Stay at Home Mom Hate it or Love it

This wasn't supposed to be my life, this wasn't the plan. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom and yet, here I am at home raising my kids and caring for my family. I have no career to speak of and my identity is wrapped up in my family. It wasn't supposed to be this way, I was suppose to do something with my life, to be more than this. Yet here I am waiting.

Ever feel like life hasn't worked out for you? Like you are on the wrong path or in a rut? So many of us are not living up to our potential or not doing what we had hoped we would be. When I hear about old high school friends who are out jet setting and seeing the world, I cringe inside. I see career women dropping their kids off at activities and they look like they have their whole life so put together and I am envious.

Where do you wish life had taken you? What would you have done differently? There is so much I would have done different if I had only had the guts to do it. I would have travelled more, chosen a better career, and I would have waited longer to have my kids.

Do you sometimes wonder where all the time went? I see young mom's out shopping and think - hey that's suppose to be me. I have babies, don't I? I turn around and see my babies are growing up and I am left alone at home waiting for school to be over. My life wasn't suppose to be like this.

I have done a lot these past 10 years and I have worked, stayed home, worked from home, and now I am about to start off on another adventure in the workforce. Starting at the bottom again, at entry level in my mid 30s. I should be more by now but I'm not. I am who I am and that is going to have to be enough for now. Maybe by my mid 40s I will have everything I ever wanted out of life, and then again maybe not. I'm tired of the road I'm on though, time to make a change and take a different route, do I turn left or right?

Are you ready to make a difference in your life? Oprah always has some challenge going on to help you do just that. The latest - a 21 day challenge to detoxify the soul.

Being a stay at home mom has its moments, but for the most part it sucks. Since staying home life has been good because I get to focus on the kids, their school, activities and needs. I also have time for me - going to yoga and crafting. So if life is so good, why do I hate being a stay at home mom?

1. Housework

There is always housework, but as a stay at home mom I am expected to do it all by myself and have it all done everyday. I am not a perfect home maker, especially when it comes to house work. I overlook dust and small amounts of clutter. I put off cleaning as long as possible and by the end of the day my kitchen has a pile of dishes.

Every time I clean up the kitchen and get it perfect, its time to make a meal and the kitchen is a disaster once again. I feel like I'm getting nothing accomplished and going nowhere.

2. Laundry

I'm knee deep in it.... whether I work outside the home or not, I'm knee deep in laundry. I'm just not very good at getting it done and put away so I have no sense of pride in doing it.

3. Alone all day

Being new to the city means I'm a little more isolated then when I was a stay at home mom in Calgary. I've met some women here but it will take time to make good friends to meet for coffee on a regular basis.

4. Everyone thinks I have time

I like to volunteer but because I'm not working those that do work think I have all this extra time to help them out. Well, I do and I don't. I get so busy volunteering at the school I get behind at home, and the further behind I get the worse I feel.

5. No money

I have time to shop but no money to spend.

6. Pride and Accomplishment

I know, in my head I know, that being a stay at home mom is an honest hard job. Still I don't feel the same sense of pride or accomplishment that I do when I am working. I don't have the same level of confidence. Working provides me with self worth and validation, staying at home does not.

7. Boredom

I have a lot to do, I stay very very busy but its boring. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and chauffeuring the kids around is boring boring boring. I'm not challenged or energized by my daily tasks and it wears on me. My kids are interesting to talk to, especially my son, but these conversations have a short time span and then its, "mom, I need.........." Sometimes they can be real demanding little pukes.

8. No TGIF (Thank God it's Friday)

Everyday is the same for the most part, weekends bring more work because the kids and hubby are home. Cooking, Cleaning, and Laundry don't take a holiday, in fact holidays bring more work. There is no weekend to look forward to.

As a stay at home mom I get to focus on my kids and their lives, which as a working mom I don't have the time or energy to do. When I work my focus is on work and doing my best there for 40 plus hours a week. This leaves me drained and strapped for time. When I work I still have to cook, clean, do laundry, and chauffeur the kids - I just have less time to do it in. As a stay at home mom I get to show my kids how important their education is to me and share in their daily lives, more then when I work.

I am grateful for this short period that I've had staying home and helping my kids with the transition of moving from one province to another. However, I am looking forward to going back to work in the near future. I know that being home for my kids is important and valuable for them in the long run, I truly believe that children do benefit from mothers who can focus on them when they are young. However, in my heart I want to work... problem solve ... use my skills ... become something more than this.

Now that I've listed all the things I hate about staying home, I thought I'd balance it out with all the things I love about staying home. For all its frustrations and lack of appreciation staying home and taking care of my kids has been a blessing. Yes, one I'll choose to cut short and go back to work outside the home in the New Year.

What I Love about being a stay at home mom:

1. Focusing on the Kids

All my focus is on my kids and what they need to be happy. I'm not thinking about work or deadlines. I'm not stressed out and exhausted every night. I get to wake my kids up, get them to school, pick them up from school, take them to all their activities, and still have energy for them in the evening.

2. Volunteering at their School

In 6 years I haven't been able to volunteer in my kids class and I missed out on a large chunk of their lives. Now I'm making up for it by being in the school 2-3 mornings a week. I'm getting to know their school friends and be part of their education. My daughter is so proud that I'm there so much. It has really enabled me to be part of their lives on a level I wasn't before.

3. Time for ME

It's a different type of me time, because my focus is on health and getting in shape. When I work I have me time every lunch hour and coffee break, but its tampered with what I got to get done for work, grabbing a quick bite to eat, and some peaceful time shopping, browsing, or going for a walk. I do have more time without the kids when I work. This time round my kids are older and in school so I have more ME time and can focus more on me and getting in shape.

4. Healthy Dinners & Lunches

I have time to bake and make dinners every night. I add healthy ingredients to cookies and make sure that each dinner is balanced well. As much as I hate cooking and enjoy eating out, not having the money to eat out and having the time to cook has been good for the family as a whole.

5. Cleaner House and Laundry Done

I clean and do laundry everyday so it's not such a huge job on the weekends. This gives us more family time. We don't have a lot of cash to go do stuff so we are home more, which results in more housework but its spread out over the whole week. I may not be organized, I may not have the perfect Martha house, but it's manageable.

6. Hobbies

I have time for hobbies like card making and scrapbooking. I can spend time preserving memories again and enjoying my time. When I work my hobbies are put in a box in storage because I don't have any time to do them, also my focus is on work so I don't think to do them.

7. Friends

I have time for coffee with friends on a regular basis. I end up with stronger friendships, work friendships are rarely as strong or as good. It enables me to build a support group that I can lean on when I'm back at work.

As I think of more I'll add to both lists..... sometimes a thought will pop into my head while I'm mopping the floor or baking cookies.

What are some of the things you love about being a stay at home mom?

The stay at home vrs work outside of the home debate is always a "hot" one because it involves children. My husband wants me to go back to work, now, mostly because he wants to pay his mom to watch the kids. I'm not sure how I feel about that, or if it matters either way.

My children tell me they like having me home, but does it really matter in the long run? Money is tight, very tight and I am not sure if I can stay home much longer anyway.

Does it matter? Are children better off with mom at home or in daycare?

Maybe it's the rain but I'm down in the dumps today. On days like this I get nothing done, am thinking very negatively, and don't want to move off the couch. One of the hardest parts of being a stay at home mom is the isolation, especially since we just moved to a new province and I don't know anyone. Maybe I need some "happy" pills or just a good night sleep.

Really I should be grateful, extremely grateful, that I have the life I do. Afterall, I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and two wonderful children. Yet, I'm still unmotivated and starting to have thoughts that are darker then I'd like them to be. If it was a matter of the negatives overwhelming me then I'd be able to combat these blues with a positives first attitude. That is listing out all that I'm am grateful for, concentrating on the positives of life before the negatives. However, it is not - it's just the "blues" for no reason, except perhaps boredom, loneliness, or lack of mental stimulation.

I started to search out other websites that claim to have the answer for stay at home moms to remain happy. Many people do not understand how someone who is home and has no demands outside their family could get down - but it does happen. One of the reasons mothers work outside the home is for their mental health, others stay home for the same reason. Everyone has bad days, everyone gets "blue," everyone needs coping tools, and everyone needs support.

How to stay Happy being a stay at home mom

Dr. Phil Stay at Home Mom Message Board

How to be a Stay at Home Mom

Happy Housewives Club

Counting Your Blessings

I should really take this opportunity that life has given me to enjoy being a stay at home mom and have a nap. If I waste a day I shouldn't really sweat it and give myself a break for not doing the laundry. Better yet, I think I'll pick up the phone and call my girlfriends back in Calgary - that is always the best medicine for days like these.

Today Dr. Phil pitted stay at home mom's against those who work outside the home. I've been both and if I could, I would work outside the home again - in a heart beat. I didn't get to watch much of the show, had to take the kids to their Wednesday activity. What I did see was no surprise, women who believe what they have chosen is the right choice and those that make the opposite have chosen wrong. Why is it that some feel it is their right to decide for others?

Could it be that those who are most vocal about others making the wrong choice are unsure of the choice they have made for themselves? I can't say what's the best choice for kids but I can tell you what the benefits and downfalls of being both are.

Stay at home mom's have more time to do everything they need to do, but they have to do everything. Days merge into each other and I feel that I never accomplishing anything. I always feel like I'm behind the eight ball and every time I start to get ahead I end up two steps back. Since I rarely have anywhere to be and see adults very infrequently I spend too much time in comfortable clothes and with my hair in a ponytail, taking care of me is a luxury I just don't have any money or energy for. Since I'm home my husband expects to have to do less around the house because I have the time, after all I'm home all day. My days are filled with laundry, cooking, baking, organizing, planning, and driving the kids everywhere. I feel like I don't get anything done because I'm doing so much at once and there is always a distraction or two.

Benefits of being a stay at home mom(SAHM):

1. When I'm staying home with my children, my life revolves around them and for them. I am a part of their lives, I get to share more of myself with them and they with me.

2. I have time to ensure they get to activities, although I don't always have the money to enroll them, but I do get to watch them and I'm always there when they need me.

3. I am able to cook healthy meals and bake healthy (or not so healthy) snacks in lieu of pre packaged food.

4. I have formed bonds with my kids that no one else could and I am able to make them know without a doubt that they are the most important thing in my life.

5. One of the perks is that I get to have lots of hugs, kisses and cuddles everyday, whenever I need them.

6. I have more time to meet my friends for coffee on a regular basis.

7. I have time to scrapbook my family memories and tend my garden.

The Downside:

1. I do lose touch with what is going on in the workplace and I have fallen behind in my career. It made it really hard when I went back to work to accept that there were younger people who were above me in the corporate ladder.

2. It is isolating to be home everyday, all day with my children. It can be hard to feel as though I'm contributing to society or doing something important with my life. I watch others in the news doing so much, being so much, and I am jealous.

3. Some days I feel as though I've lost my "Self" and I'm not sure who I am or what I want for myself. My days are filled with caring for others helping to define their sense of "Self."

Being a stay at home mom is hard, especially for those women who thrive in the workplace. For those who thrive taking care of their family, their home, and their children Staying home with their children is where they thrive. That is why neither option is the right choice for everyone, everyone is different, every family is different, every child is different, and every situation is different. It comes down to why the choices are made and if they are made in the best interest of the child how can anyone fault a mother for making either choice?

I get myself into moments of manic and I start to over book and over commit myself. I just left the latest PAC meeting for my kids school and I vol for 2 committees, I had to leave the room to stop myself from committing to more. I need a project, something to focus on, something to occupy my time and utilize my skills. Keeping it to one is the problem, there is so much need for parents to step up to the plate and make the school a much better place for our kids.

I'd love to say this is a problem resulting from more mothers going to work and not having the time to volunteer but that's not true. I remember my mom always complaining that the same group of parents volunteered while the rest complained and didn't help out. That was 30 some odd years ago and most moms were stay at home moms.

If you are a stay at home mom with the future goal of going back to work volunteering is the perfect way to do something for your kids and keep your skills sharp. It looks great on your resume when you show that you continued to utilize and hone your employable skills while you were home. It also shows that you are a good worker, a valuable asset, and a community oriented employee.

What do you think would be more valuable on a resume when you try to get back into the workforce: 1) a block of time at home 2) a block of time at home where you used marketable skills outside the home.

The skills a mother uses in the home are valuable, but to many employers they don't value them the same as out of the home skills. Volunteering while you are staying at home shows that you are able to manage both taking care of your family and completing other commitments (such as future employment).

So volunteer - help out - show your children what it means to care about more then yourself.

I just finished picking my kids up to have another - will you volunteer - request because I did such a great job volunteering last time. Just how much time do I want to spend in my daughter's class every week????

Being a parent is full of stresses, just when you think you have it all figured out you get a phone call. My son's schools have tested and labelled him twice exceptional. Labels, I had hoped my son would be average, even when it was very apparent that he wasn't, I didn't want him to be labelled. He hates being different and wants to be the same as everyone else. I can't blame him, isn't that what anyone wants, to be just like their friends.

When I got the call from my son's resource teacher with the latest test results I was filled with both extreme pride and foreboding. My grade 4 son, my baby, has completed grade 10 for reading ability and grade 8 for comprehension. Any parent would be thrilled to get such a call but it fills me with a feeling I can't explain. Of course I'm proud, but there is this worry, fear, and stress that won't leave the pit of my stomach.

I'm not a neurotic parent, far from it. I don't visit doctor's offices at the sign of a sniffle or the emergency room for every scrap or fall. I'm a firm believer in natural consequence, responsibility for choices, and figuring things out for themselves. I don't get rattled easily, I pride myself on handling any issue that comes my way - but every time I talk to his school I worry that he will not meet his potential and its my fault.

Working full time again has taken my focus away from my kids. Mothers always feel guilty, I mean isn't that a measuring stick of how good a mother you are? Working mothers have the added guilt of not being there all the time. This is probably the source of this feeling in the pit of my stomach the nagging voice saying I'm not good enough, I'm failing my son.

Last night we went to the Airdrie Festival of Lights, which was cold and beautiful. It ended with a spectacular fireworks display and as I took pictures I realized something; I spend so much time looking through a camera to preserve memories I'm not apart of. Looking at something through the lens of a camera or a video camera removes you from experiencing that which you are trying to preserve.

How much time do we spend watching those videos that we spend so much energy taking? We take video to preserve memories that we won't have. By watching something through a camera you are removed from actually experiencing it and remembering the emotion of it. You are not engaged in the event you are trying to preserve so is it really a memory worth remembering?

Personally I love taking pictures they help trigger memories later on in life. I just have to stop trying to only take pictures and try to spend more time in the moment enjoying the situation I am trying to preserve forever. Next time your child has a school play try putting the camera in someone else's hands or a tripod and just enjoy the moment of watching your child perform. That memory will last in your mind and heart longer than any you preserved in video.

You know the recruitment slogan, "be all you can be." Commercials targeted at youth ask them to consider a life in the armed forces. Since I am sitting in my home safe and sound, watching the TV I couldn't help wonder, why young men and women decide to join the armed forces.

With an unpopular war being waged 1/2 way around the world, what compels a young adult to choose to go and fight?

As a mother, the idea of my child going to war, let alone volunteering, scares me. My children are young and concerned about social injustice, they hope they never have to go to war or anyone they love has to go to war. I can't imagine the worry, anxiety and stress a mother goes through when their child chooses to go into the military.

Don't get me wrong I think that making the choice to enter into the military is an Honorable choice, one to be proud of. I just don't understand it myself and I fear that one day my children may choose a life in a war zone.

What compels a young adult to put themselves through the vigorous training to then put themselves in harms way? The army doesn't pay danger pay so it can't be for the money. It has to be something more, something that most of the industrialized population lack and don't understand.

To those that do choose to take up the call "to be all you can be," THANK YOU. What you have chosen to do with your life is beyond yourself and I hope that you will come through it safe and sound for the sake of your mothers. Many have died protecting their nation, fighting for what they believed to be the right cause and they gave the one thing that cannot be taken back, their lives. They are to be remembered, respected, and appreciated.

To the mothers.... Thank you for supporting your child's decision and standing behind them, even though I hope never to be in your shoes. I thank you for being a better person than me and filling those shoes.

Yesterday was Remembrance Day, one of the most important days in the year. My kids amaze me every year by their understanding of how terrible war is and yet so many are entertained by the movies war inspires.

I can't watch a war movie, classic or contemporary, without being touched by the sacrifice many made on my behalf. I have a hard time watching these types of movies and yet they make millions of dollars because society loves to watch them.

These movies should change the world to ensure that more young people don't die as a result of it. Yet men and women around the world are fighting different wars while we sit here watching, numb and detached from the realities of war.

My children fear that someone they know will have to go to war. My son especially is scared of the future and what war it will bring. We don't subject them to the news or any type of war movie or tv show. The only knowledge they have about the horrors of war come from Remembrance Day ceremonies and their imaginations.

Adults know more about the horrors of war and yet we don't hail our soldiers as heroes and many don't appreciate what they have sacrificed so we can enjoy freedoms and live the lives we do. War movies should be helping inspire empathy, gratitude, and peace not to enjoy watching how men and women suffered for our freedoms.

I often hear new moms say they want to stay home but they can't afford to. Really, I believe that it is more a matter of not knowing how to stay home. You first need to be really honest with yourself, do you really want to stay home or is it a fleeting wish because you actually would rather work.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with either working outside the home, working inside the home or being a stay at home mom. If you have strong feelings about about one option being right over the other, are you sure you've made the right choice?

Every family situation is different, every woman is different and what is right for one child isn't always right for the other. For example, my son would perk up when visiting daycares I was interviewing before I went back to work. My daughter was very clingy and needed me home. Decisions were made based on what each child needed and where we were in life.

I found ways to earn enough money to stay home. Childcare was the most profitable and the most stressful, left me burnt out in the end. My husband started an automotive repair business that I marketed for him and he was in high demand before he decided on a career change. I am home with my children again doing what I can to make money to help make ends meet while he's up North flying.

What works for us, won't necessarily work for you. You need to first establish how much you will need to make to get by. Then you can start looking for options that will provide you with that amount of money. You will only make what you put in so if you want to stay home to play with the kids and have coffee with the neighbour and not do the hard work to bring in money then you won't. If you are willing to designate time to a business or a work from home job, then you will make money.

There are lots of choices out there. To check out some of them, go to the articles section for reviews on various work at home opportunities.

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