So you’ve faced the big question in Part 1, you’ve faced all of the emotions in Part 2 , and you’ve decided to stay at home! Congratulations! You have joined in with a group of awesome women who love their families, who are hard-working, who are not afraid of challenges! Life from here on out will never be the same! But, how do you actually make it happen?
Being a stay at home mom will be easy right? No planning required, it will just all come naturally and flow smoothly, won’t it? If it does, then I need YOU to be the one writing this post instead of me (and to email me all your secrets)! I truly don’t believe there is a majority out there that believes being a stay at home mom is all about bon-bons and soap operas. We’re all mothers here, we can be honest about how much work goes into doing it and doing it well. If you read the logistics behind the decision to work, you may be a bit shocked to discover that the logistics are really not very different. That is because when it comes to the basics, every single mother is facing the same issues, the same struggles, and needs the same support. We are on a level playing field here, we’re just in different positions.
So, how would you feel if I told you that just like any working mother your number one priority is going to be childcare? Don’t discount me yet! I understand that the decision to stay home means the budget may be a bit tighter, so you may have to be a bit more creative, but it does need to be a priority. Utilize the cheap parent’s night out nights at local churches for date-night childcare, maybe form your own childcare co-op where you trade hours instead of dollars, or just do unto others and be surprised that they will actually do unto you back! Save your grocery shopping (or whatever chore stresses you out the most) for a time when your hubby or your mom or your neighbor can watch the kids and you can do it alone. Have lots of playdates with other moms and kids so you can have a chance to actually sit down and talk to another adult while your child has their crazy time.
Having your own little village of support is going to be a necessity for you, so join Facebook groups with women who have the same interests as you, get to know some of the older women at church who could maybe watch your children occasionally or help you cook meals and clean house, get some help from your BFFs. Realize that your needs are going to extend beyond what you imagined. Try to do something like once a month cooking or meal swaps to cut down on the time/pressure of home-cooked meals without resorting to 3 meals a day from a drive-thru window (no judging, we’ve all been there, we’re trying to be realistic here!) Maybe you’ll need to hire a maid to come once a week/month or stick to a nightly routine of a 15min clean-up before bed no matter how exhausted you are. Be sure to keep a calendar of activities so you can plan the quality time you need to be having with your children. (yup, this is pretty much word-for-word the same paragraph as the working mom post. Uncanny isn’t it? How we struggle with the same things while in such seemingly different situations?)
Above all, realize that you are not in competition. This is not the mommy equivalent of the Ms. Universe pageant. You will have days that you feel like you did nothing right. Making the choice to stay home with your children does not mean that it automatically makes it any less work. You may actually be surprised, feel overwhelmed, feel unequipped, be thrown completely off-guard if coming from the working mom status to a stay at home one. Just know that your house will be messy, you may burn dinner or spend all day cooking and no one wants to eat it. You may not shower for a few days and you may live in yoga pants. You may feel completely alone. Motherhood may not be anything at all like what you expected it to be.
So again, I will give you the same exact advice as I gave the working mother. Above all, just be honest with yourself and be honest with your family. Be realistic about how much time and energy you can truly devote to them. Be realistic about how much physical and emotional stamina you have to give. Be honest if you are reaching a breaking point, if you need help, if you can’t keep up with certain areas (because the time will come that you cannot keep up). Do not go into this expecting to do it all alone. And remember that at the end of every day you will have the title of “mother” to cling to, make sure to give it the devotion it deserves as well.
I have a soon-to-be 3 year old special needs son. I’m a SAHM as well as a Professional Pet Sitter.
How do/did you find other people who were willing to watch your special needs children? As I’m sure you know, a child with challenges can be, well, a challenge! So I feel bad asking someone else to watch him.
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