I am a stay at home mom. I made the decision before we had kids. I am so blessed to be able to do it and wouldn't change it for anything. But what does it mean to be a stay at home mom?
This was easy to figure out early on while in the newborn stage and sleeping a lot. My day was filled with feeding, diapering, sleeping, trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. If I remembered to eat I would and if I got the chance I might have tried to clean something or taken a nap myself. The thought of leaving the house was not in my mind nor did I have the energy.
Then we got past that stage and things became more routine. I wanted to get out and did here and there. Once we went from three naps to two, wow did that open up the possibilities. I would find stuff for us to do most days that I could. Though it was short outings generally, we got out.
When nursing ended and we settled into the new routine, going out became a breeze. So much so, that I didn't want to stay home during the day. But I kept running into the issue where there wasn't much going on during the open time we had. Sure, we could stay home and just hang out around the house, but something was keeping me from wanting to do that most days.
The time came when we went down to one nap. Yes, I was sad to loose the extra nap time. However, I then saw all the possibilities we could do during the morning now. There were the story times, the museums, going to play dates, errands to run, and so much more. All the things I thought that a stay at home mom was supposed to do, should do.
My fear was becoming more understandable. I had created an expectation for myself to live up to. One that I thought that other moms were holding me to. One that society said we had to do. It got to a point where I would find something to do in the morning, even if only for an hour or so, just to be out of the house. We would usually end up at Target.
How can we stay home? That wouldn't be enough for my son. It couldn't be. Then it hit me while we were at Target. I realized how much time we were spending out and how much of it was really meaningless. You know you go shopping too much when your son, at 18 months, tries to use the credit card payment thing the way you do.
It took until my husband stayed home with our son for two days during the day while I went to a conference. Did they go anywhere? Nope. Did my son have fun? Yup. So, the problem lied within me.
I had a fear of staying home. That I would be letting my son down and failing as a mom. I was letting others' opinions (or at least what I thought they were) get the best of me. Instead of my son getting the best of me.
I sometimes have a hard time when I don't have something going on and filling my day. So, I thought that I needed to fill the day with stuff for my son. In all honesty, I didn't need to. We could do stuff around the house and he would be just as happy. We could go out and do something, and he would still be happy.
We now stay home and we still go out. I don't fear it as much, but I do look for fun and new activities to add to the day. He does his own thing, I do my own. I get chores done around the house and he helps sometimes. We do stuff together.
Either way, we go through our day and make the best of it.