I was two weeks away from giving birth when I went on maternity leave. I planned on taking the full twelve weeks and returning to work. Little did I know just how much my life would change when my baby was born.
The moment I carried my blue-eyed baby girl, I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t fathom the thought of leaving my baby at daycare. You hear it all over the news: “baby is abused” or “baby is abducted.”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking- “Ashley, there are women every day putting their children in daycare.”
I get that; I just couldn’t do it. My husband and I talked it over numerous times, making calculations.
We both agreed it would benefit us both because we’d actually be saving money by me staying at home (daycare is very expensive!).
After talking it over, we decided I would be letting my employer know that I would no longer be returning to work.
It was as if the stress was lifted off my shoulders now that I would be able to take care of my baby, myself.
Fast forward almost six months- being a stay at home mom has been so rewarding, but it has also been very challenging; I had no idea what it was going to be like.
Here is a list of things I wish I’d known before becoming a stay at home mom.
It Can Get Lonely
The first few weeks postpartum felt like a crazy rollercoaster I was able to come down from. I found myself succumbing to hormones that were trying to level out.
I had to refrain from calling my husband a million times throughout the day “just to talk”.
I was finding it very difficult to be alone! Not so much because I was afraid of being alone; more so because I had no one to talk to.
I was lonely! This is actually why I decided to start my blog! I needed an outlet; somewhere I could share my thoughts when I started to get lonely.
My mom would always tell me: “just wait until your baby starts to respond to you. You won’t feel lonely, anymore.”
I have to say- yes, I get lonely at times, now, but having a baby that responds to me has really helped!
If you’re in the first few months- it gets better! 🙂
Routines Don’t Always Last
Between night feedings and trying to fit in a shower during the first few months- I knew there was no way I would be able to find a routine, just yet.
Once my baby started sleeping through the night, I was slowly finding a routine that was working for both of us.
Things were going great, and just when I thought I had it down- it would all change.
I soon realized that having a routine was great, but it could change; I needed to be okay with that.
I am someone that prided myself on how organized I was in life; not having a set routine was so hard for me!
Mom Guilt Is Real
I’d always heard about mom guilt, but didn’t ever think I would know what it felt like.
I’m here to tell you- it is real.
There were so many times I was finding it very difficult to finish a blog post or a chore because I felt like I needed to be playing with my baby all day.
Even though I’d just spent an hour playing her, I would set her down for independent play and I felt so guilty for leaving her alone.
I also struggled to leave her with my family while running an errand because I felt as if she would feel like I abandoned her.
Mama- it’s okay to let your baby independently play. It’s okay to leave your baby with your family while you run to the store.
Building A Business Is Hard With A Baby
This is an obvious one. I knew it would be difficult to make money from home while I was with my baby, but I didn’t know just how difficult!
I’ve been working on side hustles, expecting to replace my income, but it just hasn’t been feasible.
Yes, I could up at night or wake up before the sun comes up to work on my business, but I find it’s very difficult for to me concentrate when I have little to no sleep.
As much as I want to set a few hours aside and work on building my business, I just can’t.
So, what do I do? I work during naps!
Who Does The Household Work Now?
Boy, this was one of the hardest transitions for me once I became a stay at home mom!
Household chores were typically shared between my husband and I. They weren’t necessarily split evenly, but we helped each other.
I find that stay at home moms are seen as “jobless” and are required to take on all of the housework. Somehow the term has been misconstrued and we’re supposed to be the mother and maid.
Yes, we’re home all day, but that doesn’t mean we’re sitting on the couch watching tv.
This means we’re feeding the baby, putting them to sleep, feeding ourselves and trying to build a business. To me- that is a job; we just don’t get paid for it.
After a few conversations with my husband, we have gone back to sharing household work. It’s not perfect, but it is much better than it was!
It’s So Easy To Let Yourself Go
Oh, I really wish I would have known this before becoming a stay at home mom.
Every morning, I used to wake up for work and fix my hair and dress nicely.
After becoming a stay at home mom, it was so easy to stay in my pajamas all day. I wasn’t fixing my hair; I wasn’t getting dressed; I wasn’t putting on makeup; I wasn’t even taking care of my body!
Just recently is when I reached the “I’m done” point. It took me six months to realize that I’d let myself go.
The purpose of this post is not intended to scare you if you’re a first-time mom that will be staying home with your baby. More than anything, I wanted to share this in hopes of you being able to prepare for it a little more than I did.
After all, we’re all just trying to get through this thing we call- Life!
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