This blog post has been a long one in the making…I’ve been slowly pulling the pieces together and getting wonderful feedback and responses from some amazing women who I’ve gotten to know through social media and in person over the years.
When I started to brainstorm the topic of this blog post I wanted to focus on the experiences of stay at home moms and moms who work outside of the home. I’ve been both – and I have a lot of admiration and appreciation for mothers who do one or the other – or even a little bit of both. I truly feel there is so much we can genuinely learn from one another if we could only have more space to share our stories, struggles, and daily victories.
I hope you’ll love hearing from these women as much as I’ve enjoyed pulling together their responses and sharing them with you all! The next post on this same topic will be a Q&A with momma’s who work out of the home (WOHM’s) – stay tuned!
Elsa T. is a 26-year-old momma of two kids ages 2.5 years old and 13 months. She has been married for 3.5 years and enjoys sewing, reading, camping, and garage sale browsing.
Alex M. is a 26-year-old mom of four kids ages 6, 3, 2 and 2 (twins)! She has been married for seven years!
Lenae M. is a 32-year-old mother of a little 16-month-old boy named Jonas! She’s been married to her husband, Ahmed for 5 years and her hobbies include photography, deep conversations with friends, reading, and online shopping.
Kassi W. is a 33-year-old momma of three kids ages 4, 2, and 2 months. She’s been married for six years and her hobbies include running, working out, reading, decluttering/organizing!
Angela B. is a 39-year-old mom of four kids ages 17, 15, 11, and 9! She’s been married for 18 years and her hobbies include volunteering at her kiddos schools, crafting on her Cricut, procrastinating, listening to Podcasts, TJ Maxx, talking on the phone, and cooking!
Jackie M. is a 37-year-old mother of two kids ages 5.5 and 2. She’s been married for eight years and her hobbies include wiping butts, rocking babies (haha just kidding)! Cooking, baking, reading, walking, and a good cup of coffee.
Kristi H. is a 27-year-old momma of one daughter age 15 months! She has been married for five years, her interests include country dancing/twirling, cookie dipping, Netflix watching, being outdoors and eating tacos! She blogs at themedschoolwife.com
Dawn L. is a 33 years old mom of 2 boys ages 5 & 3.5 years old and another baby due in September. She’s been married to her husband Jordan for 13 years. She loves to run, stand up paddle board, cross country ski, knit & play the violin. She is a registered dietitian and nutrition instructor and works part-time.
Whitney L. is a 25-year-old mother of and has four young kiddos, she and her husband Jason lived less than a mile from one another for most of their lives until they met in college while working at McDonalds! They’ve been married for six years and in her free time she enjoys research and learning about the brain/human behavior (bachelors in Psych), she also loves teaching violin students!
Sarah S. is a 34-year-0ld momma of three kids ages 6, 3, and 8 months! She has been married for 11 years and is a licensed esthetician and does makeup for events (but mostly as a hobby). She enjoys designing jewelry, crafting, and DIY projects. She loves learning the Bible and as a follower of Christ, she always seeks to learn more about God.
Question 1: What does a day in the life of you as a SAHM mom look like?
Elsa – Wake up, eat breakfast, kids play while I clean or read, play outside, eat lunch, naptime, dinner, family time, get ready for bed. Some days we’ll go shopping, go for a walk or go to the park.
Alex – Very routine, wake up, breakfast, play, nap, play, make dinner, bedtime. Occasionally we plan somewhere to go so we can get out of the house.
Lenae – I get up around 7:30 and get myself ready for the day, have breakfast, and enjoy some quiet time before my son wakes up at 9 or 9:30. I get him ready and give him breakfast, and then we have play time. We try to get out of the house every day for fresh air whether it’s walking to the park, going on play dates, or running errands. He still takes 2 naps most days, so I use nap time for laundry, dishes, etc or the occasional nap myself. I usually make dinner during his 2nd nap, and he wakes up around the time my husband comes home so we eat dinner together as a family. Our evenings are usually pretty low key with the 3 of us until Jonas goes to bed around 9:30. My husband and I usually go to bed around 11.
Kassi W. – I start every day at 5 am by nursing the baby. When he is done, I will either go for a run or start cleaning and tidying to try to get ahead for the day. My older two wake up right around 7 am, so from there it’s kind of a frenzy of making breakfast, packing my husband’s lunch, getting my kids dressed and ready, and trying to freshen myself up a bit. Our mornings are filled with various activities depending on the day of the week: Preschool, speech, swim lessons, MOPs, library, park/playground, etc. This is also the time of day I try to run errands (if everyone is in a good mood and cooperative) like grocery shopping, Target, post office, etc. We’re usually home for lunch between 12-1. After lunch, we hang out and play or read. All the kids go done for a nap between 1-2. During nap time, I hit the housework hard (deep cleaning, laundry, dishes, dinner prep, etc.), and usually throw a 30 min workout into the mix. My kids are up between 4-5, and our evenings are pretty low-key for the most part. The kids will have a snack/eat dinner, bathe, and just play. One evening a week my daughter has ballet/tap. My husband gets home around 7, and I’ll head out for a run if I didn’t get one in the am. Bedtime for the kids is at 8, and then my husband and I take it easy for the rest of the night. We’ll cook our dinner together, maybe watch a show, and just hang out. Right before bed, I’ll shower, nurse the baby one last time, and I’m usually asleep between 10-11.
Angela B. – Mornings come fast. I’m a night owl, so I feel like I sleep for 15 mins and my alarm goes off. I help my girls get ready for school and head out the door to be their school bus. We school of choice, and live 20 mins from their schools, so I drop them off and pick them up from school. Every. Single. Day. I’ve done this for the past 11 years. After I drop my youngest off at school, I’ll do a grocery run or other errand that I have in town before heading back home. I try to consolidate my “in town” business to the same one or two days a week. So if I have appointments, I’ll also try to do any work I have at the schools on the same day. That way I can just stay busy in town until I pick up the kids, and not have to play the back and forth from town to home game. If I’m just heading home for the day, I’ll eat breakfast when I get home. Toss in the laundry, and hop online for a bit while drinking my caffeine. My favorite place to do this is my front porch, but I live in the land of winter hell, so I only have a few months of this pleasure. Once I have that downtime, I’ll prep dinner (if it’s a “complex”) recipe and get that going. Laundry gets switched, maybe a toilet scrubbed. I’ve tried many times to keep a chore schedule, but that just doesn’t work for me. Honestly, after being a SAHM for almost 18 years, I’m over housework. I also try to save household chores for my kiddos, because why else on earth did I knowingly have four kids? Back in the day when my kids were home with me, we did a lot of playgroups, library time, parks, play dates, etc.
Jackie M. – A day in the life of me as a SAHM starts by getting my son up for and ready for school. I get my daughter up and ready for the day, then get everyone some breakfast. We’re out the door by 7:50am for school drop-off, then it’s back home to do chores, have some play time with Camille, sometimes we have playgroup to go to, or we’ll go to the library, other times I have errands to run or appointments to go to. Then it’s lunch with my girl and her naptime after that. I usually do my paperwork during her nap, as well as laundry and meal prep for dinner. After Camille’s nap, we pick Owen up from school and head home for some play time with Dad who is now home from work, and then I get dinner going. We eat dinner as a family, then it’s some more play time or TV time, baths and bedtime for the kids by 7:30/8:00pm. Once the kids are in bed, I tidy up the house, do dishes, usually fold another load of laundry, take a shower, have a little relax time, and it’s off to bed.
Kristi H. – Most of our mornings look the same. Breakfast, send Dad off to school, clean, walk the dog, play at the park, lunch, nap. Afternoons vary, but we generally go to the gym three times a week. Cook dinner with Dad when he gets home. Family time. Bedtime routine. Mom and Dad time. Sleep. Repeat. Generally, life is pretty simple. I try to switch things up with trips to the dog park, grocery shopping, getting together with friends, or inviting over other couples/families for dinner.
Dawn L. – A day in a life consists of waking up as my husband leaves for work. Having breakfast & making sure the boys are ready for the day. I usually check my email while they play. We drop Arthur off at preschool & head into town to meet a friend to run. We pick up Arthur from preschool and have lunch. Both boys still nap in the afternoon so I will either lay down or get some work done. I usually start making dinner before the boys wake up as 3 nights/week I’m out of the house shortly after my husband gets home from work. Twice a week I teach a night class at NMU and work at the nursing home one evening every other week. The boys will help set the table or keep me company while I’m cooking. We always have dinner as a family. The boys play outside or help my husband with something until bedtime. After the boys go to bed, I’m usually grading assignments, prepping lectures or charting on residents until 10pm. My husband & I watch something on Netflix & usually have ice cream before we head to bed.
Whitney L. – A day in our life can only be described as organized chaos. I’m a very routine-oriented person. Seriously, I use the same coffee cup every morning 🙂 My kids get up around 7/7:30 most days, and the morning rush to get everyone fed, dressed, and ready for the day begins. It’s only a rush in the sense that I’m rushing to take care of all four with minimal squalling. We don’t get anywhere quickly if we have plans for the day. Two things I’ve found that help make our day go a lot smoother are 1) if I start dinner as often as possible in the morning after breakfast, and 2) I let them all watch kid songs on YouTube while #3 gets his morning nebulizer done, and I get myself ready for the day. Currently, our two eldest go to headstart Mon-Thurs in the afternoons. Once they head off on the bus, I feed the babies lunch and put them down for a nap. Then I eat my own lunch in peace (best meal of the day!). Unless we have appointments, or I want to get out of the house, I usually use the afternoon nap period to catch up on chores or work on house projects since we are currently remodeling part of our house. When the babies wake up, they usually play pretty happily together while I finish dinner prep and get the older two off the bus. After dinner, Jason takes on baths, pjs, tooth brushing and book reading for the older three while I clean up the kitchen (which always looks like a world war broke out) and get the baby ready for bed. Then I vacuum the house while he cleans up the bathroom, and get ready for bed. He also has to do nebulizers before bed, and every night we watch a show together while he does this. We also drink HOT coffee and eat any treats we have in the house (yep, we’re mean, the kids don’t get any). But for us, this alone time together is very important for our relationship. We don’t really like going away from home, because we miss our alone time together before bed. As my Mom always says, “John Rosemond always says ‘Bedtime is for the parents, not the kids.’” I have never heard wiser words.
Sarah S. – As for a straight up answer: our day to day life is pretty simple, we homeschool, so breakfast, prayer, school, exercises, lunch, play…play and more play! Learning is mostly taught by playing at this stage of life. So I play all day with them! And I love every second! I know every mom is different and I respect all parenting styles, but I’m the kind of parent that doesn’t want to miss a thing! I consider it an honor to be with my children every day! Right now if I could describe my life in 1 word, it would be the word: RANDOM. Some days are rough and everyone wakes up crabby and sad. Most days are great though and I often feel like I don’t deserve my children and my husband. God is just too good! It sounds terrible, but I don’t just live my life expecting things to go well. I’m positive and optimistic, but I’m also very realistic…and this is not Heaven. There are hard times, there are flat tires, there is coffee that spills on white shirts, there are siblings that fight, there is sickness, there are weeks without sun, etc…I always start out my day expecting EVERYTHING to go wrong! And then I end up being pleasantly surprised and thankful when things turn out right…sometimes…lol! Jesus said we will have trouble in life (John 16:33), so I’m not at all surprised when we have trouble. I expect a whole lot of trouble in my day to day life, but that keeps me close to God and I’m thankful for Him helping me through it. Honestly, I’d rather have Jesus in my life and have an imperfect life, then have a perfect life without Him.
Question 2: What is the most challenging part about staying at home with your kiddos?
Elsa – Finding patience at all times of the day. And keeping a balance between being a mom and being Elsa.
Alex – Isolation. Sometimes it’s just not ideal to go out somewhere and you feel so away from the real world.
Lenae – Sometimes it’s isolating. I spend a lot of time by myself, which is both good and bad. I’m an introvert and a homebody, so I usually don’t mind being by myself, but I do get lonely. It takes a lot of effort on my part to maintain friendships and spend time with other people.
Kassi W. – The most challenging part of it all for me is probably the monotony. Even as a person who thrives off of routine and truly loves keeping a home and caring for our children, most days I feel like I’m going to lose my mind if I have to cut food into bite-size pieces and arrange it on a tiny plate ONE MORE TIME! Also, the lack of adult interaction can be wearing too.
Angela B. – I look back and only wish I still had kiddos at home with me. Was it chaotic, noisy, messy, tiring? Yes. But you know what, being a SAHM mom with no kids around is more challenging in different ways. I constantly question my value or worth. I am lonely and often bored. I love my home, but the emptiness of it during the day is deafening. There are days that I up and leave because I can not look at the pile of dishes and messy beds for another minute. You may ask why I don’t work. Here’s the answer. I’ve tried to work a few times here and there over the years. I’ve been a substitute teacher and a middle school secretary for a year. For our family, it is very hard when I’m working out of the home. My husband owns multiple small businesses and is very busy. He works hard and loves what he does. He provides a great living for us, and we want for nothing. In able for him to be successful and to be there for his employees, it’s better if I take the wheel at home. We also have a daughter who has Type 1 Diabetes, so being available for appointments and emergencies is my main priority. Between four kids (one with high medical needs), the sick days and appointments add up fast. Andy is able to run his business seamlessly, while I stay at home with the kids when needed. Don’t be discouraged or enraged at him-he is very open and supportive of me working outside of the home. It’s just too much for us all if I do. It is a decision that I make. Also, I need a job that revolves around my children’s school schedule. No summers. No weekends. No Spring Breaks. It’s hard to find a job that can fit those needs. It’s important to me to be the mom who can be at every recital, concert, field trip, game, science fair. And I have been. And I am so grateful for that. I know this season, like all the other seasons of motherhood, won’t last forever. I mean, my oldest will be a senior next year!!?? Time is no joke-it’s brutal. So while I struggle to find my role as a SAHM mom, who has no kids at home most of the time, I hang on to the fact that before I know it, my kids will be gone. But they won’t be coming home at the end of the day to whine at me how hungry they are.
Jackie M. – The most challenging part of staying at home with my kids is finding balance. Children require most of you, most of the day, especially when they are younger. It can be difficult to find that balance of time with the kids and time for myself. It can also be difficult to find that balance of time to play with the kids and time to get things accomplished around the house.
Kristi H. – I think the most challenging part is not feeling like I’m progressing. It’s hard to feel like your making a difference when you get caught in the daily trenches of diapers, dishes, and fighting naps. It’s a big shift going from working on amazing projects in college and working to being a full-time stay-at-home mom. You go from a stage of constant academic and skill-based learning and progression to a stage in life where progression is slow and personal learning takes on different forms. Even though I know my current purpose is one of the most important things I can do with my time (I know this is what God gave me time for)…it can be hard to fill full of purpose in motherhood.
Dawn L.– The most challenging part of staying home with kiddos is feeling like I’m always working. Now that they are older, I really try to only work when they are sleeping. That often doesn’t leave me with much time to myself or to relax. I’ve had to learn to prioritize my work assignments. I’ve also had to set boundaries with my boys, for instance: we’re not doing anything (going outside, playing with play-doh) until mom has eaten breakfast.
Whitney L. – For me, the biggest challenges of being a SAHM are productivity and socialization. I love to be productive, but it just literally is not possible to get as much done on a daily basis as I would like to– not with four littles. Lately what has been helping me with this struggle is writing down a daily list of everything I want to get done in the morning. And I mean pretty much everything, big or small. When you check off something on your list, it releases some of the purest epinephrine in nature in your brain, it feels really good. Ever purposely write something on a list just to check it off? That’s why. As far as socialization goes, it is not logical to think you can get out every single day with four kids. Not if you want to keep any kind of meals and nap routine going. Therefore I try to get out a couple times during the week, and on Fridays, I generally plan as a “fun” day and bring all the kids on an outing (usually to their favorite store Goodwill). Additionally, Jason and I each try to have one evening a week to get out alone by ourselves to do something or go somewhere by ourselves. For me, I usually go walk around a store or get coffee with a friend after teaching violin lessons on Wednesdays. It is so important for adults to take some time for themselves in order to have enough patience to deal with their tiny children at home the rest of the time.
Sarah S. – Right now it’s challenging to keep the 2 older boys from fighting. They are both strong-willed and stubborn like their mamma 😉 also working around my husband’s crazy work schedule. When he’s on the night shift, keeping the house quiet is challenging. We try and go out in the morning so he can get some sleep, but sometimes it doesn’t always work out for whatever reason.
Question 3: What is the most enjoyable part about staying at home with your kiddos?
Elsa -I love the flexible schedule.
Alex – Getting to see every milestone is very rewarding and endless cuddles really makes it worth it.
Lenae – I love being with Jonas all the time watching him grow and learn every single day. He is so amazing. He is my little buddy, and I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything.
Kassi W. – The best part is just being with my kids. I feel beyond blessed and privileged that I am able to be with them all day, every day. I am the one there celebrating all the big milestones and first-time experiences with them. I am the one comforting and caring for them when they are sick, sad or hurt. I am the one there on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon reading books, changing diapers, and having pillow fights. I know that this is the only motherhood I will ever have, and I did not want to give up these moments to anyone else.
Angela B. – I loved always having someone around. I was an only child for most of my childhood, and my mom was single and worked/went to school most of the time. I was a latch key kid and spent a lot of time alone. I grew up in the ’80s, so staying home alone and cooking your own dinner at 8 years old was the norm. Having a little person to keep my company, however sassy or crabby they would be, was comforting. My favorite part was after lunch, during quiet time. Reading books and snuggling before nap time-that was my all time favorite! And I guess so was nap time! That little break was always worth the struggle to get them to sleep. I also loved that most of my friends were home with their kids. I had adults to hang with. Now, most of my friends are back to work since their kiddos are in school. I miss that camaraderie. Sharing war stories during playdates while our kids destroyed the playroom were some of my favorite moments.
Jackie M. – The most enjoyable part of staying home with my kids is the bond that we are creating. Time is ever-fleeting and is something we cannot get back. I’m glad to have this time at home with my kids to build a strong foundation with them.
Kristi H. – The most enjoyable part to me of being a stay-at-home mom is the fact that I get to help my daughter discover the world around her. I love watching her intense gaze as she tries to put a lid on a cup. I live for the moments when she has a deep belly laugh and pure joy lights up her face. I adore watching her interact with her dad when he comes home. I look forward to those moments where I get to study her face as she sleeps in my arms before I lay her in her bed at night. It’s the small moments I enjoy the most.
Dawn L. – The most enjoyable part of staying home with my kids is all the little things. Being there for their preschool valentines party or taking care of them when they aren’t feeling well. I love singing along to songs with them while driving in the car. Talking about the birds at lunchtime. All those little things make the day extra special.
Whitney L. – I love being able to rock my babies in the morning if they need to be. I love not waking up to give them a squeeze and run out the door to get home in time to get them ready for bed. I’ve done that, and it isn’t fun. I love when my two year old starts singing in his baby voice and when I join him, the one-year-old starts dancing. A lot of times life seems too hard when you are in the trenches with a bunch of whining, crying kids all day. But I know I could not be at work during this time in my life, especially since I’d always be going home anyways to deal with our two youngest who have some chronic health issues. To enjoy life as a SAHM, you have to find the joy in the simple things, i.e. yummy coffee, kids playing together nicely, your boy saying “Bye, bye Daddy! Love you!” as your husband leaves for work.
Sarah S. – I truly enjoy staying home with my children because I get to truly watch them grow and learn. I get to see them through every step…LITERALLY! It’s so great to know that I witnessed their first steps, their first words, first foods…etc…I get to truly know them better then anyone else, they are my friends! They see me in the good times and the bad and I see them also.
Question 4: How do you find “me” time in your daily or weekly routine?
Elsa – My husband is really good about making sure I get out by myself, usually once a week. Otherwise, I make sure to do something I enjoy during naptime, instead of always doing housework.
Alex – I wake up an hour before the kiddos do to journal, have a bible study, and try my best to stay up after they go to bed so I can also spend time with the hubby
Lenae – Jonas has a late bedtime partly so I can have some time to myself in the morning. I also have a very supportive husband and friends who help with Jonas when I need some time to myself outside the house.
Kassi W. – I’m consistently able to find “me” time early in the morning before my husband and kids are awake and/or during nap time. Occasionally, I’m also able to carve out some time to myself later in the evening or on weekend days when my husband is home.
Angela B. – When my kids were home, I tried to use nap time for me time. I sometimes would nap with them. Other times I would watch a show that wasn’t appropriate to have on when they were awake. I tried really hard not to do chores while they napped because damn it-I earned some free time! Before my kids got involved in sports and other hobbies, I would go to dinner or shopping with my friends. Now, I usually have plenty of time during the day for myself. My evenings are eaten up by the kids’ activities, so I’m grateful for that!
Jackie M. –Finding “me time” has been one of the most difficult parts of being a SAHM. It took me awhile to learn how to give myself grace when it came to many parts of being a mother and housewife. Learning how to say “the dishes aren’t going anywhere”, or “the laundry can wait” in order to make time for myself was one of the biggest lessons. I am only one person and I can only do so much in a day. I also cannot be of any good to my family if I don’t take care of myself….we cannot pour from empty cups.
Kristi H. – My daughter is so busy and into everything right now that nap time and gym time is when I get “me” time. One of the best things I did for myself was to get a gym membership where there was childcare. Having an hour to two to myself to workout and catch an exercise class has made such a difference. I even use gym time sometimes to just sit and write a blog post or read in the lobby while she is in childcare haha… I feel like I can come back home and be a more patient mom and a more supportive spouse.
Dawn L. – I find “me” time by prioritizing a workout. I’m a marathon runner & feel best when I’ve got a run in. Even if it means pushing my younger son in the chariot while my older son bikes. There are often 100000 stops & snacks but I’ve always enjoyed sharing my passion for running with my boys. I usually swim after I get teaching class and like to get out to run or cross country ski on the weekends.
Whitney L. – As discussed above, I make sure to have alone time just about every night with Jason, and most often one night away a week. But during the day I take care of myself in smaller ways. I enjoy my coffee. I text a friend. I never once have skipped taking my daily shower (which I love). Baby will be just fine in their swing/jumper for five minutes while Mom gets ready for the day. Sometimes I may not be out of PJs and dressed until right before lunch, and that’s okay 🙂
Sarah S. – My husband is really great at giving me a break about once or twice a week. Sometimes, I just need about an hour to go grocery shopping alone, go out for coffee with a friend or even go pay a bill. Sometimes I just need to go up in my studio and create something, then I feel recharged and ready to go at it again. My husband is my best friend, so usually “me time” also includes him in it. So we make dating a top priority. We have a few awesome babysitters that we call on during the week and we’ll go walk around Lowe’s, go out to eat or go out to a gun shop….yep! We’re both into guns! Lol! When I go do makeup on the weekends that is also some me time I really enjoy! I love empowering women and making them feel beautiful inside and out! There is something magical that happens to them when they realize that they totally can wear makeup and not look like a drag queen or a clown. I love the reaction when I’m finished, I like to call it confidence paint! Because their whole personality changes! and I’m thankful for my husband “babysitting” the kids for me while I wave my makeup wand on the weekends!
Question 5: What do you use that time for? (i.e. self-care or doing a side job/hustle)
Elsa – For sure self-care. If I found a side job that I enjoyed, I would consider that self-care too.
Alex – Mostly self-care! Lord knows I need it!
Lenae – I use my morning time to get dressed in real clothes every day, as it makes me feel more like myself. I also practice self-care with the occasional hair cut, massage, or time with friends. I also some photography on the side as well. I regularly see a therapist. Jonas comes with me, but it is just for me and has been so instrumental in me feeling like myself after having Jonas.
Kassi W. – Most often, my daily “me” time is spent going for a run or working out. About 2-4 times a month, I’m able to get away for some pampering (mani/pedi, hair appointment, facial, massage) or meet up with friends for drinks/dinner.
Jackie M. – I use my “me time” for self-care and for doing my Plexus business. Both of these things bring me great joy and are vital for my wellbeing!
Kristi H. – Besides gym time, I use nap time to work on my passion project which is my blog, themedschoolwife.com. I also will use this time to go outside and play with our dog, garden, mow, or watch a Netflix show.
Question 6: How and when do you find time to reconnect with your spouse?
Elsa – My husband works a rotation job, 4 weeks on 4 weeks off, so we get a whole month to enjoy quality time. We make sure to go on a couple dates during his days off since his working days are so busy.
Alex – Every night we try to sit down and catch up with each other, cuddle watch a show or a movie when we need to talk about life decisions we use that time to do that as well
Lenae – We try to be intentional about our time together after Jonas goes to bed. We also try to make time for date nights when we can, usually a couple times a month.
Kassi W. – My husband and I really try to make a point to eat dinner alone together after the kids have gone to bed each night. We both really enjoy that time together to talk and eat without constant interruptions. It is my hope in the near future, as we come out of the new baby haze, to start planning and prioritizing monthly date nights and maybe even a getaway for just the two us.
Angela B. – We text during the day. Even if it’s little things like-“Is popcorn an acceptable breakfast item?”, it lets us know that we are thinking of each other. We also try to do a date night once or twice a month. Honestly, that isn’t being done right now, just because our kiddos are so busy and involved in so many things. When we have that one night at home, neither of us want to spend it out on the town. Because our kiddos are older, we can actually sit down and have conversations with each other every evening. We aren’t being interrupted every three seconds by a little one.
Jackie M. – My husband and I have very busy schedules, so time for us to connect can be difficult. We have definitely found the quality to be greater than quantity in our case. It’s another situation where we sometimes have to say that other things can wait and just have to make our marriage a priority. Sometimes it’s things as simple as watching some Dodger baseball after the kids go to bed (thank you time difference!), sometimes it’s date night, others it’s a simple walk or hike. Typically, we have our time in the evenings when the kids are in bed, or on the weekends.
Kristi H. – My husband and I cook dinner together almost every night. This allows us to chat as we cook. We tag team keeping our daughter out of trouble as we do so, but it works for us and helps us stay connected after a long day. After our daughter is asleep, we read and discuss our scriptures together, work on any project that needed to get done, and watch an episode of Madam Secretary or New Girl. I’d say though Sunday night is where we really reconnect. We hold what we call weekly planning where we go through what the coming week looks like, meal plan, and set goals. We end our weekly planning with what we call “companionship inventory.” It’s something we both learned and implemented with fellow missionaries while serving church service missions. First, we share something we noticed the other person did well that week or something we were appreciative of that they did. Second, we each give suggestions on areas we can work on and ask for specific things that will help the other person out. Each week as we have consistently expressed love for each other and then kindly given constructive feedback, it has created an open space where needs can be expressed and addressed with no fear of judgment.
Dawn L. – Time to reconnect with my husband has changed through our 13 years of marriage, we tend to choose family time over date nights. We make a point to get a sitter for special occasions but nights we are all home as a family can feel just as special. We honor each other’s passions. My husband is a surfer so when the waves are up, he knows I’ll make it work for him to go. When I’m training for a marathon, he knows I’m doing a long run on Saturday mornings. We support each other’s time away from home. He goes fishing every summer with his dad & brothers-in-law’s. I am currently visiting my grandma in Arizona with my sisters.
Whitney L. – Since we live about 2 hours away from all family, and money has often been tight in our marriage, date nights don’t happen often. This is why we are so strict about our time together every night. This past year we have splurged on a babysitter more than other years in order to go out alone, however, I’d say the daily time is far more important for our relationship.
Sarah S. – Since we have 3 children who all have the love language of quality time, it’s somewhat challenging to find time for each other as husband and wife. But we have been best friends since 2005 and we both love a challenge! We have learned to be more creative with our love life…(sex) defiantly! and it’s actually been super fun trying to figure everything out! We both know full well that this is just a season and it will be over in the blink of an eye…and then we might even miss it! Right now, we cherish every moment with each other and as I said before, we date one another. We get a babysitter, put it on the calendar and make it happen! FUN FACT: Me and Wes also have the love language of quality time! LOL! So time together is important to us and it’s not always about sex either, it’s super important to Wes that I try and pay attention when he’s talking and he loves having coffee together,watching movies and playing cribbage with me. I am thankful for this stage of life and it has been so fun so far (other then a severe accident my son had last summer, another story for another time).
Question 7: What is the most challenging thing you are going through in this season of life?
Elsa – Trying not to wish this stage away during the hard times.
Alex – The content businesses I feel while being at home but I’m not actually leaving home. It’s very surreal like I shouldn’t be busy since I am at home but I am indeed very busy dealing with all these kiddos. Also, needed to constantly remind myself how important my job is when old classmates of mine are graduating college and starting their careers. Very challenging not to feel behind in my career life.
Lenae – Postpartum anxiety hit me hard when Jonas was 4 months old. I have been struggling on and off with anxiety ever since. I am doing much better with medication and therapy, but it’s still hard sometimes.
Kassi W. – For me, the hardest part is that this season is non-stop. Most days, it feels as if there isn’t a moment to catch my breath or have a complete thought.
Angela B. – Doubting my mom decisions. Teens are tough. I’d take a newborn who sleeps for a total of 30 mins a night AND twin two-year-olds over teens. The problems are bigger. The attitudes are bigger. Their world is bigger. You have to give them room to grow and make mistakes, yet also set boundaries. It’s a struggle that I don’t think any parent will perfect. I also struggle with my self-value. Not bringing home a paycheck shouldn’t bother me, but sometimes it does. Finding a role other than MOM is tough. Some days I worry about it more than others. I just don’t want to look back 20 years from now and have regret with my decision to stay home. It’s funny because I’m the only one who seems to have a problem with me being at home and not “working”. I’ve always been my biggest critic.
Jackie M. – The most challenging thing I am facing in this season of life is learning to be less of a perfectionist. Prior to having kids, my house was always spotless, my laundry was always done, my dishes were always done, my eyebrows were always waxed, my hair and makeup were always done, my car was always clean….my list could go on! Nowadays, that is far from my reality, but I’m learning that my children bring me far more joy than a clean house ever could. I’m loved just as much with fluffy brows as I am perfectly groomed ones, and no one ever rides in my car besides my family anyways, so who really cares how much dust is in it, or how many fries are stuck under the seat?!
Dawn L. – The most challenging thing about this season of life is balancing everyone’s needs. I’m currently pregnant with baby number 3 (due in September). I’ve been pretty sick and needing to rest a lot. My older son has been asking for more “special time” with mom. My younger son has been extra picky about food. My husband has been working on a build for our sprinter van for an upcoming family trip to Oregon. Some days I’m feeling stretched pretty thin. I try to remind myself as well as my boys that I’m only one person & I’m doing the best I can.
Whitney L. – In five/going on six years of marriage, we have lived through a lot. We both were finishing up college when we got married. Right after I graduated, we were supposed to be closing on a house in Dollar Bay. However Jason lost his job, and we ended up moving to Marquette for work. We went through several years of stress with chronic illness, a nursing strike, too few hours (literally we went almost a year living on 24 hours of work per week), a premature baby and NICU stay, another baby with metopic craniosynostosis who underwent nine hour surgery to have it corrected, several very rough pregnancies for me, etc. The biggest challenge out of these were the health issues, but financial ones definitely did not help. All in all, the only way you can get through such things are to focus on the blessings you are given, and the joy you have because of them. There will always always be someone worse off, and it is always possible to find something to be thankful for. Focusing on the negative does not get you anywhere. As I’ve heard often, time is the greatest healer. Things do get better with time.
Sarah S. – The most challenging thing right now, is trying to teach our children to be kind. Plain and simple. It doesn’t come natural to them like some other kids. The boys fight a lot! But I know it’s normal for siblings to fight…that’s how they learn. I’m just trusting God as best as I can and taking it 1 second at a time.
Question 8: What advice would you give a mom who feels like she’s trying to juggle it all and can’t win?
Elsa – Make a list. Do what’s important to you now and what’s not important tomorrow. All that matters today is that your kids feel loved.
Alex – You can’t win when you are feeling the need to be perfect all the time. Trying to be perfect in every aspect of motherhood is a full-time exhausting job that you will fail at, there is no need to try to be perfect when most moms just want reassurance that you are human and can’t do it all and that’s ok.
Lenae – You’re not in this alone. You’re not just a mom – you’re still you. No one is doing it all, some people are just better at juggling different things than you. It is brave to ask for help and accept help.
Kassi W. – Ask for help. And, then, let people help you. When I have a really overwhelming few days/weeks, I ask my husband or mom to take the older two kids for a few hours/the day/overnight so I can have focused time to get stuff done or some time just to myself. Also, don’t be afraid to let some things go. If you’re overwhelmed, it’s okay to re-evaluate all of your commitments and responsibilities and unload those that are not absolutely necessary.
Angela B. – Take pride in the small stuff. Little victories are what kept me going. When you feel like it’s all going to sh*t, take a step back. Go for a walk. Take a shower. Blast your favorite music and dance with your kiddos. Change the mood/environment. Remember these three words – LET IT GO. Say them every day. Dishes didn’t get done, let it go. Your three year old watched two movies today, let it go. You made a frozen pizza and canned peaches for dinner, let it go. The temper tantrum in the aisles of Target drew the attention of the whole store, let it go. Holding on to the tough times only drags you down, and doesn’t allow you to focus on the here and now. Also, always remember, this season of motherhood will have its own challenges, but the rewards will outweigh those troubling times by millions. Nothing that is worth it, will ever be easy. You got this, Momma!
Jackie M. – The best advice I would give to a mom who feels like she is struggling to keep it all going is to give herself grace! Take one thing at a time, one day at a time. Take a deep breath and remember that you are only one person, and tomorrow is another day.
Kristi H. – I’d say to be kind to yourself. Take a step back and seriously look at what you’re trying to juggle. Is it worth it? Why? Can you say no to some of your commitments? Can you ask for help? What can you cut out or delegate so you’re not so stressed? Can you come back to it at a different season in life? If it’s important to you and you can’t cut it or delegate it, maybe consider hiring a babysitter or nanny. Something I’ve felt as a first-time mom is this need to be “more” and do “more”. Both as a mom and a woman. I should have a side hustle. I should always have my house clean. I should do more of this or that. But, I have had to remind myself, my daughter isn’t going to be little for much longer. So, for now, I think I will hold her a little longer and remember that doing less allows me to do more. More laughing together, more reading together, more memory making together, more time together. So for today, maybe choose less…not more.
Dawn L. – Advice for a mom would be to stop trying to juggle it all. You only have so much energy and time. Prioritization is the key. Each day I prioritize what is most important (sick kids, getting to the grocery store, a work deadline). Moving away from the “doing it all” mentality and realizing that you’re to-do list is never going to be complete has allowed me to be present & be more flexible with my day.
Whitney L. – I think this is a pretty common feeling as a mother, that you are juggling five balls and can only keep one in the air. This is a pretty frustrating feeling for me. I’ve had to learn that only the most important things will stay in the air. The others, you can tend to later. Focus on one thing at a time, and give yourself a little grace. No one else is judging you even half as hard as you are. They are too focused on the stain on their own shirt, or whatever. And if they are criticizing you, well then, they need to find something important in their own life.
Sarah S. – My advice I would give to a struggling mamma would completely depend on what type of mamma she actually is. If she’s a follower of Jesus Christ, I would tell her to embrace the struggle and remember that God is in it! He will help you…be still…He is teaching you and He loves you! Praise Him in the storm! Keep your eyes Heavenward and remember, we are here for a second! That’s it! Life is so so short! We don’t even realize it! I would tell her to find a good group of friends you trust to vent to! Vent to God first, but then every once in a while, you might need to vent to an actual person. lol! Read and know your Bible. Remember that your children are watching you! Be a living example for them. If you have a bad attitude, fix it! If you have a potty mouth (swearing), clean it up! Respect your husband in front of them so they see you! Pray, Pray, Pray…ALL DAY! I think it’s important to show children the difference between a relationship with God and religion. I talk to God all day long cause I need to…I need HIM! I have always felt like parenting puts the fear of God in you! Cause all of a sudden you have these other little human beings that are so completely dependent on you. It’s an honor…a scary, God-given honor. My advice for someone that doesn’t know Jesus: Remember that we all started out this way. I have said this to a few people that have said rude things or given me snobby looks. Why do we act like babies and kids are somehow not human? Our culture treats them as if they are aliens from another planet! HEAR ME AGAIN…WE ALL STARTED OUT THIS WAY! I can remember being 2 years old to this day! I remember stupid things I did when I was 4, 5, 6, 7 and so on! I am thankful that my mom was loving and understanding with me, but she was also firm and hardcore and we all needed that. Also, don’t be afraid or ashamed to lighten your load a bit. If you feel overwhelmed, simplify your life. Let some things go, quit your job, don’t sign your kids up for every single sport, ask for help, hire a house cleaner, don’t take on any new projects, let go of some stuff, adapt to the season you’re in right now. I personally think there is too much pressure on American women today. The average American woman is “supposed” to work full time, keep a neat and tidy home (always), do every single DIY project she sees on Pinterest, have a social life…dare I say it?…outside of social media, spend time with her children, cook dinners, work out and stay fit, volunteer for charity, plan the family schedule, handle the finances, please her husband both through sex and through his stomach, oh yeah, and the best part….look completely full glam and put together all the time! I might have forgotten something, but you get the picture. Meanwhile, the Husband/Father just has to go to work and come home and be there 🙂 Which is fine, don’t get me wrong, I am not man bashing at all! I’m just saying that I’ll be the first to admit that I am only human and I cannot do it all! During this stage of life, I have mastered the art of saying “No thanks, I have to walk my unicorn” and be ok with it, walking away feeling zero guilt! So ladies, don’t be afraid to eliminate activities and maybe even people from your life in a loving way.
Question 9: How do you think our society/communities can better support and help SAHM’s?
Elsa – Don’t put so many rules on how to be a mom and raise kids. Just give advice when asked. I parent my kids differently because they have different personalities and respond to things differently. If I did the same thing for both kids all the time, they wouldn’t respond to me as good. For example, my two year old responds better to physical praise, like hugs or high fives, and my one year old responds better to verbal praise.
Alex – Not making them feel like they are not marketable in the workplace when they are done being a SAHM, when they are probably the best woman for the job, put job is like 10 in 1 and we don’t get paid we do it because we feel called to be at home with our kids for the time being.
Lenae – I think society needs to be supportive of moms in general. We’re all just trying to do what’s best for our families. Staying at home is hard work. Going to work is hard too. I also think moms need to be more supportive of each other. Every one of us has struggles. I wish we all put more effort into supporting each other and all the mom decisions we make rather than comparing ourselves to others and judging each other.
Kassi W. – I think communities can really support sahm by providing established mom groups like MOPs that offer moms much-needed opportunities to socialize with one another while also giving and receiving encouragement.
Angela B. – Oh my gosh, can they lay off already? Stop pressuring us to go to work. Stop insinuating that staying home is “giving up on our dreams”. How about some financial support or some kind of tax rebate for parents who stay home and take care of their own children during the day? Or a paid maternity leave for those who have to work to support their family, but want to be home with their little ones? It’s time to realize the value that there is when moms (and dads) stay home with their young children is so important.
Jackie M. – I feel that our society/communities could better support SAHMs by offering them some sort of compensation for what we do. Whether people know it, or not, it’s a lot of work! Often times, moms are staying home because childcare is too expensive, and financially it makes more sense for them to stay home. To have some sort of compensation available for us would be so beneficial.
Kristi H. – I think this can come in two folds. 1. Realize that being a stay-at-home mom is actually really hard. They aren’t JUST moms. They are the main director of the most important work on earth. Raising the next generation. 2. Bring them back to the table. I read a post once of a woman who was watching a mother in a restaurant try and keep her busy toddler out of trouble at a celebration for a friend. This mother missed it all. She missed the cake. She probably ate part of her dinner. She was isolated. We need to reach out and bring mothers back to the table. Offer help. Recognize their needs and fill it. Even for 15 mins. Motherhood can be isolating. We can help change that for one mom at a time.
Dawn L. – I think our society can better help SAHMs by allowing more space for community. This was particularly important when my boys were younger. I started running with the Muffin Runners once a week when my older son shortly after I left my job at the hospital. Having time to spend with adults & those that embraced us with open arms was so helpful! That’s how I met one of my best friends (also a SAHM & runner) and now we run together regularly.
Whitney L.– Some of the most meaningful things people have ever done for me were pushing my cart out of the store for me while I chased a child, and another time when a lady tried to help me find my lost cell phone by calling it. Little things like this mean the world to a mother trying to get out of the house with her children. Also, the strangers who have kind comments, they are the best! Believe me, when a kid is throwing a tantrum in the store, no one wishes they weren’t more than Mom! In today’s day in age, there are fewer mothers staying home with their kids. You aren’t very likely to have a friend across the road to visit/call for help in an emergency. We are very lucky to have awesome next door neighbors who would be willing to help us in such a situation.
Sarah S. – I actually think our society/communities already goes above and beyond to help out stay at home mammas. Things seem to be easier now than they’ve ever been! They have nursing rooms in most shopping malls and stores nowadays to breastfeed, they have a free grocery pick up service at WalMart and if you do need to actually go in a store, they have cup holders built right on the shopping cart so you can enjoy your morning cup of joe while doing your mom thing. Also, I have traveled with my kids many times and people are usually always so sweet and understanding. I guess the one thing that sticks out to me is when I was pregnant all 3 times, I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum and I could not have survived without my mom. I had to move in with her every time and it really got me thinking that there should be some kind of ministry or outreach for that when women struggle with HG, cause what would I have done without my mom? Other than that though, I really can’t think of anything that has gotten worse, I only see things as getting better and more family friendly. I think we can all get so caught up in negativity so easily, but as for me, I refuse to live my life acting like the world owes me a living. It’s not all about me and I have truly gotten over myself. I am in the waiting room, waiting to go Home (Heaven). I am here for 2 reasons: To love God and to love others (even if it’s tough love). In that, my mission is to raise my children as best as I can and be there for my husband in every way and I can only do this through the power of The Holy Spirit. I fail often, but the blood of Jesus Christ covers me and through His grace, I pick myself up, dust myself off and try again. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I don’t, but my heart is always seeking how to love others and to learn. I am thankful to worship Almighty God who never stops loving me and teaching me.