines, but NAPS. Naps dictate everything. Gotta get errands done before, between and after them. And God forbid, anyone falls asleep during one of those or you won’t get a break later. At least, not in this house – my kids aren’t the best car-to-bed transferrers. So we work around naps.
- You will not often (read: never) eat breakfast or lunch at normal times and meals might resemble something like a few bites of cold leftovers or some string cheese with some apple slices. Something easy with little to no prep. Some days I realize around 2 or 3pm I have barely eaten anything because I have been so busy with my kids.
- You’ll have to work hard to create your own identity outside of diaper changes, feeding, cooking and cleaning. I really had no idea I would struggle with this – I thought staying at home would be enough to fulfill me. I love my time with my children, but I value myself as a whole person too. I make time for other passions I have so that it feeds my soul in other ways, making my time at home more enjoyable.
- Some days you’ll feel like you accomplished nothing – especially when your spouse asks what you did today. Yet you moved nonstop, cleaning up the tornado of toys and dishes and messes throughout the day to get it to resemble something “normal” by day’s end.
- Those nighttime hours after the kids go down feel like heaven. You shouldn’t stay up so late, but you know the time “alone” is ticking by and you won’t get it back for another 24 hours. You have to soak it up, even if it means being tired the next day.
- My kids are my boss. Just like in the article about working moms, your kids will always come first. Because if they aren’t happy, mom isn’t going to be productive, whether at home or at work.