I've heard it all before: stay-at-home moms with endless excuses, reasonings, logic and lies that we tell ourselves (and other people) of how and why we are the exceptions to many social norms.
"I'm too busy as a SAHM to be able to do that during the day."
"People should understand because I'm a SAHM."
"Well, that's easy for her to do because she's not a SAHM."
Ladies, it's all bull. It really is.
Now, you need to know some background about me. I'm currently a stay-at-home mom. My kids are in school (ages 11 and 8), so while yes, I do have more time during the day to get things done than a mom with 2 toddlers at home, understand that I was once a SAHM to a newborn and 2 1/2 year old; to a 1 year old and 3 year old; to a 2 year old and 4 year old. So, I've been there, done that, and yes, I got the freaking t-shirt.
Over the years I have developed some big pet peeves of things I've heard come out of the mouths of other stay-at-home-moms, or things I've seen with my own two eyes. And as a woman who lived this life and still lives this life, yes, I feel I am more than qualified to voice my opinions.
Now, please keep in mind that these pet peeves apply to everyday stay-at-home moms with no extenuating circumstances. Moms with twins, triplets or more kids that are the same age -- exempt. Moms with 4+ kids -- partially exempt. Moms with special needs kids -- exempt. Moms who homeschool -- exempt. Y'all are more than pulling your share of stress and craziness, so my heart goes out to you all.
For the rest of us, brace yourselves: I'm sure something on this list will get under someone's skin.
Exhausted mom photo via Shutterstock.
1. "I don't need to shower." I've heard it so many times before. "I'm just a SAHM, I don't need to shower everyday," or even worse, "I'm a SAHM to a newborn/toddler/teenager—I don't have time to shower during the day." Ladies, showering on a regular basis keeps you feeling human. It revitalizes you and gives you even just ten minutes to yourself to recharge. And if you have one child at home and are a SAHM, you have time to shower, for Pete's sake. The child will sleep eventually, and even if you have to wait until they are in bed at night or set an alarm for ten minutes earlier in the morning, you can facilitate a shower. I understand that if you don't do much during the day and don't leave the house; there is that side of you that whispers, "You don't need to shower today," but ignore that voice. Do it for yourself. Do it to teach your child(ren) good hygiene habits. Just do it.
2. "It doesn't matter how I look. I'm just a stay-at-home mom." Honey, you should care how you look. Too many times I have seen a frazzled looking mother at the grocery store, kids hanging all off of her, wearing a vomit stained shirt and holey sweat pants. Don't be that mom. Now, I'm not saying become a 1950s housewife whose hair is perfect, makeup is perfect and who wears a dress and heels to mop the floor. But take pride in your appearance. After taking that mandatory shower (see #1 above), take 5 minutes to put on some clean clothes and get yourself feeling feminine again. So many SAHMs get lost in being so-and-so's mom and forget that they are individual women first.
I woke up one morning as the stay-at-home mom of a two-year-old and four-year-old who took a shower once every three days, wore old PJs around the house, never bothered to do my hair or makeup, and looked hard at myself in the mirror. No wonder my self-esteem was below normal. No wonder my husband and I never had sex. No wonder I didn't feel like myself anymore, or even a woman for that matter. It was that day that I made a promise to myself to take care of myself. I showered everyday, put on comfy clothes that made me feel great (my go-to is a tank top and jeans), and even ran a brush and some product through my hair and spent five minutes on makeup, even if I wasn't leaving the house. The result was amazing. Almost instantly you are reminded that you are a beautiful, sexy woman who yes, is a mother, but that's not all she is. You breathe life back into yourself again, back into your sex life again, and as a result, your kids get a more positive you. It's a win-win.
For a five minute SAHM makeover, take a few minutes to figure out what your quick go-to products are. For me, it's face powder, eyeliner and mascara. My sister's three are tinted concealer, mascara and lip gloss. It takes me all of three minutes to apply these things, so I do so—every day. Some days I'll spritz some body spray on and feel even more feminine. Even if you don't like wearing makeup, find a hair product you and body spray and take five minutes to pull yourself together. If you do wear makeup, but it takes forever to apply, then pick out no more than four products and spend a few minutes in the mirror perfecting the quick application of these products. I promise you that it takes less than five minutes to go from tired SAHM to a feminine you, and the emotional boost is amazing!
3. "I don't have time for that, I'm a SAHM." Unless you were asked about fixing a seven course meal for a total of 25 guests, chances are you do have time for whatever it is if you are a stay-at-home mom. I sat down one time and clocked my own day as a SAHM and found that on average, I wasted two to three hours a day on either doing nothing, doing something useless or having to do stuff repeatedly because of a non-streamlined routine. Now, I'm not saying schedule your day full of activities, but seriously take time to look at your day and see if there are things you are doing that you don't need or want to be doing anymore, or see where you can fit something else in. But telling someone that you don't have time for something (even if it's free time for yourself to clear your mind for 5 minutes) because you are "running around after a two-year-old all day" is crap, and you know it.
4. "I'm fine. I don't need time away from my family because they are all I need to be happy." We know you love your family. We know you adore your kids. But, every mom out there also knows that family and kids stress you out and play on your last nerve somewhere along the line. Yet I've heard SAHM after SAHM over the years try and convince us (or themselves, maybe) that they don't need time away from home or even mom friends. That's bollocks and you know it. Needing time away from your kids does not make you a bad mom (unless you are planning to leave and never come back, that is). It makes you an amazing mom for knowing your limits and not pushing them to the detriment of yourself or your family. So, make some mom friends, go out and have a cup of coffee, and don't feel guilty about it. You deserve it, and you've earned it.
Just make sure you take a shower and make yourself feel more like you and less like a mom. No one wants to have adult time with a woman covered in baby puke.
5. "Being a stay-at-home mom is so stressful." Tiring, yes. Frustrating, yes. Stressful, not so much. I'm a SAHM now and have been one in the past, but I've also been a working mom. I've been a single working mom. I've been an unemployed single mom. I've been a work-at-home mom. I have been them all. And let me tell you, being a stay-at-home mom is the least stressful of them all. Now, I used to be guilty of telling this lie when my kids were younger. It took my marriage falling apart and me becoming every other type of mom under the sun for me to realize that being a stay-at-home mom is a piece of cake compared to the alternatives. Yes, you are around your child(ren) all day long, which can be tiring, but at least you are around them and not spending 8+ hours working your ass off at a job to get home and find your kids already asleep for the night and you have no idea how their day went. You'll more than likely be there for their first steps, their first words, their first piano recital, instead of having to decide whether you can afford to use the sick leave you have saved to be able to skip work to go see it. And most importantly, you have a great deal of control over what (or who) influences your children, instead of not knowing if they picked up that nasty language from school, the daycare or the babysitter who all have contact with your child before you do at night. Be thankful you are a stay-at-home mom. I'm sure you made the decision to be one, so embrace it and see how positive it is- and how lucky you are. It truly is a blessing.
6. "There's no need to clean my house because the kids just wreck it again." This one is one of my favorites. Whenever I hear this one, I want to reply back, "So, do you just not worry about breakfast because the kids will eat again at lunch?" Kids are one huge tornado as the icing on a cake of dirt, cheesy poof fingers and dog poop on their shoes. This is a truth. Not cleaning up your house because the kids will just wreck it again is a bigger piece of crap than what little Timmy just drudged through the house. Teach your kids how to clean while you straighten everything and have them help. Even an 18-month-old can put their blocks back into a bucket. I'm not saying your house should be white-glove inspection immaculate, but it only takes a few minutes to throw the kids' random toys into a clothes basket and dump it in their room.
When my kids were younger, yes, I figured out pretty quickly that cleaning while they were awake was a waste of time (and falls under #3 above). I'd have them help me pick up toys, and I'd wipe up any spills or major disasters, but for the larger cleaning and straightening, I waited for them to go to bed. Then, I'd muster up whatever energy I could, set the kitchen timer for 10 minutes, and get cleaned what I could in that 10 minutes (hell of a workout, too). Once that timer went off, I plopped onto the couch and did whatever I wanted to for the rest of the evening, or I just headed to bed. I could relax much more in my semi-straightened house, and after a short while, I was able to get a larger chunk of cleaning done in that little 10 minute time frame.
While many stay-at-home moms rationalize the lies above, I think it's time to stop that. It's time to claim yourself back, your time, your identity, and start looking at being a SAHM as the wonderful, positive thing that it is. It's time to stop using your kids or your role as a SAHM as an excuse, and start embracing the fact that you get to raise your own child. So many people nowadays can't say that. They have to work to make ends meet. So, if you are fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom, then stop acting as if it's a crutch.
And above all, remember that you are a woman before you are a mom. If you don't take care of yourself properly, then you can't possibly take care of your child properly. So get yourself into the right frame of mind, take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, and you'll see a positive change in yourself and your family.
~ Tatted Mom
More from parenting