Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Guest Post - Being a Stay-At-Home Mother

Alena is a busy mother of 2. She went from working full time to being a stay at home mother to her kids. She's here to share her experience, her ups and downs and why she loves being a Stay-At-Home mom!

13 Months ago I became a stay at home mom. I went from working full time outside of the home (at a job that I LOVED) to being a stay at home mom to my 2 kids (at the time my son Xander was 6 years old and in grade 1, my daughter Cameron was 4 years old and home with me). When I first got the news that I was losing my job due to a store closure (I worked retail, I’m good at it and I enjoy it very much) I was scared! Home alone, all day every day, with my kids… I was sure I would go stir crazy and wishing to be back to work in 2 months tops. I mean, I love being busy, I love having a huge to do list to check off every day. I loved working retail and the interactions with people. I loved the break from my kids; I felt it made me appreciate what time I had with them more. I would have sworn that being a working mom made me a better mom (and in some ways I was right); I just couldn’t imagine being home.  So after my last day of work last January I became a stay at home mom. What happened next surprised me. After years of hearing how hard it is to be a stay at home mom, how you never get a break and it’s your whole life, I was not expecting the best, but what I found out is that for ME being a stay at home mom is easy, and I love every second of it.

Xander lost his 1st tooth,
and Alena was able to be the first to see!
Alena welcomed Cami home
with her 1st report card!

However, 4 months in to being a stay at home mom (who provided child care in my home), I made the mistake of saying this to my friends and family in a general Facebook status. It did not go over well, the black lash I received from this status update both surprised and hurt me. I was up all night unable to sleep, so at 1am (when I have normally been asleep for a couple hours) I got up and got it off my mind the best way I know how. I wrote it down and sent it to my 4 best friends. This is what I wrote:

Okay Ladies I have been in bed for the better part of an hour unable to come anywhere near sleeping. This thing is bothering me so instead of losing several more hours of sleep, which I will do because that’s how I work, I am getting it out of my system. I don't feel that I expressed myself well earlier because I got very emotional. I am not a writer and I don't say things the way I mean to most of the time. I am sarcastic. I speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in, I am not afraid of confrontation. I cry when I am frustrated and talk over myself and things come out wrong, that’s what happened tonight. Hopefully I can express myself the way I want to now and get some friggin sleep tonight, so bear with me it’s going to be long winded.
First of all I am a good mom, being at home now does not make me a better mom. If I could CAP, bold italic and underline the words ME and I in the following paragraphs I would (however I am tech dumb and I only know how to do that in word). This is how I feel being at home makes it easier for me to be a mom.

When I was a working mom I spent a measly 39 of my kids approximate 91 awake hours with them a week. A very large chunk of these 39 hours were spent going through the motions of getting ready to go to work/school/ babysitters for the day, cooking a fast supper eating, showering the kids, doing school reading and getting the kids ready for bed. This left about 10-20 minutes of quality time with them 5 out of 7 days a week. I was cranky all the time and tired too, this meant that although I so looked forward to my family time on my days off and had the best intentions, my kids are just that, kids. As much as I wanted perfect days off my kids wanted to fight with each other and whine and cry and not spend time doing the things I wanted to do. This normally ended up in my being cranky due in part to my disappointment that things weren't going the way I wanted them to (mature right), but that’s me I'm not perfect either. I would ask "what did you do at school today Xander" and he would answer "I don't know" because school was over 4 hours ago and this was the first chance I got to ask him. I was lucky if I got to go to 1 swim lesson out of every 20 which means Dave told me how they were doing and they gave me their swim reports 6 hours after they got them. I missed countless birthday parties. Xander begged to have friends over and I wasn't here so he didn't. My phone rang every night and often when I was putting them to bed about something work related. I missed bed times.
In many ways being a working mom made me a better mom, more often than not it gave me better patience because I knew I only had some much time to enjoy with them (you know when I wasn’t cranky), it gave me socialization which helped keep me sane and it made me appreciate the little time I had with them.

Staying at home makes it easier for me to be a mom because now I spend a whopping 85.5 of my kids approximate 91 awake hours with 1 or more of my kids! That’s a difference of 46.5 hours a week and I am thankful for every one of those. Now those 46.5 extra hours a week aren't all on the floor playing one on one time with my Kids. I still have a house to clean, meals to cook and other kids in my home to watch and spend time with. BUT and for me this is a very big BUT, those hours are spend under the same roof as them, most often in the same room as them. I get to sit down in the middle of the day and read stories just because one of them says "mommy will you read this book to me?" and I don't feel the need to answer "later hunny mommy has to get stuff done for tomorrow first" because I had no other time to get ready for tomorrow. I can't tell you how good it felt to be the first person Xander showed his missing tooth to and how happy it made him that I was the one he got to hand his report card to when he got off the bus (and not hours later after we picked him up from the sitters) I get to be the person to greet him at the door every day after school and say "how was your day today" and then listen to something totally awesome that happened. I get to cook meals for them that take more than 10 minutes to make. I don't have to rush, which means they don't have to rush. I get to see them interact with the kids I babysit and see how awesome they are instead of someone telling me. I put my kids to bed every night uninterrupted. I have been to all but 2 swim lessons since January and was there when they got their medals. I've been to 9 birthday parties with them in the past month and a half.
My kids are still not perfect, they are kids, they still fight and whine and still don't always want to do the things that I want to do, but it’s okay because we can do it tomorrow instead. They still make me wanna tear my hair out and make me yell to be heard more often than I would like. They still do dumb kid things like leave the bathroom sink running and complain for an hour that they can't find one of their toys that is on the table in front of them. They spill drinks and start crying right away instead of cleaning it up. But staying home makes being a mom easier for me.
I'm still tired and I still get cranky but I love and appreciate every second that I have to spend with them, because in reality in 6 months from now, I'm going back to work and I have to go back to seeing my kids 39 hours a week while other people get their other 52 hours.So skip to 11 months later (now), I didn’t  meet my go back to work dead line in 6 months, or the next one after that, or the one I set after that (I have a new one now, I hope I fail at that one too). My kids are still kids (both in school now), I still take children into my home, I still love being a stay at home mom and I still find it easy! I consider myself lucky every single day that I am home and have tried my hardest to make the most of my time here (and I think I have), because like before I know it won’t last forever, I will be a working mom again at some point.

Alena and her family


  1. very well written Lee

  2. I totally agree! Being a stay at home mom is the craziest job but the highest paying--it's the happiness of our kids spending time with us conveniently without rush and commotions.

    P.S The way you count the hours proves that you really love your retail work :) hehe


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