I always thought that being a stay-at-home mom sounded so pleasant and blissful. To be honest, I imagined it was a piece of cake—a job that I would totally ace. Compared to my headache-inducing corporate job, stay-at-home-mom sounded freeing. So, when our financial situation made it possible for me to stay at home to raise our first baby, I was overjoyed. This is what I have always dreamed of and what I personally have been working so hard to achieve—the flexibility and freedom to raise my daughter and spend almost every moment with her. I couldn’t wait for her to arrive for us to start our time together as mother and daughter.
Fast forward nine months, and I am here to admit that I was 100 percent wrong.
Being a stay-at-home mom is not blissful nor is it a piece of cake. Looking back, I am not sure why I ever thought it would be, especially after watching my mom raise four kids. To her credit, she made it look pretty easy between juggling extracurriculars, sports practices, homework, and meal preparation. She made being a mother-of-four look pretty effortless, but even at 10 years old, I knew she had a lot on her plate. After becoming a mom myself, I asked her if she ever had a fatigue meltdown or moment where she just cracked under the stress. She laughed and said, “Of course I did. I cried on the floor while all four of you were playing in the bathtub.”
Cue the nervous laughter.
I have quickly found out that even with one child to care for, being a stay-at-home mom is a hard job. You are 100 percent responsible for this little human 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Naptime and post-bedtime is typically your only free time, and that’s if your child is a decent sleeper. Between house chores, errands, and feeding/changing/entertaining my child, I’m going from 6 a.m. (or earlier) to 8 p.m. every day. Only after she falls asleep at night can I really relax or dedicate time to myself or my side hustles.
That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing about our life. When you become a mom, your body shifts into overdrive, and you are fueled with endurance you never knew existed. I love the bond my daughter and I are growing, and that I get to teach her all about the world. Every day, she is changing and growing up a little bit more, so I feel blessed that I am able to experience every moment.
What I’m learning is that does not mean I don’t need help from time to time. I’m only human, and I am by no means superwoman.
Over time, our society has painted this picture of the perfect mom who doesn’t ask for help and slays each day with grace and dignity. It’s considered a sign of weakness, failure, or laziness if you admit you can’t do it all. Whether you’re a working or a stay-at-home mom, you’re expected to chug along and do it all. We should all be able to do it, right? WRONG.
It’s OK to ask for help. It doesn’t matter if you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, or any combination of the two. It doesn’t matter whether you have one baby or four. It doesn’t matter if you have a partner to share the load or not. Everybody needs help, and it’s unrealistic to think we can do it all alone.
Whether it’s inviting a friend over for coffee and adult conversation, asking your husband to take over bedtime duties, paying a babysitter so you can have a day to yourself, or asking your mom to come stay for a few days, it’s OK to ask for help.
One of the lessons I’ve learned as a stay-at-home mom is that you have to be prepared to just roll with what comes. Sometimes, you will feel like every day is the same and life is mundane. Then, you will go through a period where life is chaotic and you can’t keep a set schedule. Some days, you will feel unstoppable and that you’ve got everything under control. Other days will drag, and you’ll be counting down the hours until bedtime (or really wine time, am I right?).
It’s important to ask for help when you need a break, and it’s important to say yes when help is offered. This does not make you a failure as a mother—in fact, it makes you a better mother.