At Home: the first SAHM weeks after working-mom life

As a stay-at-home mom, the days can be tedious and repetitive.  There’s the morning “activity period”, naptime for one of my kids and “quiet time” for the other, an evening “activity period”, dinnertime and bedtime.  Every day.  Motherhood can feel like a single scene caught in an endless loop.  “I’m hungry!” is usually the scene theme.

After 15 months of my full-time job, my memories of the SAHM life have proven accurate.  For nearly two weeks I’ve been back in my role as the full-time caregiver.  There’s lots of crying, ‘mommymommymommmymommy’ shouting, and fighting over toys.  There’s zero privacy, no meals of my own, and little space to write.

There has also been a whole lot of life to live.  We’ve made daily trips to the playground, ate lots of pizza, and played for hours in their circus tent.  It’s been the kind of new, exciting, lazy summer fun you think only exists on television.  Over the next few months I do hope to find a new routine.  Gavin will start school and I will once again be compelled to pour my soul out on paper.  For now, even with the lack of structure, the comfort of one another’s company is enough to keep us content.   Everything feels new.

When you are with your kids all day every day, you notice even the smallest changes.  I see C’s crazy streak has been tempered.  She is quick to grab my hand or ask for help when she’s beyond her limits.  Don’t misunderstand me: she’s still climbing ladders that my 3yo is scared to even approach, but she seems to be more aware of her own limits rather than jumping head first into every single step.  I see Gavin stretching beyond his comfort zones.  With mommy watching, he climbs to new heights, he jumps without needing to hold my hand, and he talks to other children without needing a prompt.

As for me, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.  It’s been a struggle to explain why I left an ideal job.  It’s been a struggle to identify my future career path.  It’s been a struggle to look women that I respect in the eye and tell them “working full-time out of the house is simply too much time away from my young children.”  It’s been hard to see the judgment in their faces.

Yet, even with these external struggles, I feel more content than even my best day on the job.  Words cannot capture what feels right in my heart, especially when it makes no sense on paper.  My fears, my worries, my bad days — they haven’t disappeared, but, with my children and my family, I have the confidence to know we can handle whatever comes at us, financially, emotionally, physically.

I am at home and it feels that way.

Of course, always having snacks helps make a happy family.

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About Carinn Jade

Mother, lawyer, yogi, writer, non-sleeper. Published @NYTMotherlode. Contributor @Mommyish @Moonfrye @HuffPostLive. I like beer (not wine) & tea (not coffee) & being a contrarian.
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12 Responses to At Home: the first SAHM weeks after working-mom life

  1. Good for you. No woman should ever have to justify the desire or need to stay home with her children. We’re mothers. Enough said. I’m glad you’re feeling at home with it. It goes by ridiculously fast. We all hear it a lot, it’s a total cliche, but seriously—my daughter just started her first day of high school today. I blinked and she became a teenager. I’m having a moment.

  2. Love this. Very envious that you’re able to stay home with them now. Enjoy it…even tedious and repetitive routine, the leftover nibbles of grilled cheese for lunch, and all circus fun! 🙂 It all goes so fast.

  3. Taryn says:

    You’re living the mama dream, congratulations, and I totally agree with the first comment about not needing to defend or justify your choice!

  4. read.robin says:

    You should never have to defend what feels natural to you. I think you’re very brave for choosing to stay at home despite those struggles.

  5. Great post! I am right there with you. While I didn’t quit my dream job, I quit a job with a comfortable salary and chose to stay at home with my son. I did go back after maternity leave, but it didn’t seem worth it AND it wasn’t my dream. While the day’s are repetitive and can feel like Groundhog Day (the movie, not the day), there isn’t any place I’d rather be than right here with my little man. And yes, screw the mommy wars.

    • My job was someone’s dream job, but it was absolutely not my dream job. I hear you all the way – I’d love some elusive idea of balance or (dare I say it) some way to “have it all”, but given the choice this is the place for me now. I understand how complicated it is but it doesn’t mean we give up all notions of identity. We just have to redefine it.

      • Exactly. I also don’t buy the argument that you can have it all, just not at one time. That doesn’t sit well with me (or fit well for me) either. What I do believe in are phases and stages of life, and this just happens to be one of them and we just happen to be lucky enough to be able to embrace this stage of motherhood fully.

      • phases and stages – very well said. Let’s enjoy the ride.

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