Work Life Balance

Being A Stay At Home Mom: Expectations Vs. Reality

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busy SAHMI never planned on being a stay at home mom. Early in my pregnancy we selected a great daycare and paid a deposit to hold two infant slots for our twins. Then I got put on bed rest and my sons were born prematurely. My maternity leave was gone before the babies were even old enough for daycare and with my income barely covering the cost of childcare, I suddenly found myself a stay at home mom. I thought being at home all day would mean my life would be absolutely perfect, but the realities of being a stay at home mom are much less glamorous than I expected.

 Expectation: My house will be spotless, always ready for company and the discerning eye of my mother.

Reality: With the exception of the floors, which I keep clean enough that you can eat off of them (because that’s exactly what my children do) the house is more ready for the pages of the Toys R Us catalog than Better Homes And Gardens. As long as I can stay on top of the dishes and the laundry, I consider myself a domestic success. Besides, if you come into my house to inspect the amount of dust on my shelves, then I don’t want to be friends with you.

Expectation: Who wants lasagna and brownies made from scratch? Being at home will give me time to cook every meal and make sure my family eats healthy.

Reality: I do manage to cook a lot of our meals, but only because eating out with little kids is fun for no one. My crockpot is my BFF and when things get hectic, I am not above feeding us all mac and cheese for dinner, with some peas stirred in to ease my mom guilt.

Expectation: Move over Real Housewives, I will finally have the time to work out everyday and make myself pretty.

Reality: It’s a cruel fact of parenthood that when your kids are newborns and immobile little slugs, you have the time to work out or pluck your eyebrows but because they require around the clock feeding and care, you’re usually too tired to do more than shower during the day, never mind jumping jacks. Now that my kids are sleeping through the night I have more energy, but so do they, and that one precious nap they take (if I’m lucky) is typically spent cleaning up their messes or enjoying a sweet treat I don’t have to share.

Expectation: I’m going to make a gaggle of new mom friends.

Reality: Because my kids aren’t in daycare, they don’t get the benefit of having their immune systems strengthened by being around other kids. Which means when I take them to story time at the library or the park, they end up getting a cold about half the time. Since the other moms spend most of the time watching over their own little ones anyway, it’s not like I’m getting that much adult interaction to begin with. Other than my husband, the UPS guy is who I talk to most often.

(image:  Angela Waye/