Welcome to your first day as a stay-at-home mom! You’ve whipped up a batch of organic sweet potato baby food and your soy latte is too hot to drink so you are taking the time to straighten your hair before going to parent-and-tot yoga. If you’re like me, that’s how you pictured life as a stay-at-home mom. In reality, your instant coffee has been reheated for the third time, yoga is when you reach under the bed for half-eaten apples and you’ve stopped saying no when your kids ask for pancakes for supper (even though that is what they had for breakfast).
I know I’m in good company when it comes to realizing that the vision I had of being a SAHM doesn’t exactly match real life. I asked my Twitter and Facebook SAHM pals what they think and here’s what they said:
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t worry about money, but my husband accurately points out that I’ve always worried about money. I’d find something else to be anxious about even if we won the lottery.
- My biggest surprise is how I was treated recently when hubby and I went to buy a car. I couldn’t be put on the loan with my husband because I have no income. It made me feel like what I do isn’t important. @CaitieCleary via Twitter
- For me, the money guilt was surprising. Five-plus years later and I still feel it. @justleigh73 via Twitter
- For five years I was a work-at-home mom with my own business. Now that it’s closed, I really miss having an income. Seeing an empty personal chequing account stinks. @Clippo via Twitter
Despite being surrounded by my family 24/7 (since I’m home with my children and my husband works from home) being a stay-at-home mom is a lonely gig. I’ve been lucky to meet many awesome SAHMs, but it doesn’t always make me feel less isolated.
- Being so isolated surprised me. I thought SAHM life was going to be all play dates and ladies-who-lunch breaks. @ParentClub via Twitter
- I was surprised that there were so few others out there to “play” with. Karen W. via Facebook
- I didn’t really realize how lonely I would feel. I was the first one out of my circle of friends to get married then have children. Some didn’t understand that; “no, I can’t go to the bar and drink as I have to either pump and/or breastfeed.” Jessica J. via Facebook
Except when it’s not…
I’ve started locking the bathroom door when I’m in there. The paradox of being a SAHM means that you’re lonely, but never alone.
- It is way harder than I thought. I rarely have more than a minute alone. @onlygirljenn via Twitter
- I wanted so bad to be home with the kids and not miss a minute, now I just want some “me” time. The grocery store doesn’t count. @DDivasnDudes via Twitter
- What surprised me is the lack of privacy and the enjoyment of silence. @Czyscontwins via Twitter
It doesn’t get easier
As a SAHM, you hope one day your kids will listen, the laundry will do itself and you’ll feel at peace with the decision you made. Two years later, I’ve yet to have a day that runs smoothly. Ditto for these moms.
- With one child, it was easier. He was already a toddler when I was laid off. With my newborn, I’m trying to balance both. ?@siahs_baby via Twitter
- The fact that no matter how many hours there are in a day I still struggle to get everything done. @melzdw via Twitter
- I’m surprised how much I loathe making breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday! I need a personal chef! @IBKerri via Twitter
- When I only had two children, my house was immaculate. Now with four (almost five), we look like the aftermath of the apocalypse. @Sjgpotter vai Twitter
But we wouldn’t change a thing
I dream of a full-time paycheque, ditching the monotony of cleaning my kitchen and playing Lego, but I can’t imagine doing anything else than staying home with my children. My pals echo this sentiment.
- Being a SAHM is the most extreme thing I’ve done. More than cycling across Canada, climbing Kiliminjaro and triathlon. But also way more payoff! @klagden via Twitter
- I used my mat leave as an experiment to see if I would like staying at home, and the biggest surprise was I did. I honestly did not see that coming. Cara Y. via Facebook
- Now that both my kids are in school (the youngest is home every other day still) I have become even more grateful for being a SAHM. I love being the one that gets them on the bus in the morning, or if they are lagging behind I have the freedom to drive them. Diane L. via Facebook
- How excited I am to go out and get some new toys to play with! @wolfepack245 via Twitter
- No matter how many tired and crazy moments, enjoy every moment, they grow up so quickly and that every laugh makes it worthwhile. @BSmedvig via Twitter
Fess up: What surprised you the most about becoming a SAHM?