The S**T they don’t tell you
Honest confessions of a stay at home parent.
Is it taboo to talk about the life of a stay at home parent? Is it easy to be a SAHM? Is it endless hours of torture? How in the world do people make it look so effortless? Honestly, when I decided to leave work behind, I thought it was going to be the most amazing experience ever. I dreamed of being one of those old school moms you see on tv shows, that seemed to have their s**t together. You know the ones that wear aprons because every meal they create is made from scratch, or the ones that organize every inch of their home and even hang clothes outside for that special fresh scent.
I quickly came to the harsh realization that that would not be my life.
I will just get into it right here, a behind the scenes look at what most people don’t see.
This “job” IS NOT all rainbows and unicorns. This s**t is not for the weak. It takes a very mentally strong human to run a household.
#1. Your family will no longer look at you as just a mom. In their eyes you are not only a housekeeper but also a human metal detector. You are responsible for finding lost keys, phones, or anything that was laid down in an obvious place. (I mean, really people, just open your damn eyes) You are the one who gets to keep track of every single item that everybody owns. Don’t bother trying to create some organized system for keeping things in order. You will actually get offended when it doesn’t work.
#2. You are the laundry do-er, the missing sock finder, and the only person who can fold anything. Laundry is no joke, especially with children, and a husband who isn’t much better. Every meal requires a wardrobe change. You will have to deal with diaper explosions that seem to only happen when the hubby isn’t home. Or just when you think you have tackled every piece of clothing in the house, you walk upstairs and find clothes shoved in corners or lying on the floor next to an empty basket. It is your duty to make sure those clothes get to the basket, because when someone needs it, you are the prime suspect as to why it isn’t spot cleaned and ironed ready to go the next time they need it. I don’t even want to think about potty training. That in itself requires a whole separate load of laundry.
#3. If your home is not equipped with a dishwasher, congrats, you got the job! So now, not only are you the only one who can cook more than a hot dog, you also get the satisfaction of cleaning up every bit of it. If you decide to surprise your family with some crazy Pinterest recipe that required every pot and pan in the house to whip up, you will be crying over the sink wondering why you didn’t just make some hamburger helper. It gets even better, those little people you stay at home with, eat 5 times a day! My hands are just one big prune.
#4. You can stop daydreaming of shiny, clean floors. A freshly mopped floor just means fresh little footprints. You’re floors are a minefield. You need to wear special shoes to protect your feet in your own home. The vegetables you thought your wonderful children ate at dinner? On the floor. The 1,000 piece toy they just HAD to have? Either embedded in your foot, or in the baby’s mouth. I hope you enjoy listening to the sound of your socks peeling off the dining room floor. I’m actually thinking of investing in one of those sticky vacuum things that restaurants use and keeping one in every room of the house.
#5. What are those showers you speak of? Hygiene is a thing of the past. You are lucky if you even get 1 real shower a week. Where you can listen to music without waking the baby, or slap on a face mask and waltz around the house in your robe without having to rush your kids somewhere. You might not even get to shower alone. Or go to the bathroom alone. You will need to plan your showers in advance based on how much cleaning you have that day. Why get dolled up if your makeup is just going to melt away in an hour from cleaning.
Basically to sum it up without rambling on, you are EVERYTHING. You need to excel in every career imaginable. You are a taxi cab (without tips), a hair dresser, a chef, a professional diaper changer, a wardrobe stylist, a therapist, a personal calendar, a nurse, a field trip coordinator, a lunch packer, a math tutor, a carpet cleaning specialist, and an organizing enthusiast.
These may seem like daily chores that every house has. It gets put all on you, because that is your “job”. Be ready for your family to leave stuff out because they know Mom will pick it up tomorrow. Or to not realize your super human skills are just a mirage and you could actually use some help.
That is another factor to think about. Can you ask for help? You’re not helping financially, so don’t you bear all the other responsibilities? Should you feel ashamed if you really want to watch the new episode of Dr. Phil even though the last load of dishes are still “soaking” in the sink? When does your “job” really end for the day? You don’t get to punch out and leave it all behind until tomorrow.
So, is it easy? That is such an open ended question. Every single SAHM has a different set of obstacles that need to be conquered every day. You need thick skin, and at least 1 hour a day to yourself. Some people think it’s a lazy way to get out of working a 9-5 job. Others come over and wonder what in the world you do all day. You need to be ready to defend yourself against such ridiculous accusations. Or just brush it off. As long as you know how you’re contributing it’s really nobody’s business.
Please also remember the pros of being a SAHP. You don’t have to pay someone to take care if your child, you don’t miss milestones, or games, or choir concerts. You are able to roam the aisles of target because you have the time. You are able to spend your days how you want, you just have to figure out when to get everything done so you can have some fun.
As with everything else, it’s all about balance. Make and follow a schedule. Find time to talk to people over the age of 6. Grab a glass of wine. Dedicate one day to deep cleaning 1 room and just tidy up everywhere else. Also, learn to be crafty! You spend less money when you can make things yourself, and it’s nice to show off sometimes. If you can handle living on 1 income, it’s a pretty cool job to have. At least you won’t be working with people you hate!
So to answer the last question, how do people make it seem so easy?
Well, I will get back to you when I figure it out.