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You wake up before everyone else in your house. Why? Because it’s your only time to yourself. This is stay-at-home motherhood.
The dishes in the sink from last night call to you but so does that book you’ve been hoping to finish. So you brew some coffee and sit down. Only a few pages in the first noises of the day begin.
The real day begins
Dutifully, you put the book down and look longingly at the coffee pot that’s still percolating. You’ll get back to that. For now, there are diapers to change and hugs to give.
You make your way upstairs as your day really begins. Or did it begin at 2 a.m. when your toddler awakened scared from a nightmare? What about that breastfeeding session with your infant at 4 a.m.? After all, you only went to bed at midnight after prepping lunches and getting ready for everything the day holds.
And yet, there’s so much love. As you scoop up your toddler they give the biggest hug and snuggle up close. “I love you, mommy.” Those are the words that keep you going because heaven knows it isn’t sleep that keeps you going.
You and your toddler head downstairs to avoid waking the baby. And then come the inevitable words “I’m hungry.” From this moment forward, all day long it will feel like you’re either prepping a meal or snack or cleaning up after one.
But these quiet moments with your firstborn are so precious. That’s not to say you don’t love your infant, but for a while, it was just you and your oldest child. Going back to those one-on-one moments is nice for both you and your toddler.
Over peanut butter toast you talk about the day ahead. Playdates, library storyline and dinner prep are on your agenda. And your toddler is ready to “help.”
The baby awakes
Then come the cries of your baby. Back upstairs you go for a diaper change and baby snuggles. Time for another feeding while your toddler cuddles up close talking nonstop. If only you could sleep that well and have that much energy.
You head out the door for library storytime where the baby melts down because just about every time of day is nap time when they are that little. The toddler moans and doesn’t want to go home but you must.
So you begin the car seat struggle. First the screaming infant and then the grumpy toddler. Someday you won’t spend so much time buckling and unbuckling then, but for now, it’s just a part of life and you do it with incredible grace.
By the time you get home, it’s lunchtime. You prep yet another meal while wearing your baby in a wrap as they sleep. Happily, the toddler eats and talks about the pictures from the book they saw.
Your neighbor arrives for the playdate, dropping off her toddler. She’s so grateful for the help watching her son while she goes to the dentist.
While some people laugh at the phrase, raising children really does “take a village.” You’re more than happy to help, and the companionship for your child is nice. For the next few hours, they’ll have someone else to talk to.
You start cutting and chopping food for dinner, stopping a few times to talk about sharing and settling toddler disputes. You feed the baby a half a dozen more times because they are growth spurting and cluster feeding has become your reality.
The toddlers complain that they are hungry, so you pull out the snacks, doing your best to provide something nutritious and good for your children. But it also has to be fast and easy because dinner preparations are still your focus before the baby needs to eat once again.
The neighbor picks up her son and the hardest stretch of the day begins. This is when the children get grumpy and tired from the day. Your toddler seems to throw a tantrum just when the baby is losing it too.
When your husband walks through the door, it’s hard not to just put the baby in his arms and hand off the toddler. Instead, you calmest welcome him home with a kiss even though you’ve been giving out your affection all day.
It’s finally time for you to breathe a sigh of relief because you’ve made it another day. You eat dinner, bathe the children and do the bedtime routine.
And for a moment, you and your husband get to enjoy some quiet time. Now you can talk about your day without interruptions and enjoy one another’s company.
Your hard work is evident, stay-at-home mom. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. You don’t need a job outside the home, unless you want one or your finances require it. The work you do is fantastic, important and hard.
Family and friends tell me often to soak in these days while my son is young. It’s hard because he’s so little and so needy. But they say I’ll miss the chaos and those little toddler snuggles.
If you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for a little bit of side income to make it all work, visit the stay-at-home mom jobs and resources page.