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Stay-At-Home Realities

Jan20

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Busy New MotherDear Amalah,

I’ve gotten so much guidance from you over the years that I probably owe you my first born. But… I really like him, so maybe we can make a substitution. What’s the current baby to wine exchange rate?

Six months ago I gave birth to a brilliant, adorable, happy baby boy. Being a mom is amazing and exhausting and I absolutely love it. However, I’m a little worried about what this new life phase means for my marriage.

On some level I always knew that becoming parents would change our relationship, but I don’t think I was prepared for exactly how much. There have been positives – I love watching my husband be a father to our son, and he is even more patient and kind, if that’s possible – but on the other hand, I feel like we’re missing that spark. No flirting. No witty banter. No long, engaging philosophical discussions.

I know some of it is hormones, lack of alone time, and sleep deprivation, but after a lot of thought (over-analyzing), I’ve identified two other major contributing factors:

1) SAHMing – I wanted more than anything to be home with this kid, but I didn’t realize how much confidence work gave me. Despite the inevitable frustrations, my job made me feel smart, productive, and valued. In this new role I feel frumpy, overwhelmed, and incompetent. Just keeping my little one fed, changed, and mostly happy takes all my time and energy. All the bonuses to staying home that I pictured – healthy gourmet dinners every night, organized house, clean bathrooms – are just not happening. I’m not interested in spending all day at a desk any time soon, but I want to find something that makes me feel like an accomplished, equal partner to my husband again.

Side note: Did I mention we’re “sharing” one car? Stay-at-home-mom is a literal term for me.

2) Baby word vomit – I cannot stop talking about all things baby. Breastfeeding. Cloth diapering. Sleep plans. Teething. Flame-retardant chemicals in polyurethane foam changing pads. That sleeping baby is quiet… Too quiet… Lemme just go check real quick, then I really want your opinion on the whole polyurethane foam thing.

I can see the desperation in my husband’s eyes to talk about something, ANYTHING else, but I can’t help myself. It’s like I have a compulsive need for discussion and validation of every minutiae of parenting. God, I sound crazy.

So bottom line… Is this a normal phase or can I “fix” it?

Sincerely,
The Not-So-Good Wife

Oh my God, SO NORMAL. And so something I wish every person who thinks the SAHM gig is “easy” or “perfect” or “the right choice for everybody” would read. I mentioned recently that I found a large swath of pros and cons to EVERY arrangement I’ve tried, and your list seriously mirrors mine. A lot.

(Once upon a time, my husband suggested trading in one of our cars and sharing for awhile. Just temporarily, so we could go without a car payment for a few months or so. After thinking it over, I lovingly yet bluntly told him that if I were to spend my days literally trapped in the house without a car — and had to weigh/schedule/screen any potential outings, errands, playdates, etc. against his need to get to work — I would likely make it one week before I stabbed him in the neck with a fork while he slept. Thus, we have remained a two-car family.)

Let me point out one little detail here: Your baby is six months old. I know it FEELS like half a year should be enough time to adjust to such a profoundly huge life and schedule change, but…no. Six month olds are demanding, unpredictable and absolutely a full-time job in and of themselves. Yet the myth that SAHMomming will equal a spotless house and home-cooked meals, PLUS ample opportunities for Mom to write a novel in her “spare” time, or turn some other hobby into a successful business venture, remains pervasive and out there. And it’s driving us all crazy when we realize that most days, staying home with small babies and children actually means overflowing laundry hampers and trying to get out of our pajamas before our significant other gets home.

Also normal: The unsettling feeling that you aren’t an “equal” partner because you aren’t earning money. This is also exacerbated by the do-it-all SAHM myth, since I’m SURE you believed that you’d be adding all this value by being a full-time housekeeper and gourmet chef who ran all the errands and balanced the checkbook WHILE ALSO being a full-time daycare provider who could provide non-stop one-on-one interaction and enrichment and daily outings to the playground for your child. I’m not mocking you for that belief, of course, because no matter how silly and unrealistic it is once you write it all down and re-read it through the lens of what modern parenthood is actually like…I believed it too. (I mean, I was going to do all that PLUS complete a dozen freelance/blogging writing deadlines every week! All by myself! During naptime! HAHAHAHAHA.)

And then the reality is that even if you WERE accomplishing all that, there’s the uncomfy truth that our culture still seriously undervalues “women’s work” like childcare and housework. We can all talk big talk about how important motherhood is and modern feminism is about choices, but then there’s still that tiny nagging voice that still judges our “value” by the number on a paycheck. That we no longer get. Huh.

Point is, I think some of the problems can only be “solved” by letting go of your pre-baby expectations of what staying home would be like and what you are realistically capable of. FOR NOW. Because again: six months old! You will find a rhythm, I promise. It might not be quite the symphony of accomplishment you once imagined, but it will get better.

As for the rest of it — the uneasy feelings re: loss of identity and equal partnership in marriage — well, I can’t offer you some one-size-fits-all magic solution. Just the reassurance that it’s a very common, normal struggle that a LOT of us have muddled through. And that muddling process has taken longer than six months, so cut yourself a break for still feeling a bit off-kilter about it all.

My parents never had more than one car, even though they lived in suburbia, far from buses and public transportation and the only thing within walking distance was a 7-Eleven and a dry cleaners. My mom did it; I have long since come to peace with the fact that I CANNOT. Date nights are also a must for us. We don’t have any rule during them about “no kid talk” or anything on them, but it’s still critical for us to get out of the house together. We eat someplace we wouldn’t take the kids (even if it’s just a super-cheap bowl of ramen or plate of sushi, or anyplace without a grilled cheese on the menu). We see a movie or what the hell, let’s stick around at the bar and have a cocktail until we know for sure the kids will be asleep when we get home.

My blog and social media outlets are a BIG help for curbing that “all baby talk all the time” thing you mentioned — they let me converse with people who DO want to hear about cloth diapers and flame-retardant chemicals, while also usually providing me with a funny link or news story to tell Jason about when he gets home. (Jason, for the record, struggles with not letting HIS job dominate our evening conversations. You talk about what you do all day, be it diapers or software engineering. So I’m usually the one who’s like, what do you MEAN you haven’t seen the Sh*t Girls Say videos yet? Holy crap, open your laptop RIGHT THIS INSTANT IT’S HILARIOUS.)

And I’ll be honest, I eventually figured out that staying home in the traditional sense just wasn’t for me, and focused on ramping up my working-from-home efforts.

Yet, for the record, still and to this day: My house is a damn mess. I am always behind on laundry and am known to move some of the same piles of clutter from surface to surface for months at a time. I have a part-time babysitter who takes over while I write because I am not capable of prolonged multitasking, and would rely on TV too much without her. We used to have a housecleaning service twice a month but stopped that when the babysitter asked for a raise and I knew the kids love and need her more than they care about spotless bathrooms. I have not showered yet and am wearing Old Navy yoga pants and there is a suitcase on the floor over there that I have been meaning to unpack since we spent a night away for my birthday a few weeks ago.

But I got two children up and dressed and fed and off to school this morning, cuddled and nursed my baby and fed him homemade zucchini and brown rice, and got felt up by my husband while we waited for the coffee to brew. Then I got on the computer and fielded emails and sponsored post opportunities and read a wonderful thank-you note from a previous advice-question-asker. Then I wrote this column. The baby and I are planning to meet Jason somewhere for lunch and then hopefully I’ll be able to get some more work done during naptime, before it’s time to meet Noah at the bus.

All told, today is going pretty well, so far. And that’s enough, for now.

 

Illustration by the talented Secret Agent Josephine

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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32 Responses to “Stay-At-Home Realities”

  1. Lori Jan 20 at 6:21 pm Reply Reply

    I LOVE that you got felt up and shared it with us.

  2. SarahB Jan 20 at 6:21 pm Reply Reply

    That might be the best column you’ve ever written. I am just back to work after a lengthy maternity leave including part-time work, and, just…yes. You just hit the nail on the head.

    And, OP, is there any way you could afford yourself a used car? It makes a huge difference to be able to get out and about. Good luck!

  3. Totally feel for the OP — and agree with Amalah. I stay at home with our 19-month-old, am six months pregnant with baby #2, and “share” a car with husband (a.k.a. he gets it). When my son was three months old, I started a similar Amalah-type gig where I do freelance writing and editing during naptimes/after bedtimes.

    I feel like a juggle a gazillion things on a daily basis, and it kind of sucks when I start feeling like less of a “contributer” just because I work inside the home. My saving grace has been my freelance work, because I can bring in some money and feel like I’m using my brain for more than baby sign language memorization.

    I highly recommend doing some kind of work from home — however small — if you can, because even though it sounds like you’re just adding more to your plate, it helps out greatly in terms of self-esteem and keeping you sane.

  4. Erica Jan 20 at 6:42 pm Reply Reply

    There are so many of us out there that have this feeling.  My baby is 10 months old and I struggled and am still struggling a bit with this.  I have to tell you though, like Amalah said, your baby is still young.  It’s just now getting a teeny, tiny bit easier for me.  Like, I’m able to make dinner at a reasonable hour without my son attached to me or screaming in his pack and play.  I am not sure why society does not value staying at home or maybe it’s our own insecurities, but everything above I have felt at some point or another and so have my other SAHM friends.  So know you are in company and know it will get easier!  Thanks for sharing!

  5. Jeannie Jan 20 at 6:55 pm Reply Reply

    I have two kids, 5 and almost 2. And with both of them I had a year long mat leave, and with both it took WAY longer than I thought to actually get “good” at the SAHM thing. And by good, I mean that the house was (relatively) clean and the laundry done and dinner made and kids happy. There was nothing extra, ever. That was more than enough work — and I had part time preschool to help! It takes a while to get used to your new life and get a rhythm going.

    I’m back to work part time again, and love it — I get the satisfaction from work that I need, and my kids get the attention from me that they need. (But don’t ask about the house. Disaster. Something’s gotta give!)

    Also, the “I can’t think about anything other than the baby” thing last for months. But it does go away. Just have patience with yourself! On both counts!

    • victoria Feb 08 at 5:20 am Reply Reply

      any suggestions for working from home, I’ve been searching and searching but I keep running into scam type options like paying to sign up to do online work. Im a college grad in grad school with a 27 month old and a 5 month old and no car to boot! the extra income would also help us out majorly

  6. shannon Jan 20 at 9:04 pm Reply Reply

    I loved this post! Thank you!!

  7. Cara Jan 20 at 9:18 pm Reply Reply

    Ditto on what everyone is saying about realistic expectations and giving yourself more time even with that.  But, I do have one suggestion.  I had a lightbulb moment one night when my husband looked over to see me reading a parenting magazine and said ‘you spend almost all of your waking hours with her attached to your body and when you finally get some down time you read about caring for her?’ My world had narrowed so drastically that I hadn’t even noticed it.  I still read alot of parenting materials.  I want to be as well-informed and thoughtful in this job as I was in my professional one, more even.  But, I consciously mix in other stuff – fiction, nonfiction, resources on gardening or sewing (both of which I’m just recently getting back to 18 months in).  It not only gives me something else to talk about with the other adults, it gives me something else to think about.  It’s made a real difference in feeling like I’m me and not just Mama.  It’s probably also why I remembered to return to my hobbies some as her needs became less all-consuming.

  8. Meghan Jan 20 at 9:30 pm Reply Reply

    This was perfect timing, and another fantastic post, Amalah. Thank you! Like the OP, I’m new to the SAHM gig (7 months in – can we be new-mom-BFFs?), though technically I work 10 – 20 hrs/week from home… but who am I kidding, it’s really like 10 hours on a good week! It can be so frustrating and isolating to feel like even the people you used to spend  40+ hrs/week with can no longer understand why you can’t make that 9:15 meeting time every Thursday because, gah, who knows when the sweet, adorable, little ticking time bomb will decide to wake up in the morning, thus determining when his first nap of the day will happen, and when the rest of your day will start with that quiet, indulgent, blessed, 10-minutes-of-heaven shower???

    Like the OP, we’re also a single-car family, since we moved to be 3 miles from my hubby’s office. Most of the time, it’s no big deal, but there are days when I think I’m going to cry because I can’t drive the guy in with the little one’s nap schedule being what it is so I’m stuck at home. My only solution so far has been to do massive amounts of online shopping to make up for all the little errands I would otherwise drive to myself (because moving closer to hubby’s work meant moving to the ‘burbs – go fig). The UPS guy and I are going to be great friends, I think. :o) Much as we could probably afford to get another car (if I were willing to push back the timeline for my new kitchen – as if!), we also have environmental reasons for not wanting to do that, and being on a single full-time paycheck, it’s nice not to pay more for car insurance. I know we’ll get that second car someday, but for now, it’s not so bad. 

    But this is all perfect timing because we were just (no joke – like 30 minutes ago!) talking tonight about his crazy travel schedule and my need to get more than 7 hrs of work in a week, and feeling under-valued for that work because I’m not getting a hefty paycheck, and what does being a mom mean, and on and on and on. And I hear you on not having much “interesting” stuff to discuss outside of the babe (which is why I read Huff Post religiously while nursing for the first few months!)… but I think there’s meaning in what you talk about, even when it feels like all you talk about is your day with the little pooper. I’m learning that there are times where that’s interesting to my hubby because he would otherwise feel left out of the special time the two of us get together all day while he’s in his office.

    The point is to stay connected to each other, right? So you smile and nod when he talks about things at work you don’t want/care to/can’t understand (my hubby’s a theoretical chemist; I don’t get most of what he says), and he can do the same for you. Dinner may not be gourmet, but you’re eating something and still talking to each other, and given all the things we see on stupid celebrity websites (gah! Why are they so time-sucking like those $h*t girls say videos???), I think that’s worth a pat on the back at least. 

    Stay strong, OP, and seriously, if you live in the Chicago area, we need to hang out. ;o) 

  9. JCF Jan 20 at 10:53 pm Reply Reply

    What you’re dealing with is definitely normal.  I have three kids, and with each baby, it has taken me months (more than six!) to feel like I had a manageable rhythm to my days (not that I feel everything is perfect or always gets done, because it doesn’t).  What has helped me a lot is embracing a loose routine.  I’m not a strict scheduler–that stresses me out to feel like I’m a slave to a schedule.  I know for some it does help.  But to shoot for a general routine helps me to be more efficient and feel more organized.  Some of this includes: 
    -I meal plan.  And I almost always cook dinner, or at least start it, during nap time.
    -I have a cleaning routine posted on my fridge.  One task is assigned to each day–dusting one day, floors another, grocery shopping one day, etc.  None of the jobs is very big, so if it doesn’t et done one day, no biggie.  I might get it done the next day.  If I don’t, then it gets done the next week.  
    -I get dressed right when I roll out of bed in the morning.  Even if it is jeans and a t-shirt, and my hair is in a pony tail, I feel better that I’m not in pajamas.  
    -I have times of the day when I almost always just drop whatever and play with the kids.  That way, I don’t feel like I should be doing something else, because it is playtime.  

    Those are just a few examples of what works for me–maybe some of them will work for you and help you feel like you’re getting more done.  

    Also, my husband and I only have one car, and while he can take public transportation at the moment, we’ve had times when he couldn’t.  During those times, I would drop him off at work and pick him up one day a week so he could have the car.  Also, he’d occasionally get a ride from a co-worker.  If there’s no way you can get the car even one day a week, at least try to take a walk during the day–it will help your sanity for sure!

    Hang in there–it will get better!

  10. Whozat Jan 20 at 10:57 pm Reply Reply

    My daughter is three (a couple of weeks younger than Ezra, if Amalah doesn’t have that little fact memorized yet, since I include it in every damn comment I make, here or on her blog) and I am still right where you describe. 

    One my my big lifesavers has been MOMS Club (it’s an international organization, google it and search for a local chapter – or another similar organization if there’s not one near you.)

    It took me a few months to get past ‘but I don’t know anybody!” and “but we’re still asleep at 10 am” (partner works evenings) but once I got involved, it immediately became my primary social outlet. 

    At this point, pretty much ALL of my friends are my MOMS Club buddies. We have something going on almost every weekday (this might require some car juggling for you, of course) and they are the first place I turn for advice and feedback. 

    I highly recommend finding a group of mom friends to hang out with, whether through a club like this, or a playgroup or church if that’s your style, or accosting people at the park. 

    Also, I highly recommend the book “I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids” which addresses exactly this issue. 

  11. Jimmy Jan 21 at 12:29 am Reply Reply

    I’m a full time stay at home Dad (my son is 15 months now), a part time lawyer, and – as of very recently – a “mommy” blogger.  My wife is three months pregnant with our second baby, that I’ll hopefully also have the chance to stay home with.  In the year I’ve been doing this one thing has become very clear: staying at home with a kid is exhausting.  It just is.  And it has a serious learning curve.

    You would never expect to start a brand new profession and be up to multi-tasking top performance levels within six months of being thrown into the deep end, would you?  Why do we think we can do that with staying at home?  Where else in the world is six months enough time to make us think we should have this thing on lock?  

    It took me a long time just to figure out how to *begin* balancing extra tasks on top of being a stay at home dad.  I’m still nowhere near being “good” at that balance, and I’m definitely not close to anything resembling “efficient.”  

    It takes time and practice.  And it takes realistic expectations.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Try baby steps first.  

  12. bethany actually Jan 21 at 1:29 am Reply Reply

    Six months is still SO EARLY in the baby game. I didn’t really get back into my groove with either of my kids until they were each at least a year old. It WILL get easier, I promise.

  13. Jen Jan 21 at 7:31 am Reply Reply

    My baby is 9 months old, and even ‘getting in the groove’ is an ebbing and flowing process. When she was 3 months old she used to take theses awesome long baps and I’d vacuum and shower and maybe dust a little. I specifically remember at six months though the I spent any ‘free time’ zoned out on the couch because I was so exhausted from it all and the baby wasn’t sleeping at night and she was clingy gah! I bhad to get over my guilt in not using my spare time to be productive and instead sleepily reading alphamom. Now she’s nine months and the house is picked up and we have company coming iver tonight and I made helathy meals THREE NIGHTS in a row! Your energy levels ebb and flow, your baby’s fussiness ebbs and flows (even with an ‘easy baby’ like mine), your total nighttime sleep ebbs and flows. Cut yourself slack when ‘nothing’ gets done – you are raising a freaking human being! Who is SIX months old! Congrats! I also had to cut myself slack because I’m also pregnant with my second. When I was pregnant with my first I’d go to work and be a total zombie there, come home, and pass out until dinnertime, order dinner instead of cook, and go back to sleep. I’m actually doing more now than I did then, even if I did stay in my pajamas all day.

    Now, if you excuse me, I have to file away this comment for you know, a month from now when the house is a disaster again and the baby isn’t sleeping and I feel completely worthless.

  14. Jen Jan 21 at 7:34 am Reply Reply

    Ugh, sorry for the typos. I was typing with one hand while feeding the baby. Multitasking !

  15. Operation Pink Herring Jan 21 at 7:40 am Reply Reply

    Thank you for this, Amy. Ive beehn SAHMing it for four months now, and although it’s what I have always wanted to do… it is so much harder than I ever imagined. I am still utterly exhausted by the end of the day. I’ve found a rhythm for the baby care stuff, but it doesn’t leave much, if any, time for cooking, cleaning, or writing that novel I’ve been meaning to bang out during the naps my daughter doesn’t take. I never thought I’d miss working, but I do. I miss talking to people who talk back. I miss feeling productive and valuable. I miss having something to talk about other than breastfeeding and the stray cat we saw on our walk.

  16. A Jan 21 at 1:56 pm Reply Reply

    GREAT post! I am a SAHM to 3 kids (6, 4 and 15 months) and there are days where I feel like I’m losing my mind. My husband sometimes works 80-90 hour weeks so I am doing this pretty much all by myself and sometimes it’s just too much for me. Add on top of that the guilt that comes from not financially contributing, having little to no intellectual stimulation, not having enough money to get a babysitter, and the fact that we just moved into a tiny fixer upper house . . . it’s not easy. Some days I have it all together and other days I feel like it’s all I can do to keep my head above water.A lot of days I feel like a failure and I have to remind myself of 2 things – this will not last forever and I am doing something important, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the short term.

    I can really relate to feeling like you’re not making any kind of contribution. BUT YOU ARE. I highly recommend doing something for yourself (I joined a gym that has a daycare and it’s awesome to even have a bit of alone time on an elliptical) and a date night with your husband once in a while. It will recharge you.

    Thank you, Amalah, for great advice and support!

  17. Pange Jan 21 at 2:39 pm Reply Reply

    what worked for me to break the nothing-but-baby mentality was to put her in the stroller just before naptime and go for a walk in the park while she slept and listen to a podcast about something else.  then whenever i interacted with someone else (my husband, friends, etc) i could talk about whatever i learned on the podcast and i felt like i had *something* to say that didn’t involve poo or motor milestones.

  18. The Not-So-Good Wife Jan 22 at 10:07 pm Reply Reply

    Thank you so much, Amy, and thanks to everyone who commented. It helps to have things put in perspective. I knew staying at home wouldn’t necessarily be easy, but for some reason I thought it would come more naturally. I needed the reminder that it’s ok to still be figuring everything out.

    Megan – I wish I was in Chicago, but I’m in Colorado. Long distance BFFs?

  19. Annie Jan 22 at 10:34 pm Reply Reply

    Amy, thank you thank you thank you so much for this post! So honest and encouraging. I wish I had read it four years ago. Hang in there, OP!! My house is never clean, I’m always behind on laundry, my kids leave the house with crazy-wing hair, and yogurt all over their clothes. I dress in “gym clothes” most days. (I never go to the gym.) When I worked I was in an industry that required flawless work, and I took pride in doing it well; unwittingly I took that with me into SAHM-ing. I pushed so hard to take pride in my work, and felt so disappointed because I never got it all done. I was exhausted and miserable. These days, I’m proud of my work when my kids felt that I enjoyed their company, and that I was a fun and patient person to be with. It means that we’re all fed something when we’re hungry, we’re all well rested, and (the kids at least) are dressed for the weather. Sure it all looks scruffy and messy on the outside, but I feel happier and hopefully my kids feel like they’re wonderful little people. That’s good work.

  20. Olivia Jan 23 at 9:01 am Reply Reply

    So, I am not a SAHM yet, but plan to be one when my second baby is born soon. This is really good for me to hear. I know I need to dial back my expectations for having a cleaner house. I keep thinking, if I have more than the weekends and evenings, I’ll be able to do more, but we’ll see. Anyway, if it helps, here are a few of my strategies that I hope will help me transition. 1) I’m ramping up my involvement in the La Leche League and our local Breastfeeding coalition (adult time, talking about babies, but sill), 2) continue reading my daily blogs about news/politics/social issues (gives me something else to talk about besides baby), and 3) cut myself some slack. I will probably only be a SAHM for 12-18 months, so I see it as a temporary and fleeting time with my children. I hope I can make the best of it.

  21. Jen Jan 23 at 4:52 pm Reply Reply

    All I can say is thank you for this. It’s everything I feel but could not express nearly as well as you just did. I have a 3 year old and a 3 month old. I’ve been at home for 2 years and I’m STILL trying to figure it all out. I feel mostly accomplished when I make my bed in the morning and have my daughters toys put away at night, but everything else is negotiable. This was great. I now know that I’m not the only who is confounded by this SAHM thing.

  22. Clueless Jan 24 at 9:26 am Reply Reply

    I have been at home for almost exactly one year (baby ages 9mon-22mon) and I can totally related to the question asker’s difficulties. I have to say that the gym has been my savior for the past 9 months or so. My son is able to go to the daycare (ages 6months and up) and play with other kids while I get to workout and shower alone (without worrying that he is climbing the furniture or getting into the knives)! Although I have always enjoyed running it has taken a new meaning now. It helps me regain the confidence that I once got from excelling at work and gives me more energy to keep up with my wild toddler. Also I was able to complete my first triathlon last summer which was Awesome!
    If I were the asker I would definitely add dropping husband at work (and I guess picking him up too) to my daily routine so that I could have the car and get out and about town!

  23. Kimtoo Jan 24 at 11:50 am Reply Reply

    The thing is, when you stay at home all day, your house gets messier. Either your child is small enough to need constant attention, or she’s old enough to make a mess wherever you’ve cleaned up. Your house is going to have that lived-in look – because it is lived in, constantly.

    And no matter how much you love your child, going from a successful career to the daily chaotic trivia of keeping kids fed, clean and happy is…jarring. And tedious. I absolutely had to get out of the house and meet up with other adults at least once a day, rain or shine. I met up with a moms group, and 5 years on, 4 of those women are still the core of my social life. (It helps that our husbands like each other, too. We just had the first third child born last week!) In retrospect, working part-time might have been a better choice for me. But you know what? There were good days and bad days while I was working, and there are good days and bad days about being at home. Such is life.

  24. babs Jan 24 at 12:50 pm Reply Reply

    Also, one baby is very hard. The baby is changing minute-by-minute, you new to all this, you want your husband to share in it with you, blah blah blah. We did the one car thing too, and it sucked. He would get home and I would leave, just to leave. I didn’t even DO anything, just drive. I think our oldest was 3 before I did something about it and it was this:

    Just pick one thing to do for yourself every day and one thing for your husband. It can even be the same thing! Like these days, I tell my husband to text me when he leaves work. Then I make the kids clean up their toys so I can go brush my hair and teeth and maybe even put on some mascara, and if it’s been one of those days, actual clothes rather than the yoga pants I slept in. The kids do clean up because I let them play computer until Dad gets home. Dad walks in to a picked-up house and presentable wife, and the kids are sitting quietly in front of the glowing screen of the computer. It’s magical.

  25. Kimm Jan 24 at 1:09 pm Reply Reply

    a car- that is one of the things that helps me, we go 1 place a day at least, even if it’s just to the nearest drugstore to get a candy bar and walk around. Could you occasionally take your husband to work and pick him up, so you could have the car for the day? That is what we would do if we got rid of one car, we already discussed it. Maybe you could go somewhere when he gets home-it is so hard to be within the same house every day all day. Date night is good too, even if it’s once a month-we can’t afford it much more-but it’s nice to just talk to each other with no distractions.

  26. allison Jan 26 at 11:19 pm Reply Reply

    I found that getting up everyday and fixing my hair nice and doing my makeup no matter what made me feel better with the challenges you face it made me feel like a real person again like i did when i worked…………..i totally can relate, i once convinced myself that staying at home was making me stupid cause I did nothing intellectual ever…so i started playing in the stock market just to feel smart again…..(I played with like $200) but it did the trick, i also traded a couple of play dates for trading seminars in the area it was free and gave me the distraction i needed…..sex is so so important too…….find the time, you need the closeness with your hubby……..dont make it a chore but make it a priority!   

  27. alaskanmomn thesouth Feb 09 at 1:21 pm Reply Reply

    I can not relate help but relate to this . I may need some i feel so angry and trapped i love my son who is a screaming whinging 11 month old and the fact that i am trapped out in the country 10 – 15 miles away from any thing all day every day and i have to beg and fight with my husband tooth and nail for my car once every few weeks .i get undermined and belittled called a bit*h or a nagge for asking him to pick up F** TOYS and the cleaning and the laundry : ( wish i could just torch it all lol).
    despite the fact i was in one blink of an eye i was in Afghanistan loading rockets to changing diapers and now i’m out and i stay home all day and its not as if i dint bring money i get va payments Evey month …how do i save my marriage because HELL I AM ONE argument away from a separation i garden among other things but i cant seem to get this sahm act together .. any advice . so for the crazy lady ran t

  28. HomeValley Feb 09 at 2:44 pm Reply Reply

    Excellent question, excellent response! I’m printing it so I can reread it when I feel overwhelmed, inadequate, or bored by this amazing, overwhelming, incredible, and sometimes boring job. Love!

  29. HomeValley Feb 09 at 2:55 pm Reply Reply

    Oh – and to “Not-so-Good Wife” – you are doing great! I was reading this and saying much the same as Amalah that it has only been 6 months. Some things I did to feel like a part of the world again: join a Mom’s Club of some sort. Working or not, we all can use the support. Playgroups can often save your sanity. I also signed up for my first half-marathon, which I completed around the 6 month mark. Fantastic way to get in shape and get the alone time you need, as well as to feel a sense of accomplishment. I was also always an avid reader, and I did squeeze in time to read to save my sanity – plus, depending on the book, I felt like I was educating myself, and continuing to be interesting. I blogged too! Finally,since I would like to work again someday, I went back to school for my Master’s. (Waited until the boy was 15 months for that one.) It’s been wonderful in letting me go at my own pace, have a life outside of my child, and still feel like I am working towards a goal. Good luck – and try not to be so hard on yourself. Have your husband take you out this weekend – you deserve a good date night!

    PS – We shared a car for a short time when we relocated to Texas. Taking him to work a few days a week were key to avoid the trapped feeling. Then, on the days I was stuck inside, I got to stay in yoga pants, go for walks, and catch up on all the things I needed to do in the house.

  30. B Mar 29 at 11:21 pm Reply Reply

    Reading these makes me feel better. I have been at home now for 14 years.  Today my husband was talking about the two months were he was between jobs and how he had this cleaning routine for 2 months of about 90 minutes a day and of course the house was spotless.  I had to bite my tongue not to say, of course then all he did was clean the house– picking up the kids, getting them dressed, homework, laundry, groceries, cooking, bills and yard work were still all me.  Still made me feel like I did a real crap job.  Kids are now in 12th and 8th grade, but we moved this year, will be moving again this summer and then one of my daughter’s teachers was so terrible I moved her TEMPORARILY to partial  homeschooling, oldest kid not yet driving and it is still a challenge to have a clean house.

  31. Blancco Oct 05 at 5:15 pm Reply Reply

    I needed to read this…

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