The True Expertise of a Stay-at-Home Mom


mother and child signMy life has changed a bit since I became a stay-at-home mom. It's changed for the better, for the wackier, for the outrageously nuttier, and it's more rewarding than I ever realized. It's also made me an "expert" (doing air quotes as I type, too) in things I never even dreamed possible. It's true that a SAHM has about 22 jobs. Things like chef, doctor, chauffeur ... but we also become quite skilled in the things we maybe took for granted before we had kids.

These new accomplishments and feats of strength have absolutely propelled me to some sort of superwoman status. Don't think so? Oh let me bask in my glory -- my 2-year-old twins deserve a mom who thinks she can do it all, right? We all deserve that. And any mom (stay at home or not) should be proud to add these remarkable actions to her resume. Because it ain't always easy.

I've mastered food shopping with two toddlers. This is no easy feat. The shopping carts in my neighborhood are only of the "fits one kid" variety. And my double wide stroller is challenging to fit through the aisles. Still, I have done it, packing my groceries in every crevice of the stroller, hoping I find it all when I get to checkout, and timing it just right so there isn't a meltdown in the ice cream aisle.

I'm an excellent singer whilst eating. Oh yes, la la la la laaaaa chew, chew, chew. It's my little trick, see, my kids hit a stall after about two bites of food, and I've found that a little song, maybe even a chair dance (of the G-rated variety) makes the food magically go down. Well, most times. If it doesn't work, at least the tunes keep me in a better mood and not make me so upset they didn't eat the lunch I painstakingly prepared. And will eat myself, cold, as not to waste it.

I've become an expert in squeezing in a shower. If I'm not showered by noon, I'm cranky. A cranky mommy can be worse than a cranky toddler. So I've figured out how to make it work. After we all enjoy our breakfast with a song and dance, we put on a little Elmo. Lucky for me, the bathroom is right off the living room, so Sesame Street goes on, and so does the water. The kids alternate what they find more exciting -- the suds in mommy's hair or Abby's Flying Fairy School. Everyone's happy and smells good. Mostly.

I've successfully potty trained ... myself. My kids like to go everywhere with me. If I tell them I have to go potty, my daughter says "Come with you." So she does. I don't know about you, but for me if my kids are screaming outside the bathroom door as I try to go number 2, number 2 just isn't happening. Constipated mommy isn't happy especially since I need that second cup of coffee around 3 p.m. when we are out for a walk. And constipated mommy is only a fraction of the unhappy she would be if she became "have to poo now" mommy while not near home and two toddlers in a stroller that won't fit into the Starbucks bathroom. So the porcelain throne has visitors and I'm totally zen even if my kids want to play with the toilet paper roll during that time. Luckily they have been starting to like sitting on their own potty and reading Victoria's Secret catalogs.

I'm learning, and surprising myself with my accomplishments! It's only been a month so I know I'll get better and better.

What feats of accomplishments have you mastered either as a SAHM or when you are home with your kids? Which one of mine can you most relate to?


Image via DaveBleasdale/Flickr

child care, a mom's life


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tinyp... tinypossum

All of the above and a whole lot more, all while holding down a full-time job. Not sure how any of this is particular to SAHMs. 

Camer... CameronsMommy23

I'm glad to read this & not feel alone in the wonderous feats of a mom of multiples Michele! Since going from 1 kid to 3 I've had to re learn everything. I'm now multi tasking to the extreme! At times caring for a husband, 3 kids, a new pup, a home, & myself is overwhelming to say the least, but each day I get better at it & each day I love my little ones more then the last day.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

The vast majority of 'working' mothers I know shower at the gym after dropping the kids off at daycare and go shopping before picking them up and I'm sure they all have access to bathroom facilities during the many hours a day they spend away from their children. I do wish people would stop with this "I do everything a SAHM does and I work full time" nonsense because it is so obviously and completely wrong. Using that argument just makes you look foolish and petty.

nonmember avatar Cynthia

I have to agree with RhondaVeggie! Most of the "working mothers" I know also do not have to shower, go to the bathroom and shop with their kids! How about a big one for multitasking is managing to get to your own doctor/dentist/optometrist appointments etc with kids in tow?! How about being a SAHM also seems to lend itself to being able to "read" your kids quicker and prevent or lessen melt downs and bad behavior? I'm by no means saying all SAHM's are better at this or that children of working mom's are all badly behaved, but SAHM's seem to pick up the cues quicker, or just know the kids' schedule and know how to prevent them better.

jessa... jessasmamma

i agree with rhonda ^. i was a stay at home for almost 2 years. i barely got to brush my teeth alone. now - i am a working single mom and i must say - while i hate being away from my daughter, the luxury of having her in daycare does allow me a little extra time to take care of things. i can go to the restroom by myself without my 2 year old clapping and jumping up and down yelling "you're such a big girl!!". i can run to the grocery store before picking her up from daycare. i can schedule my doctors appointments during my lunch break while she naps at daycare. i didn't have any of that as a stay at home mom. don't get me wrong - each way is challenging, but not in the same ways. 

nonmember avatar Gina

Rhonda: you are kidding, right? How long do you think working mothers keep their kids in daycare each day? Long enough to go to the gym, work 8 hours AND go grocery shopping? Seriously? It blows my mind to hear SAHM whine and complain about how hard their days are. Every single working mom I know DOES do everything a SAHM does plus works full time, often staying up much later to get everything done.

nonmember avatar Siddy

Ahh yes, RhondaVeggie. On call to chastise working moms for not being mothers. When will you understand that we're not all living a gym-going, leisurely life, ignoring our children? I highly doubt you know enough working mothers to qualify a number of them as being "vast," since I know I wouldn't want to associate with your judgement.

I work full-time, drop my child off at her daycare that's literally 3 minutes from my work, spend my lunch break with her, and pick her up 3 minutes after I get off work. I take her shopping with me because hey! I like spending that extra time with her. And gym? It's after she goes to bed, duh!

When will you realize that just because we haven't sacrificed ourselves on the altar of motherhood that we're still every bit a mother? FYI, I was raised by a mom like you, who gave up EVERYTHING she was when she had kids. When we moved out, she had a nervous breakdown since she felt she had just lost her identity, and died a short time later. It was tragic.

I will never let go of who and what I am just because I have a child. My daughter is happier with a mother who is balanced and carves some time out for herself. I wish my mom had.

Eques... EquestrianMom

Lol! I loved this article :) So true! I work full time, but from my home running a stable. I can juggle 2-6 kids at varied ages while managing horses (sometimes with the kids helping groom) as well as all the normal "chores" like feeding, cleaning stalls, ect. Think it's hard to vacume with a few toddlers around? Now put a large animal and a ton of poo into the equation :P

 Multitasking excellence has definately been added to my resume! LOL! Oh, and I loved the last one about being potty trained, I was too! Even more so, cause I used to have problems going potty (1 or 2) when someone was in the room. Or nearby. Now, not an issue! LMAO! 

Stacey. Stacey.

Uh Rhonda obvously you have never met a single mom.

Not every working mom has a husband to spoil her. I even have a man and having time to even get my haircut alone is impossible (man works nights). I do everything a SAHM mom does. That is not petty or foolish to say. Granted I do get to pee alone at work, but I am on companies time at work, which is far from having personal time to shop and go to the gym.

What exactly do you think a SAHM mom does that a working mom doesnt? If I am gone 4 hours to work, what exactly am I missing out on in those 4 hours that will disqualify me from doing everything a SAHM does?

Sounds like you hang w/ some rich folks who have time and money to pamper themself. You sound petty and foolish, acting like you do "so much more". All moms work hard period, unless you're one of those rich girls you mentioned, in which case you just sound like a jealous petty moron.

Stacey. Stacey.

I also must add not every working mom keeps their child at daycare. My man stays at home during the day since he works nights, so baby is always with one of us. Which means daddy is eager to get his sleep the second I clock out. It must be nice to afford a 24/7 daycare.

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