I had only been a stay-home mom for six months when I met up with a childhood friend during Christmas vacation. After oohing and ahhing over my baby daughter, my childless and employed pal looked me square in the eye, slightly bewildered, and asked, "So . . . what do you do all day? Are you happy??"
I explained that what I did was so much more than changing diapers, cooking meals, and cleaning house; there are wonderful, fulfilling aspects of stay-at-home mothering that make the routine care of family and home so rewarding. I'm happy knowing my girls are being cared for by the person who loves them most and appreciate being there to watch them reach even minor milestones.
As go success and failure with nearly any job, there are definite ways to make it or break it as a full-time mommy. Here are some things I've learned after nine years and two daughters worth of mothering.
Make your children a priority
This may sound obvious and unnecessary since you've already made the decision to be home with your kids, but sometimes moms get so caught up in running the household the children don't receive the attention they need. Maintaining the house is important, but don't get so busy with housework, phone calls, paying the bills, and surfing the Internet that you miss great times with your kids and lose sight of your main reasons for being home.
Keep house and strive for balance
Although housework shouldn't take all your time and energy, it is necessary for anyone who wants to enjoy the stay-home experience. It's much more pleasant spending each day in a clean, organized environment. There's no need to be a neat freak or expend all your energy on chores, but if you schedule a cleaning routine and make it a "hobby," your quality of life at home will improve and you'll set a good example for your children.
With the flowers comes a little dirt
Understand and accept that, as with most jobs, being a stay-home mom brings its own set of challenges: full-time mothering may be the most socially undervalued profession there is. Particularly if you come from a busy career background, the switch to being a stay-home mom may bring its own version of culture shock. You may experience loneliness, boredom, frustration, and find yourself struggling with unexpected self-esteem issues. Remind yourself of your conviction. Your mate's support is crucial in those times. Meet your challenges head-on and use them to become a stronger person. The worthwhile benefits of being home with your kids are likely to outweigh the struggles.
Don't forget your husband
Remember him? The man you married? He needs your love and attention, too. Your marriage should be a priority and not pushed aside while the children are young. Nurturing your relationship may be the factor your children will look to in achieving their own sense of security, and as a model in building their own relationships later on. When the kids are grown and you're experiencing the empty nest, you'll be glad you've nurtured your relationship with your mate.