by Alana Morales
Remember the days back when you were working and you and your work friends who were moms would talk about the life of a stay at home mom and how perfect it must be? We're all eating those words now, aren't we? Would you like ketchup on yours?
Back then it seemed like at home moms had it all -- they didn't have to get up for work, they didn't have to deal with pantyhose and they especially didn't have to deal with bosses. No worrying about rush hour commutes or picking up the kids from daycare on time. They also didn't have to deal with dreaded coworkers who spit when they talked or had never heard of deodorant.
It's the dreaded "Grass Is Always Greener" syndrome
Ahhhh, look at what we have now. Our "bosses," who are around us 24/7, get to wake us up for work whenever they feel like it. In fact, sometimes we get stuck working the graveyard shift on top of our regular shift, which, oh by the way, never ends. Overtime is the norm. Vacation time doesn't exist. And sick days simply mean you throw up and keep going. Instead of rush hour commutes we have commutes to playgroups and music class. And as for the spitting co-worker? Well, if you have a baby or toddler you know all about being spit on.
The pressure to be a Supermom and get everything done that needs to be done is much worse as a stay-at-home mom (SAHM). When we were working, we really thought SAHM's had all the time in the world to get their house clean, cook for the hubby and play educationally fun games with their kids. I mean, from the outside it certainly looked like they had all day, didn't it? On top of our own preconceived notions about at home moms, we have stereotypes like June Cleaver, Martha Stewart and Julia Childs mixed with the Super Nanny to guide us in our thinking. I hate to burst your bubble, but honey, June Cleaver is a myth and Martha wouldn't be Martha without a cadre of worker bees behind her success. As for Julia? Rest in peace, dear, you earned it.
Our reality is much different. How many times since you've been home have you looked at the clock, after having finally cleaned the kitchen from the morning rush, and realized that it was already time to make lunch? Many new SAHM's think that because they are home, they will be able to craft the perfect life, complete with angelic kids, a clean and perfectly decorated house and piping hot meals on the table for the husband, daily. Then reality hits -- the house is never pristine, the kids have a Lord of the Flies air about them, and a homemade meal is one that made it home from the drive-through.
New SAHM's tend to get thrown for the proverbial loop. Forget trying to be a Supermom -- it's way too stressful and who needs more stress? Besides super heroes tend to wear a lot of clingy Lycra and none of us needs that. We can't do it all and that's OK. Just because we don't leave the house for work doesn't mean that our life is going to be any easier. The earlier you can let go of these preconceived notions, the quicker you will be able to work on getting acclimated to the realities of your new life and get down to the business of enjoying your family.
The adjustment to SAHM-dom is not all doom and gloom, however, and just like when you worked outside the home, there will be days when everything clicks and you think to yourself "Hey, I really can do this." Remember and cling to those days. They will help get you through the ones that leave you wondering what on Earth you were thinking when you quit your job. Luckily, all the days -- good and bad -- balance out in the grand scheme of things and we can continue on as SAHM's without losing our minds (too much).
While you are transitioning, keep in mind that, as with any new endeavor from algebra to astrophysics, there is going to be a learning curve. No one is perfect right out of the box. Besides, perfection is boring and if you were perfect, you wouldn't have any good horror stories to tell when you got together with your other mom friends.
Alana Morales has been published in numerous places, both online and off. She received a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Arizona State University and went on to teach English for six years before staying home with her kids. She began her writing career with a parenting humor column, which she still writes to this day. Ms. Morales is also the host of the online radio show Mom Writer's Talk Radio and runs a copywriting business called The Write Decision. She resides in Arizona with her two very active kids and husband of ten years.
Copyright © Alana Morales. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.