When I was a going to work mom, I thought being a stay at home mom would be so super easy. I mean, I was already doing both jobs, right? And pretty darn well (or so I assured myself). So if I could one day just drop the job job and make the home thing my only job, I would be so relaxed! I'd have all this free time!
Surely my house would be kept clean, the laundry would be finished, errands would always be run on time, I would never be late for an appointment. Because my work would be cut in HALF, you guys. I'd be doing half the work! Because look! Clearly by going to a job job, I'm doing twice the work of a mom who stays home!
Oh my gosh, yes, please slap my in-the-past self. Or pray for me. Yes, that would do quite nicely.
Because you know what I neglected to figure into the equation? The three kids who would also be in my house with me.
See, most of the time as a full-time working mom (I'm just going to say "working" to mean "at a job outside the home" because although I fully acknowledge that what I do now is also work, ain't nobody got time for typin' all those words every single time. End disclaimer) we rolled like this:
I normally worked Tuesday thru Saturday. Mondays I would usually still take the kids to the family that did their daycare (that is why my certainty that I was doing so well at both of my jobs was maybe a little misplaced) so that I could run errands and workout and get my toes done alone. On Saturdays my husband got no such day to himself because he had the girls with him while I went to work, but I somehow missed that entire dynamic during those years.
If I cleaned the house before I went to bed, you know what? It was still clean when we got home in the evening because no one had been there! There were no children having snacks or doing crafts or learning or living or doing. It was kind of like a life museum.
"What would I even DO with all my free time if I didn't have a job???" I would think. Oh my gosh. I'm really going deep into confession land right now you guys. It's so embarrassing. What a jerk I was.
I. Had. No. Idea.
But then....then everything changed. We had our third baby and I became a stay at home mom on basically the same day and the phone rang and it was reality and it was all like "Hahahahahahaha! Ya feelin' strong NOW woman? Tell me you're feelin' strong!"
Y'all, I didn't know. I didn't know how much work it is to feed and entertain and help and encourage small children for the entire day every single day. And this is when the older ones were still going to school! I was a stay at home mom of three, one of whom was a newborn, and I had no clue what I was doing.
I didn't know about time management and using naptime to its full potential. I didn't know about blitz cleaning right before dinner. I didn't know that you could go places and accomplish things during the day on, like, a Wednesday. I didn't even know how to make friends. And it was really, really hard.
Obviously, particularly in retrospect, it was also good. It was the right thing to do and the best thing that I could offer my family (because of course hard doesn't mean bad). But still- it was hard. Way harder than I expected it to be and certainly way harder than I thought I was allowed to think it was. It was like....it was like I had jumped into a brand new job with no training, no co-workers, and no support network and expected myself to be wildly successful. Because of course that makes perfect sense.
Having both parents working full time was hard for our entire family, but when I started staying home, it was really only hard for me and that was not easy to share or explain back then. I didn't have the vocabulary and I didn't have my village.
So I guess what I'm saying is this: if you have just started staying at home full time and it feels hard, way harder than you expected it to be, that's because it probably is. But it's going to be okay. You're not doing it wrong and there is definitely no one better to do it. It's just...hard work. Being a working mom is hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard. My mistake was thinking that one of them is intrinsically harder than the other and that if I could just do the opposite thing from the one I had to do, I could finally be a woman of leisure.
From the brain of Dwija seven years ago to the eyeballs of any stay at home mom reading this: I am so, so sorry. I was clueless but now I have a clue and I am facepalming myself something fierce.
From the brain of Dwija today to the eyeballs of any mom of any scheduling or life requirement reading this: you are doing hard things and you are doing them well. You are the best person for this job.