When I was growing up, my mom had this little wood carving that said, "Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while its still snowing." And as a child, I was sort of offended by this. Especially since I felt that I was a pretty tidy kid, as far as kids go. I mean, I was odd for my age when it came to organizing. I had multiple teen organization books. I even had several American Girl books on organizing, manners and the like.
But now that I am a mother, I get it. Cleaning is constant. And I hate to say it, but I think that my house is even more of a wreck since I started staying home full-time. Maybe its because we're home all day to make messes. Maybe its because "I can always do that tomorrow." Or maybe its because I keep thinking that I stayed home to make memories not ignore the kids to just clean. But to be honest, I don't even feel that I'm spending enough quality time with the kids. I'm overwhelmed. I feel like I'm only half present because I'm constantly feeling guilty or thinking about what else needs done. If I'm cleaning, I feel guilty for not playing with the kids. If I'm playing with the kids, I feel like the dirty dishes are screaming to be washed. I'm pretty sure if you looked up motherhood in the dictionary that the definition would be "a constant, nagging feeling of guilt."
Being the organization freak that I am, I tried coming up with a daily schedule for all three of us. I blocked out time for TV, iPad, pre-K learning, napping, cleaning, etc. I even made this awesome printout on Excel and hung it on the fridge. We maybe followed it for a week. When that didn't work, I came up with a daily and weekly checklist of things that I thought needed to be done. This way I didn't have to worry about the schedule so long as things were getting done. I haven't been able to check every item off the list in one week yet. So I feel like I'm failing already. People have asked me all summer how I like staying home now that everyone knows that I'm not going back to teaching in the fall. To be honest, I still just feel like its summer break to some extent. But there's another part of me that feels this intense pressure to be able to handle it all...all by myself. I will be Suzy Freakin' Homemaker, gosh darn it!
As you know, my husband and I are HUGE Dave Ramsey fans. We are working the baby steps. We've paid off all of our debt except our mortgage. We have our 3-6 month emergency fund. And we were starting to make real traction on our retirement and other savings goals. I know that my family is making financial sacrifices for me to stay home. Don't get me wrong, we are much more fortunate than many families with a stay-at-home parent. I completely understand how blessed I am. I also know that it is a blessing to be able to stay home. But because of the sacrifices, I feel that I have to live up to some ideal in order for me to feel that these sacrifices aren't being made in vain. My husband works hard to provide a comfortable life for us and I want to make sure that he continues to feel that I'm contributing something positive to our family.
When I decided to stay at home, I also told myself that I wasn't going to be one of "those moms." You know, the ones that let themselves go. The one that is always in yoga pants. I was going to look nice when my husband got home. Maybe I wouldn't wear full-on make-up but I would be dressed and look presentable. My kids would wear quirky, cute outfits that I may have made using Pinterest. We would eat awesome meals. Birds would sing and help me do my chores..... Well, I am becoming one of those moms. One of those women that I swore I wouldn't become. I'm still holding on to about 25lbs of baby weight, so very few of my regular clothes fit and I don't want to dirty up the ones that do fit in case I need to wear them to a nicer function or to town. So I wear yoga pants and t-shirts and there are days the kids stay in their PJs all day.
I read this blog post about struggling with a morning routine, and I was so relieved to know I wasn't alone! I KNOW that I need a routine. I KNOW that getting dressed would make me feel better and make me more productive. But I keep making excuses. "I'm too tired to work out so that my clothes will fit." "I don't have time." The truth is that I probably do have time and I'm tired because I'm lugging an extra 25lbs around!
The last reason I can't keep up is because I'm trying to keep up with the Joneses. Since I know that I need Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to help promote this blog, I've created accounts on all three. I use my time nursing J to look at all of these accounts. But I find myself feeling less after I do. How in the world do these women have time to look like that, have a clean house, and make awesome memories with their kids?! I've tried to keep up, but I just can't. Not right now at least. I've got to find my footing as a stay-at-home mom. I need to find my own groove.
Because of all of this, I've decided to make The Realities of Staying Home a regular (or semi-regular) spot here on the blog. These posts are where all the mommas can come to commiserate, find inspiration, and get tips on dealing with the stresses of being a mom. Life is hard. We don't need to make it any harder by feeling alone or like we aren't enough. I love the ending of Moms' Night Out (one of my favorite movies by the way) when Allyson realizes that she has put unrealistic expectations on herself. She is her problem. Not her husband. Not her kids. Not her friends. She is the one that expects so much. But she realizes (thanks to Trace Adkins's character) that God made us. We are perfect to Him and He gave us the family and life He did because He knew what he was doing. We are going to be ok. We can do this....together!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.