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mom life

Life as a Stay-At-Home-Mom: Expectation vs. Reality

We all follow that one mom on Instagram and her life looks well put together, crushing motherhood, making home cooked meals, house is clean, kids don’t tantrum. I know I do and I am always like, HOW DOES SHE DO IT?

Who knows, right? There is so much exceptions for us stay at home moms, that we should be able to do everything, there should be no complaints, and our kids should be happy. Well that just in not the case somedays, or everyday. We try, we fail, we succeed. We are only human!

When I first started staying at home with my son, I had these grand expectations of what being a stay-at-home mom was going to look like. Then my daughter came along and things changed a bit.

Even though it is not what I expected, it is so unbelievably rewarding. I just needed a slight change in perspective. Being a stay-at-home mom is more than just being a mom. You become the maid, janitor, chef, entertainer and boss.

Expectation: Wake up 7am, got a full nights sleep, sipping on coffee before the kids wake up, making homemade pancakes into fun shapes.

Reality: Kid starts stewing at 5am, you lower the monitors so you don’t hear the sheets crinkle and pray they sleep in a little more.

Expectation: Kids wake up around 7:30, you already have breakfast all set at the table, fun music playing in the background and your ready for the day.

Reality: Both kids wake up at 6:30 screaming of course. Your hair is all over the place, your breastfeeding boobs are half out of your tank, your not ready to be up yet.

Expectation: Kids eat all that yummy wholesome breakfast you prepared, barely a crumb left, they are smiling and are now free playing while you clean up.

Reality: One is eating store-bought baby food, the other is eating chocolate covered granola bar because they just had a tantrum over the fruit yogurt you bought for them with high hopes.

Expectation: Free time play is going well, both are smiling, playing nicely and you take a million pictures.

Reality: You’re dying for that cup of coffee that you poured an hour ago and only got one sip in before the chaos ensued. It is probably cold now, kids are whining already and they just got up a little over an hour ago. You smell something awful and realize, it is you, you have not showed in a few days.

Expectation: Your youngest is ready to go down, baby is down, no fuss, your toddler colored a picture for you while you were putting the baby down and now you cuddle up as you lay together and read some stories.

Reality: Your baby is screaming at the top of their lungs while you’re trying to get a pump session in. You only pump 5 minutes before your nerves take hold of you resulting 2 oz. which is not even enough. Your toddler is running around you in circles, pulling on your garments, driving you bonkers. You yell, “Just stop and sit down”, then feel so guilty for raising your voice.

Expectation: Baby is cooing, time to go get them. Toddler runs into their room, so excited that they are up. You get them dressed in matching outfits and ready to go grocery shopping for tonights meal.

Reality: After a 30 minute struggle to get the baby down, they are up only 45 minutes after, still crabby. You’re toddler has been constantly whining so you just put the TV on and take a minute to yourself in the other room.

Expectation: Kids are giggling in the back seat while you drive to your local store. You stop to get a hot drink and a sweet treat for them.

Reality: You’re out of groceries, you do a online order to pick up later in the day. You only got to drink half your coffee and it is almost noon.

Expectation: You get all the essentials at the store, kids were so good. It is lunch time and you have another fun meal planned for them.

Reality: Lunch time, another container of store-bought baby food for your youngest. A slice of cheese and a mountain of chips for your toddler. You are finally eating your first meal too, a hodge podge of left overs you probably should have thrown away days ago, but it is all that is left until you get groceries.

Expectation: Both kids go down for a nap, you take this time to prep for tonights dinner and for some fun crafts and sensory play for the afternoon. You eat a delicious colorful salad and make a smoothie while they nap.

Reality: Trying to put both kids down so they can tandem nap and you can maybe shower, fold the wrinkled mess of laundry on your bedroom floor. One is down, one is up, no break,

Expectation: A few hours later, your littlest wakes, happy as ever and while you wait for the oldest, you play peek and boo and cuddle.

Reality: While your oldest is napping you have to entertain your super over tired baby, you try everything, but is just makes them cry. You try and rock them for 20 minutes with no luck, so you set them down to cry it out while you cry yourself outside the door.

Expectation: Your oldest is getting up so you go into their room and all lay in the bed. You guide them to the front room where you blew up tons of balloon and have a bubble machine going for a dance party!

Reality: Baby finally goes down but all the crying woke up your toddler, who definitely needed to nap more, you didn’t get to shower or have any time to yourself and it shows.

Expectation: The dance party was so much fun and the kids are ready for a afternoon snack before daddy gets home. You bring out a tray of all their favorites to share. They sit down nicely together and eat!

Reality: You’re so exhausted, you just turn the tv on again until your youngest wakes up.

Expectation: Dinner is cooking while you all sing and play Old McDonald had a Farm, cracking up at the animal noises.

Reality: You couldn’t get a grocery pick up till late at night, so no hot dinner tonight. What to make what to make, peanut butter and jelly it is. You’re counting down the minutes ’till your husband is off and home, 20 more to go. You yawn.

Expectation: Daddy’s home! Dinner is almost ready and kids are super excited.

Reality: Your husband gets home with the grocery order, kids are so crabby they don’t even notice. Your hair is still a mess, in the same clothes since yesterday or the day before that, you cant even remember. You go ahead and prepare those pbj’s.

Expectation: Dinner is served, it was a hit. After dinner bath time are you filled the tub with bubbles and lavender bath wash. Kids are splashing around and you and your husband smile while giving them a bath together,

Reality: Dinner sucked, its all over the floor, you wonder if they even got enough. It’s bath time, you rock paper scissors to who cleans and who does bath time. You lose, so you have to clean the mess.

Expectation: Bath time’s over and its time for bed, you read them stories, get them in their matching pajamas, kiss them goodnight. They go down within 5 minutes of each other calm as can be.

Reality: Kids are so tired, you can hear them screaming while your husband is trying to bathe them. You get their rooms all ready for bed, mismatched pajamas, a little too small, but its all that is left because you didn’t get to fold the pile of laundry yet. You are both trying to tackle bedtime chaos but end up doing each kid separately because the screaming is getting out of hand.

Expectation: Kids are down, you and your husband are intimate. Cuddle up and fall asleep.

Reality: You now fold the laundry, your husbands in the other room doing his own thing, You don’t shower because you just want to go to bed. You fall asleep with the lights on.

Whatever your day actually looks like, being a stay at home parent is hard work. Our goal is to keep our kids happy, house in order and food in your bellies. Sometimes we fall short, sometimes we do it all. It is a full time job, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The expectation vs reality needs its own reality check. Some advice I got from a fellow mom is to lower your expectation and then lower it again. The moms or dads that are killing it on social media, are probably hiding some major baggage, or maybe not, but let us not compare but learn.  The days are long, but the years are short. Enjoy every minute, because time flies

Disclaimer: this is not my day, some bits are true but it is an adaption of a made up scenario. If your day does look like this, thats totally okay too. You got this mama!

 

By Rachel Nardi-Brettman

Rachel is a wife and mother of two who lives in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She gave up her job in the corporate world to be a stay at home mom full time and raise her family. Some of her hobbies and passions include baking, gardening, and all things DIY. Rachel was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was 21. She loves to share gluten free baking tips and recipes for others who suffer from similar allergies. She started blogging when her son, Parker, was born. Her daughter, London, was born with some complications and had a brief visit to the NICU. Some of the topics she enjoys writing about include the difficulties of having 2 kids under 2, the stress and effects the NICU has on mothers, and the ups and downs of her breastfeeding journey.

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