Confessions of a temporary stay at home mom

Since I was 16 years old I’ve always had a job. I’ve had jobs back to back while in school, through college, and every time I’ve moved. I’ve done everything from telling at a bank, to fast food, to movie theaters, day care, janitorial work, and of course all sorts of journalism jobs.

After having my daughter I knew I’d go back to work because my husband was finishing up school and looking for a new career himself. This time I’ve had a little more leeway in deciding what I want to do job-wise, but I’ve been in no hurry to leave the workforce just yet. I told myself maternity leave would be a good trial for me to see what life is like as a stay at home mom, and boy has it been interesting.

I’m only six weeks in with six weeks to go and so far we’ve gone on several play dates, soccer practices, a trip to the pool, and other random outings. I always thought if I was a stay at home mom, all of those kids activities I’ve been pinning on Pinterest boards for my kids would be put to good use. We’d be doing science experiments, making our own playdough and sidewalk chalk. I have more than 100 pins on that board and guess how many I’ve done on maternity leave? … ZIP.

First of all, I don’t know how people manage to keep the house clean when they’re home all day. I admire people who can do that, but it’s just not within my capabilities. Then, when I think of doing some DIY project I have to ask myself how much messier the house is going to get. I used to just pick a few crafts up on the way home with my daughter and we’d craft it up between dinner and bed time. Now I have all day and I can’t seem to make plans to create something fun. Then there’s the planning and prep work involved in “what are we gonna do today?”

Playdates have been lifesavers for my lack of creativity. We went to my friend Taylor’s house and the kids made juice and played til dinnertime.

A few weeks ago I made a nice list of free story times around town, and other free regular events like music time, or baby day at the children’s museum. I had it down to a schedule–And I lost it. I haven’t had the energy to attempt to make another yet.

I can’t help but feel like my child is now dumber for having hung out with me for the last six weeks. The other day I told my daughter I’d help her with something in 10 seconds, and she started counting “One, three, four…” Really? Have I been that horrible of a mom to where she forgot how to count already?

I tried to make up for this, and her break from preschool by “homeschooling” with cool writing and reading ipad apps. Then I’ve been making dotted letters for her to connect on her own, spelling her name and other words. Yea, that’s about the extent of my education system during my time as a stay at home mom. I sorta suck. And she’s played with my ipad so much that it’s no longer cool anymore. She’s much rather play pretend with me or color.

I’m thinking I may end up investing in *one of these BabbaBoxes for the summer. They’re suppose to have all sorts of activities and games cut out and prepared already with different themes for each month of the summer. Less work for me! It may actually be the answer to my prayers, but we’ll see. Anyone tried one? They’re 10% off right now using the code: SURVIVE. I wonder if they’ll start making these things for moms who need help preparing dinner too. Now there’s an idea, order a box that comes filled with everything you need for dinner the whole month.

On the positive side of my stint at home, I did complete all eight seasons of Desperate Housewives and I’ve begun to embark on Scandal and Parenthood. Don’t worry… I don’t watch those shows when the kids are awake. Those are for my enjoyment between the hours of 10pm and 2am.

My husband works nights so in the morning when he goes to the gym he’ll take Lil’ J so I can try to get a little work done if the baby decides to nap. Other than that it’s just me and the babes from about noon til bed time, since he gets home after they’re asleep. So I’m counting down til his days off when I can catch a bit of a break and go out by myself or heck… use the bathroom alone.

My daughter NEEDS to start taking naps again. She did at preschool but I haven’t made her at home and I’m regretting that decision. A two hour nap would really help me get a handle of things. I could even do “lesson planning” during that time, make crack at Pinterest things, or if I get a BabbaBox to plan for me, I could use that time to sew.

I get it now. I never understood why stay at home moms said they don’t get “a break”, I mean it’s not like I get a break when I’m working then coming home to kids. But I do get a break from doing the same thing every day all day, day in and day out.

Don’t get me wrong, I freakin love my kids. They are the coolest and cutest in the world. But it’s nice getting paid while having uninterrupted adult conversations.

I’m turning things around though. I’m going to try to find a new groove and plan a schedule. Is that the key to doing this right? I’m determined to end my maternity leave on a good note, and not feel like a total loser.

How do you plan things to do with your kids during the summer, or the time you spend extended periods of time together at home?


*= Sponsored by BabbaCo. Click to learn more about the all-inclusive boxes filled with learning activities, books and more for the kids.

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  1. I technically get a break because my kids are in school all day, but I feel ya. It is tiring/exhausting. This is why I always tell E that there is no way I could have a job that requires anymore of my brain then this one. You do get in the groove of things. And your kids have plenty of time to learn their ABC’s and 123’s. as long as she isn’t 10 years old and still counting like that you are good!

  2. I love the way you put things!!! I am a SAHM to two toddlers now, and I feel like I’m going to lose my sanity. I plan on having my husband read this just so he can that I don’t exaggerate things. Every SAHM pretty much says the same thing. So thank you for putting it all out there. 🙂

  3. First, I want to say I love your blog. I have never commented or posted anything but I must comment on this! but I have to say You inspired me to start making my daughters outfits and over time I have gotten pretty good at it so thank you. Ok so what prompted me to start sewing was out of boredom, Within the past year I became a stay at home mom since we relocated to NC for my husband Job. Moving to a new area was tough and since I worked back home (and always worked) becoming a stay at home mom was tough. I was alone in a new area with my 8mo old daughter (she is now 2) because my husband works ALOT, and still does. any hoo I cannot stress enough how play dates have saved my sanity! Your little ones get interaction with other children and you can have some adult conversation. Before play dates I swear if i saw another Dora the Explorer episode i was going to loose it. also as a stay at home mom it is so normal not to have enough energy to clean and do other house hold things. I am a neat freak, love to decorate and love things to look pretty, that quickly changed once I became a stay at home mom. I am even lucky if I can load the Dishwasher (Sad I know) But Honestly You are doing everything right, Pinterest boards, crafting when possible, and play dates. Looking up story times and other community daily activities. I am apart of a moms group and we plan one on one play dates as well as group play dates. And its always fun connecting with other moms. We share everything from cooking tips to parenting styles etc. Take this from someone who told their husband before we even started trying for children that I NEVER wanted to be a stay at home mom, I was always so career driven. and not that there was anything wrong with it but I always felt it was not for me. However I gained so much from being home with my little mini this past year, its both challenging and rewarding. Being a Stay at home mom is wonderful and my perspective on it has totally changed. And when i do go back to work (Which will be soon) I can honestly say, I enjoyed being home. Whether your a stay at home mom or working mom there can be a peaceful balance 🙂

  4. We have good days and bad days. It feels like some days I spend all my time and energy on damage control (cleaning house, cleaning messes, calming fussy kids, the list is endless). Then theee are the days thay we manage to not only make but also USE the sidewalk paint. And all the laundry gets done as well. Those are the good ones. Naptime (IF) your kids nap, is the only downtime. And peeing alone isnt gonna happen. But its so wonderful. Here is the tjing though: you are on maternity leave. You arent supposed to be crafting it up every single day and stressing about coming up with fun educational activities every day. You are supposed to be getting to know that adorable little guy and resting and getting your groove back. You dont want to look back on this brief window of yummy newbornness and wish you hadn’t spent so much time stresing about details that you missed out on that sweet time that you can never get back. 🙂 And yes those premade craft box things would be perfect for you.

  5. Yep. I feel like a rockstar when we make it to the park and the dishes are (mostly) done. No planned crafts/activities over here! I tell myself that I’m helping him cultivate independent play.

    Lately I’ve been craving jumping back into a career. Just need to figure out what career that would be. Details, details…

  6. If it makes you feel any better, it gets better as the little one gets older. The first two months were a nightmare for me. The house was a wreck, ODD watched WAY more tv than she ever should have, and I felt accomplished if I got a shower and made something other than a frozen pizza for dinner. And I’ve been a SAHM for almost 3 years. Good luck!

  7. You’re being a SAHM during the hardest part, the hardest time is the first 2-4 months, depending on the baby and your physical recovery, after that you have enough energy to do about one really productive thing a day, like dishes or laundry. The older the kids get the more you can do but the clock starts over with every birth until your oldest is old enough to be truly helpful and then it gets better a little faster. Look at the Duggars, it doesn’t take all the pressure off but it’s nice to know that the older kids can help out and let you get a nap sometimes.

  8. I home school and I don’t get much of a break but it’s what I do. This is my purpose in this stage of my life. I taught school for eight years before children and traveled with my hubby, now it’s all about them… to a degree. I do make time for me here and there, but mainly it’s me and the kiddos everyday or the whole family doing an activity or traveling together on the weekends. Never a dull moment.. lol It can be tough, always on demand, but I know one day my babies won’t be babies anymore and that time is coming faster everyday. I try to stay thankful instead of feeling pitiful. It’s just for a little while.

  9. I hear ya. As much as I love and adore my little man, I’m definitely more tired on the weekends spending all day with him than I am during the week spending all day at work. It’s absolutely, utterly wonderful… and ridiculously hard.

  10. You’re awesome, just so you know. 🙂

    I’m a Stay at home mom, but my daughter is still young enough she takes two naps a day. However, my sister who has boys ages 2 and 4 does quiet time every day (The two year old still naps, the four year old is hit and miss if he actually sleeps). That’s my plan as well. They don’t have to nap, but they have to stay in their room and play quietly for at least an hour. Everyone needs a break from each other occasionally!

    For me (and I know not everyone’s kids are like this) I’ve found that my daughter loves looking around at different things, and loves riding in the stroller or a shopping cart, so, for us, it’s best to go to the store or on outings in the later afternoon when she’s a little tired and getting bored of being at home. haha. (It also took me about a year to figure that out. ha)

  11. I became a sahm when my son was born 5yrs ago, I too had worked from the age of 16 so it was a hard adjustment. My life changed over night, it was the night my water broke 😉

    It took a long time to get into a groove, a good year maybe. Shortly after I felt like things were picking up and going well, I was really figuring out the mom thing, I was pregnant again and had to figure it out all over again. My kids are 3 and 5 and we haven’t had nap time in a couple years so sometimes not a darn thing gets done. When things do get done it’s with 2 little people hanging on me, this morning was spent mowing the lawn for 2 hours with both of them following along. Eventually you fall into a routine and you fit in the learning along the way and on the road. You practice counting while doing normal activities. You might count the spoons as you put them in the dishwasher. You teach letters while reading, looking at signs while driving, and is awesome! This morning we were talking about the leaves on the trees turning green and what makes them turn green, that was our science lesson for the day. You find ways to fit in everything they need to learn while doing normal everyday things that need to get done. The bottom line is that kids don’t need the projects and activities highlighted on pintrist, they are wired to learn and will soak it all in without the extra time and money spent. They just want you to pay attention to them, play with them, and talk to them. That’s what they really need and it sounds like you have that part down.

  12. Hang in there, you are doing your best and that is enough. It’s so easy to start beating ourselves up and feeling guilty when we see things on Pinterest..but lets be honest who REALLY lives like that??? As I sit here and type this, my house is a COMPLETE disaster around me, the trash definitely needs to be taken out because something has died inside of it. My five year old is playing castles on the living room floor while my 2 year old naps in the room they share. If there was a 1-10 motivation scale I would barely be rating a 1 on most days. Even when I plan activities, EVERYTHING always goes wrong. My boys fight constantly..I mean CONSTANTLY. when the 2 year old naps I at least get a break from their fighting. If we go to the library to do music or story time, you’d better believe that one of them will not want to be there and through a ginormous fit and I will sit and wonder why we left the house to begin with. actually that happens with most activities that I plan, lets be honest. Am I cut out for being a stay at home mom? NOPE. most days I wish I could have a break and get out and work and make some money. But the truth is that I LOVE my kids and when I leave for more than 2 hours I miss my family terribly. My hubby says that when I’m gone all the kids do is whine and cry for their mamma despite the fact that I’m told by my kids multiple times daily that I’m mean, they hate me and/or they wish they had a different family. We may be dysfuncional but it works for us. I’ve learned to not compare myself to what I see on Pinterest, facebook or Parenting magazine cuz it’s just not gonna happen. I’m doing my best and that’s the best I can do!

  13. Don’t worry–at ALL–about providing “educational” activities. Little kids just need to play. Let them wander around the yard or park and poke at bugs. Let them splash in a big bucket of water with a few measuring scoops. Or just stare at the sky and kick their legs. Lots easier for you, too, since you don’t need to worry about giving them “productive” things to do.

    Oh, and reinstating naptime is a must! I am really proactive about naps for my little ones and quiet time for the ones who are no longer napping during that same time. It keeps me sane.

  14. I have 3 kids 3 and under and life is all about scheduling. We do the same things at the same time nearly every day, and it is not monotonous, it is awesome! It is really the only way to survive. Every day of the week we have different outings I know I can depend on, story time, music class, gymnastics, visit a park, even just grocery shopping. The time is much easier to work though when you are looking at smaller segments of it rather than 7 hours of them being awake before nap time. Nap time is my key to sanity. Even if they don’t want to sleep let them know you expect them to play quietly in their room for a set amount of time every day. Everyone benefits.
    What you are doing is extra hard because you are coming into it from working. There is an element of getting used to it that makes it easier to find ways to work with it. Coming from working to being at home with 2 kids is an even bigger transition that a stay at home mom having a second because we’re used to being at home with them all day. So go you!
    At it relates to Pinterest, I have a notebook I write the ideas down in and make “lesson plans” for the day while the kids are asleep. Then when they get antsy I already have some great ideas ready. If I don’t have these planned ahead of time they don’t happen.
    You are awesome! Congrats on your little cutie, he’s darling!

  15. Take it easy on yourself. Nobody does anything when they’ve got a newborn! Until your baby is 4 months old, life is crazy. Don’t feel bad about this, just be zen and realize that’s reality.

    And get that girl to take naps! It will save your sanity. If she won’t sleep then make her do quiet time every day. Seriously, it will make a huge difference in how fast you go crazy.

  16. Try to think of it as a ‘staycation,’ where it’s ok if the house isn’t clean, the kids don’t have organized activities and you are just on the brink of insanity, instead of right in the middle of it.

    That being said, I hired a housekeeper while I was on maternity leave (still have them, 4 years later). Expensive, but worth it. Made me wish I had hired one sooner. And that they did laundry. And made dinner.


  17. Great post! See, this is good, now you ‘get’ SAHMs from your experience 🙂 lol. I’m somewhere inbetween, I work-from-home and own my own business (2 actually)…. aaaand we homeschool. It’s a juggle to say the least! Thankfully my babies sleep about 12 hours each night, so I work for 5 hours out of those 12 and try to do as little work as possible during the day. But I’m always ‘working’ in my head and ideas are brewing. I allocate time for teaching my toddler useful things, but only when she wants too. I’m one to think that we’re not here to entertain the kids 24/7, sometimes they just need to learn to entertain themselves 🙂 I wrote about that a few months ago

  18. I’m right there with you! I felt so much more productive when I had no time to be productive. Now that I stay at home and seem to have lots of time – nothing gets done and simple projects take days. I don’t get it.

  19. I LOVED this post. I was laughing so hard that I had to share some of your funnier comments with my husband. I don’t have children, but I respect what you’re doing and your honesty. I admire both stay-at-home moms and moms who work. Neither one is easy.

    The kids are cute

  20. 12 weeks is a loooong time! That’s quite an adjustment from working. Stay-at-home motherhood is kind of mind-numbing, I’ve found. Good luck! It might take the whole 12 weeks for you to get into a groove and then you’ll be back to work, ha ha.

  21. I’ve tried the Babbabox once before. A friend received an extra one, so she gave me the extra one. I really liked it, although I felt like a couple of the items in the box were too advanced for my then 3 year old. Cool concept, though. There are so many similar companies popping up lately.

  22. This post hit home to me. I have also always worked outside of the house, and now due to what the drs call “daycare syndrome” we have chosen to for me to stay at home with my two kiddos a 3yr old and a 1yr old, the guilt, the fears and the doubts are killing me but I know we have made the best choice for our kids and our family.
    So if anyone can stop by my blog and give me some pointers I will really appreciate, I do need some of the most experienced SAHMs to “help” me through this journey.

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