I was fortunate to stay at home when my second baby was born for 7 months.
That’s much longer than a typical maternity leave, so I felt blessed to have so much time to stay at home with my new daughter and toddler son.
While I was getting the hang of breastfeeding and managing two babies at a time, I envisioned what our days would look like. My inner teacher planned educational activities for my toddler, and I fantasized about what I would do with my free time while they napped, because they would always nap at the same time…right?
WRONG. I couldn’t be more wrong! I quickly learned that those “educational” activities would be interrupted by the needs of my newborn. And naps at the same time?! Ha! Rarely. Hell, it’s a successful day if I managed to squeeze in a shower. What was happening?! I thought stay-at-home moms sipped their coffee while their kids played together. They should look put-together all the time because they have the time to shower and do their makeup. They are always in shape because they have the time to work out.
Well after 7 months at home with my little darlings, I learned I was completely wrong about stay at home parents. Here are a few myths:
1. Stay at Home Mom’s have time to clean.
This was a hard one for me. I assumed that since I was home all day, my house would be spotless. I was so wrong. The household duties of a stay-at-home parent are endless. When I cleaned up after breakfast, there were a pile of clothes that needed to be folded. When the clothes were folded, the baby needed to be fed, and ultimately changed. Once baby was taken care of, the laundry was still there and now buckets of toys have been emptied all over the living room. While trying to pick up the clutter, my toddler requests a snack. While cutting up some fruit the baby wants to be held. I also notice that he coffee pot hasn’t been cleaned yet, and here are crumbs on the carpet. It literally never ends! Cleaning with children in the house feels like a pointless task.
2. They always look put-together.
No. If you refer to number 1, you’ll notice that cleaning and picking up takes a great deal of time. Dressing a toddler and a newborn to go out in public is a daunting task in itself, especially when your toddler is in an adorable phase of refusing to wear pants. Seriosuly, it’s like wrestling an alligator. So after dressing the kids, packing snacks and making sure my diaper bag is stocked, I barely found the energy or will to “fix” my appearance. I tried to embrace the mom bun, because it was easy and kept baby from pulling my hair. But it hardly made me look out-together. How do some moms make it look so good?!
3. Making meals is easy, since they have all day to do it.
Making meals was probably my least favorite activity. When you’re trying to prepare healthy, well-balanced meals for your family, it requires time (something I had very little of). I would try to keep the babies entertained and let my toddler “help”, but this only made it harder. His entertainment includes pulling everything out of the cabinets while I stepped over everything, often wearing the baby. I even tried to get him to watch TV while I made dinner, but he wasn’t interested. I also learned why this is often called the “witching hour”…whining, crying and clinginess are at an all-time high.