Many women grow up with the dream of becoming stay-at-home moms once they start a family. After all, when you’re envisioning life as a first time mother, you’re probably not factoring nannies, daycare and babysitters into the equation. Nothing’s more daydream-worthy than you and your first born spending unlimited quality time together. So, if your finances allow it and it seems like a good fit for your partnership, becoming a stay-at-home mom might seem like a dream come true – until it isn’t. The truth is, there are a lot of things you might not have thought of when you were getting ready for baby and planning the next 18-or-so years of your life. Here are some truths about stay-at-home moms to consider before you decide to leave your office job.
Childcare is a round-the-clock job
Taking care of your child and sharing in housework are responsibilities you’ll have to take on even with a traditional day job, which might lead you to think that you’ll have it pretty easy once you cut out the day job. However, being a stay-at-home mom is a job in and of itself. You won’t have to answer to anyone, but you still need to be your own boss. This means meeting expectations, setting goals, holding yourself accountable, taking responsibility and hiring help when you need it. Not to mention that the demands of motherhood can be exhausting and thankless at times.
Your relationship may change
Some women find that their relationship with their partner suffers once they become stay-at-home moms. Your life will change, and who you become might look a lot different than the person you were pre-baby. You might find that you don’t have as many things to talk about outside the topic of your child without a career and other activities. However, you don’t have to let your relationship suffer. Make it a point to nurture your interests and take care of your own needs. When your partner’s on parenting duty, take up a class, join a sports league, or make it a point to get together with friends. Keep an eye on self care and a strong relationship will follow. You can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself first.
Your child won’t be well-behaved just because you’re there
Some moms think that their children will behave themselves much more when they’re home to redirect their behavior and supervise. This isn’t always the case, though. Actually, children might act worse once they’re comfortable with you being around all the time and they feel free to do what they want. They might fight with their siblings, talk back or even throw tantrums. It could still be a lot of work getting your child to behave properly.
You might be tempted let yourself go
No one wants this to happen, but sometimes letting yourself go sneaks up on you. You might start to put on a little weight or stop dressing as nicely as you used to. You may feel like you don’t have anyone to impress anymore since you’re not going to work every day. And even though this might be true, it’s still a good idea to keep tabs on your appearance. Otherwise, it could negatively impact your self-esteem, your relationship and other aspects of your life. Engage in healthy eating habits and aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It could be as simple as going for a walk or cleaning the house.
You might become more like a maid
There’s a difference between a housekeeper and a maid, and you don’t want to be the maid. A housekeeper takes care of general cleanliness and does a good cleaning every so often, while a maid takes care of everyone’s mess without question, doing everything that anyone needs. Just because you’re a stay-at-home mom doesn’t mean you have to do all the housework. Your child should still be responsible for cleaning his or her room and doing a few chores you delegate around the house. Your partner should still have some household tasks to take care of as well, like taking out the trash, cleaning the garage or cooking meals on the weekends.
You don’t have to be Martha Stewart
Some people assume that stay-at-home moms have lots of time on their hands, which allows them to do everything as neatly, intricately and fancifully as Martha Stewart. But you’re not expected to make three-course French cuisine for dinner, tackle every conceivable DIY project posted on Pinterest or go all-out for any and every holiday. Just do your best to do whatever you think needs to be done and don’t stress out over it. If your cupcakes don’t look like they could grace the cover of a magazine or your living room isn’t always picture-perfect, don’t worry. No one’s expecting you to be Super Mom except you. As long as your house is maintained, your family is happy and healthy and you feel fulfilled, that’s all that matters.
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