Stay-at-Home Moms…When The Kids Are In School Full Time–How Do You Feel? How Does Life Change?

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Here I am sitting in café writing. I never do this-ever! I’m feeling really crunched for time lately. I’m here at the café writing because we live thirty minutes from our daughters’ school/dance classes and it seems silly to drive all the way home and then turn around and drive another half hour back when I’m already commuting a minimum of two hours a day. I’m trying to be more disciplined, organized, and efficient with my time. You’d think I’d have lots of extra time since I’m a stay-at-home mom and my kids are in 1st and 4th grade, but I don’t.

Life is busy and being a stay-at-home mom is busier than it may seem. There are so many things to do every day (I’m not sitting around doing nothing). Sometimes the work that I do seems invisible because it’s repetitive. Like making sure all the laundry is clean, cooking home-made meals every night, making egg-free lunches every day, washing dishes, cleaning the house, driving the kids to and from school and after school activities, helping with homework, volunteering at their school, quality family time, etc. The list goes on forever.

I’ve thought a lot lately about how working moms do it. I feel inadequate when I think about it. Sometimes I feel like maybe I should do more…Then I think about everything I do and I circle back to—I am doing a lot. I’m productive; I’m not lazy. How do working moms do it all!?!

Something has to give, right?

My husband and I made the decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom even before we had our daughters. We each were contributing in the way we thought fit our family best.

I love it. There have been challenging times for sure, but I don’t regret a minute of it–not even one second. Not even the times when I wanted to rip my hair out because of frustration or exhaustion.

But here is the deal: when both kids are in school full-time, things get a little muddled. Even though I’m not taking care of them 24/7, I am still doing a lot. Is being a stay-at-home mom “enough” once the kids are in school? Is it still an important job? I think so. I really do.

Then I think about the working moms again…Why can’t I do it all?

Does “doing it all” even exist?

I think it probably comes down to sacrifice for both the working moms and the stay-at-home moms. Both moms have to give some things up, right? I think in both cases there is guilt involved too, but maybe I’m wrong. I feel guilty that I don’t work out of the house and maybe working moms feel guilty about their time away or maybe not. I don’t know. Maybe they can do it all. I don’t have a clue really. That’s just what I’m guessing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging the working moms or the stay-at-home moms out there—not even for a millisecond. I think you are ALL amazing. We’re all working our butts off to do what we need to do to make a happy home. I’m not saying one way is better than the other either. I’m simply saying—I feel busy and I love being a stay-at-home mom, but sometimes I feel guilty that I’m not bringing home the bacon–I’m just frying it up!

I AM NOT SUPER WOMAN.

I wanted to be the Bionic Woman or Wonder Woman when I was growing up, but that’s not going to happen. Come to think of it—those women didn’t have children to raise.

I’m told this is a typical transition period for all stay-at-home moms—when all the kids are in school and stay-at-home moms try to feel their way through the mind field of what exactly that means for them. How different is it now that the kids are in school, really? Does that mean my stay-at-home job is over? I don’t think so. I think it’s only changed a little really.

Should I feel guilty or ashamed about not doing more? Deep down, I know that what I’m doing has significant value. It means something deeply important to me, my husband, and our kids. But still…

Whether you are working full-time, part-time, or as a stay-at-home mom—how do you do it? How do you feel about your role? What are you giving up by being on the path you are on? What are you gaining for you and your family? How do you feel your contribution to the family is working for you and your family unit? Do you wish you were working? Do you wish you were a stay-at-home mom? Why? Do you feel confused about your role in your family at times?

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. valeri
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 20:31:40

    i’m a SAHM. have been for 14 years. i have 3 children, the youngest is still in grade school. my house is clean and our laundry is fresh. my children are not stressed or rushed in the morning and i attend all school events. i make breakfast every morning, pack lunches and make dinner every night. we do crafts, talk about school events and i tell an original bedtime story every night.

    my kids have friends who spend more time at my house than they do at their own house. their parents are at work, so they come here after school rather than go to an after school program or home, where they would be alone.

    i love being a SAHM. to me, i DO have it all, because i have zero interest in having a career. lots of people can be secretary of state, an attorney, mail carrier, etc. only one person can be my childrens’ mom.

    i have friends and neighbors who work, part time, full time, as needed. i find that the happiest moms, are the moms that are working the number of hours that work for their family.

    Reply

  2. Lisa
    Feb 01, 2012 @ 07:15:24

    I am a SAHM, but I am also self employed and have a virtual assistant business. I decided to do this to help provide income for the family. I have three children (1st grade, 5th and 6th grade.)

    I find even though they are in school, the schedule is busier. I volunteer in the classroom, have appts to take them to, after school activities, volunteer with after school teams and I am a Sunday school teacher.

    I don’t always feel like I am balancing it all, my house isn’t as clean as a like. But my priority is family first and then I work around that. Some days it isn’t easy, but I love having the time to participate in their activities and be home for them when they are home.

    I think all Moms are amazing, we have the ability to balance everything we do and still keep it all going. It is a talent whether you are employed outside the home or not, we all have challenges that we have to meet in life. Our most important job is being a mother and we are all trying to do the best we can do for our families.

    Reply

    • Liz
      Feb 05, 2012 @ 11:39:39

      Hi Lisa,

      I’m thinking I’ll probably have a similiar experince as you. I’m just going to try to do the best job I possibly can. And I agree, Family first!!

      Reply

  3. Kerner71
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 15:38:10

    I am a WFTM and I know that this choice we made is what is best for our family. It enables us to do things we want to do in life now and to prepare for our “later”, which includes our retirement funds, and our childrens college educations.
    I did feel some guilt when they were younger in day care, when I missed the younger years-but now that they are in 6th & 11th grades I know for sure that my working is what is best for us all…sure, I would love more time to myself, I would love more time to be crafty, clean house, excercise, cook healthy meals, walk the dog, volunteer in the class rooms, attend morning rosary group, all of it, but I also know because I have worked we have a stronger, more secure future for all of us. And I know we have set a good example for our kids by showing them that if you are responsible, and work hard and have Faith you can live a very Blessed life. :)

    Reply

    • Liz
      Feb 05, 2012 @ 11:42:37

      I won’t mention your name here, but I know who you are!! I think you do a great job of making it all work. Maybe some women are built better to make it all work. I don’t know!?! By the way, your house looks pretty darn clean to me. :)

      Reply

  4. Heather Spiva
    Mar 19, 2012 @ 16:36:30

    Hey, just stumbled onto your blog … you know, friend of a friend type of blog-hopping. Love it. And LOVE this subject. I just became “one of those” sahm this year, with a kindergardner and 5th grader.

    I literally felt guilty EVERY DAY for the first three months. That I could go to Target and think through the whole trip — without someone interrupting me– was remarkable and lovely … and I felt guilty.

    I’m over that now. :) But, it’s true … there’s a huge shift when it happens and it has taken a while to get used to it.

    Anyway, lovely to be here. Thanks!

    Reply

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