Staying Home is Hard

Some of you may know that about 3 months ago, I quit my full-time job to stay home, take care of the family, and hold down the fort. Please enjoy these recent photos of things around here while I rant.

Staying home is hard.

Not because I miss work. Not because I feel lonely or out of the loop. I’m not finding any sort of difficulty in being overwhelmed by the day-to-day tasks. My house isn’t in chaos. I have schedules and routines. I clean the washrooms on Thursdays. I mop the floors on Wednesdays. Laundry happens everyday. Most days I get a little baking in and I always have a nice square meal on the table at 5:45pm when Chris gets home.

The hard part is in all the little grey areas. They nag and annoy like a sort-of scratchy tag in the side of a new shirt that isn’t quite scratchy enough to go get the scissors and cut out right now. Is this how it’s supposed to be? Is this the right way to be a mom/wife/home-maker/house-keeper? Unlike being at work, there’s no boss to tell you “good job.” There aren’t any co-workers to measure yourself against. You just have to know. Or fake it really really well.

Am I doing enough? Well, I could physically do more. I could get up yet another 30 minutes earlier and get one more household task done. Does that mean I should?

 Or am I doing too much cleaning and organizing? All these people with their messy houses and their “just toss the mess out of the frame of the photo” attitude, are they on to something? Should I be ignoring all the little messes and be focussing more on big, noticeable renovation style tasks? What will they think if I do? What will they think if I don’t? I have a streamlined system for getting lunches packed easily and on time, but that’s not something that’s particularly noticeable when you walk through my front door.

And what about this saying that goes “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Is that what I should be tackling? Should I just be really really happy, all the time? Should I have a messy, chaotic house and unfinished projects, and unstarted projects but just be really super relaxed about it? How relaxed is too relaxed? After all, I know it well that a big part of the goodness that comes from my being home comes from my just being there. And Kennedy knowing that I’ll be there. With snacks and help with homework and time on my hands to sit and do nothing after school for a while.

I guess what I’m saying is, I can tell, just from the shear amount of thought that I put into this new job of mine, that I love it, and it’s something I care deeply about, but staying home is hard!

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Comments

  1. says

    I can relate! I stayed home off and on with my 4 and now I am a stay at home wife full time with no kids! At first I was hard on myself, trying to do too much. But then I decided that some things were just not that important. I realized that I am just one person and that some days I deserved to relax. When you are the one who stays at home, eventually you end up with all the chores and you can feel resentful of that. So point out to your hubby what you do, expect gratitude, don’t apolgize for your time, and you will find a happy medium. I do what I feel like doing that day, keeping in mind what needs to be done. Keep lists in a notebook and check things off and then you can feel proud and look back on what you have accomplished! And there’s a reason that Shabby Chic is in style. Other women like us decided that nothing needs to be perfect, that things can be a little shabby and still be beautiful! xx

  2. says

    I put my notice in this semester as well. After teaching for five years I am done with my own kids being neglected while 27 3rd graders get the best of me. Taking a year off to reflect and think about what I want to do and how to find balance.
    Worried though that I will take that energy and begin to go even more overboard on organizing around here….
    I like Karen’s idea about the notebook. Great way to look back and see your own accomplishments : o)

  3. says

    Staying home is hard, and your routine is commendable. I don’t have one and there is a lot neglected. I hated my job so not going to work is not a routine that I miss. I miss the social interaction. And yes, not getting the affirmation we need to sometimes keep us going is missed. I hope you are able to find that purpose in your blogging. This has been helpful for me to find purpose when being mom, wife & homekeeper is not enough.

  4. says

    I will probably never get to know how hard staying at home is. I have never gotten to be a stay at home mom. I’m sure I would eventually find myself bored to tears but the thought of having a pristine house and plenty of time to make it pristine and then relax too is very tempting. I say don’t worry about what people think of your blog and what you spend your time doing or not doing. I say just make sure your famliy is happy and that they know you love them. Take your extra time and make things extra special for them. Fix their favorite meals. Do the little extra specials stuff and maybe just for sanity sake, take an online class, or even better, take a course at a community college to get some time away from home and have some outside connections. Most classes don’t cost much. You would only be away from home for a few hours a week and you could learn a new skill to boot. Just a thought. You could also start a stay at home mom club. You and the ladies in your area could get together once a week for a luncheon and share home making ideas, play games, and do book or movie reviews. I am only mentioning all these things because I think you are finding yourself bored with staying home ALL the time. It’s not that you don’t have enough to do, it’s that you don’t have anything really enjoyable to do. So get away from home some and enjoy YOU time.

  5. says

    I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and neither are easy. Sounds like you need have a little itch to be doing something more though. How about some volunteer work at the school? Joining a gym or yoga class? Sheila (above) gave some great ideas too.

  6. says

    You’re right, staying home is hard, but don’t make it harder on yourself by second guessing everything you do. Also, don’t compare yourselves to others. I stayed home with my girls until they were in 1st and 2nd grade(a year apart), then I got a part time job and was able to work while they were in school. Being home with your kids while they are young is really important and totally worth giving up the income. I had a really difficult time staying home because I had no time to myself and finally realized that being with other people energize one person while it drains another person. I was the latter and needed alone time to re-energize. I finally hired a mother’s helper and that helped a lot. Just because you stay at home doesn’t mean you have to do everything! Parenting for me seemed to go on forever, and then one day…it was over quickly when my girls graduated from high school. Try to enjoy this time any way you can!

  7. says

    Oh, I soooooo understand every single word of this Courtenay! It is such a crazy role and so hard to put into words and yet you did so beautifully. The highs and lows…the moments you think “this is a piece of cake” and the others when you think “will they find me if I go hide in the closet”. LOL! And the danger is that since we don’t have a “boss” to tell us how we are doing, we just look around at all of our other “co-workers” and compare ourselves to them to get a gauge. I think we just need to constantly remind ourselves why we made the choice to be in this role for this time in our lives and buckle up for the roller coaster ride that it is, knowing that we are all on that ride together! :-)
    Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts from your heart with us at Inspiration Friday this week!
    Vanessa

  8. says

    I love this post, as well as all the thoughtful comments that go with it. You ask so many questions that I haven’t figured out the answers to, but I’m always glad just to read that I’m not in it alone.

  9. says

    The lack of coworkers and feedback are some of the hardest parts! (other than the kid-drama). I stay home with 3 under 5, but we live near my family and have a ton of help. I think without it I would have made different decisions. My sister in law is feeling guilty for sending her daughter to preschool when she is home and doesn’t “have” to. We are all so har don ourselves, I think it’s better to fall into the more lax/less worried category that the guilty/worries camp.

    Jessica
    stayathomeista.com

  10. says

    Staying home is hard, but it sounds to me like you are doing a wonderful job. I am blessed to stay home with my two little girls, but I also have a part-time job from home. My days are busy and hectic and my house is never as clean as I would like it and projects always seem to take too long to finish… I get overwhelmed sometimes, but I try to remind myself that the most important thing is I’m home with my sweet little girls and I wouldn’t miss that for the world. Enjoy your time home and don’t worry about the little things. As long as you and your family are happy, that is what matters!

  11. says

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I can so relate. I have for the most part been a stay at home manager. I have the same issues/questions that you do. I feel that because I get to stay home I should be able to manage a Martha Stewart home. I love all the domestic diva stuff but even for those of us who have the stay home dream job, balancing it can become a challenge. A co worker or two would be nice at times but I like being my own boss. =0)Visiting from the Shabby nest.

  12. Anonymous says

    I am a first time visitor to your blog. Now I have read all the comments of other young women like yourself.

    It saddens me to see women need to be stimulated and complimented and appreciated so much in your generation and those that will follow you.

    Might I as an older woman suggest you all get the beginning series of THE WALTONS and watch one a day and reflect on what you see this family doing. First it is during the ‘bad depression’ of the ’30′s and food, shelter and clothing was the most important thing for the father and for the mother was to be the wife, mother and homemaker.

    I use the word homemaker as too many young women I see think of themselves first, last, and always.

    Selfishness never made a house a home…a mother was there for her family day, night, and always. She had time to nuture the children, laugh with them, take them for walks, play games, cook with them and keep them clean, well-mannered, civil, and polite to their parents and all who came to their home.

    Dad was dad and mom was mom and neither thought of wanting to be in the others shoes as each knew the other was doing their God given job and it made for a loving and happy family and homelife.

    This is what you will see if you watch the Waltons. Children and parents and yes, grandparents all lived in the same home and NO ONE was a burden to the other. They worked as a family and for the family and all were happy to go home to their family. This is the missing ingredient….our society has lost respect for marriage, home and family and disregard for their elders.

    Do as they did and you will not be finding it hard to be home….you will begin to count your blessings that you are home. Love one another and be happy with one another.

    I didnot mean to make this so long but there is a missing ingredient in too many homes today and it begins with the mother and father; then the children will honour them.

    No one ever said that marriage and family would be easy but forget all the worry of schedules…first realize how very fortunate you are and then I am sure you, and the other young ladies will find the right answers for a HOME THAT IS PLEASING TO ALL.

    Joyfully,
    ~Sylvia Faye

  13. says

    Oh I can perfectly relate to everything you write in this post! I used to be a stay-at-home-mom too and it was really hard from time to time. I loved being at home with the kids but it could be very difficult from time to time, knowing whether I did everything right or not.

    However, I’m sure you’re doing a perfect job at home :) And I love your blog by the way, will definitely come back soon.

  14. says

    Just relax and have fun! You’re over thinking, take some time to reflect, look around and know that all is good! Prayer is a great way road to contentment, include it in your daily routine. Do what makes you happy…

  15. says

    Amen sista’. For me the hardest part probably comes from the no recognition factor. I know, I admit it, I like positive feedback and when I don’t get it, sometimes I feel unwanted or not good enough. It’s different as a SAHM though. You’ve got a God-purpose which is so much greater. I’m so glad you get to stay home with your kiddos. I love it too…but yeah, it IS hard. I’d love to have you link this up to Titus 2 Tuesday on Cornerstone Confessions.

    Hopping over from A Bowl Full of Lemons.

    Kathy

  16. Gina says

    Our generation has many choices. Sometimes we see the grass greener on the other side. Working while raising your kids will bring a host of new challenges. You must find a playgroup and meet with other moms. You will bond in the most special way as you are all experiencing this wonderful gift together. i am still like a sister to my moms club friends ten years later. We still compare notes on stages our kids are in and are there for each other, even if it’s just a phone call. Many have returned to work because of financial constraints, but they were my lifeline when I needed it. You are doing the most important job in life. Churches and cities have moms clubs. Check out MOMSClub.org.

  17. says

    Great post. I just resigned from my full time job in March. I have always worked, I always enjoyed working except for the last year or so. Some days I feel like a maid, some days the “perfect Mom” and then some days I think about my old job..and how everyone asked for my input, and listen to it. I have always heard being a SAHM was the hardest job..sometimes it is and other days I think how blessed and lucky I am to have the option. For now I am just trying to “grow” into my new role.

  18. says

    Congratulations on choosing to stay home and make your family and home your “career.” It’s the best job in the world and the highest calling a woman can have.

    Let me just encourage you to keep priorities in place. God first, then family, then home, then yourself. Staying at home is not about making yourself happy and filling your day with things YOU want to do. It’s about being there for your family and serving them. Focus your energy on your husband and children and take care of their needs first and foremost. Then if you have time to fit in some projects around the house go for it. But never let that get in the way of quality time spent taking care of your family.

    I’ve been a SAHM now for 4.5 years and I’ve had my ups and downs with this, and from my experience the times I feel the most content, happy, and satisfied are when I keep God and family first. And that’s when my children feel the most loved and have the best behavior. It’s not about me and what I’ve done. It’s about what I can do for them, whether they recognize it or not. Sure, it’s nice to have gratitude shown and our efforts praised, but we shouldn’t base our self worth on that or we’ll be severely disappointed. Self worth and affirmation should come from God. Humans will always disappoint us at some point, but God never fails. Look to Him for affirmation, focus on serving your family, and work your blog/projects in around that. That’s where you’ll find fulfillment and your family will feel loved and fulfilled as well.

  19. Anonymous says

    I stay home as well, and i remember missing the pat on the back from my job for a job well done. I still struggle with thinking i always have to be doing and/or working on something….but you know, what we don’t! (we have to save somethings for tomorrow:0) Spend quiet time with the Lord, enjoy just being home, walking around outside your yard, and inside, thanking the good Lord for what he has given you, and when needed sneak in that power nap! Enjoy your new job! Rachel raekb56@hotmail.com

  20. says

    I appreciate your honesty, candor, and “realness” in this post. (love the pictures, too). It takes a lot to put yourself “out there” sometimes, but I appreciate your post. Thanks for sharing with us @ Toot Your Horn Tuesday as I believe it could be helpful for others.

    Erin

  21. says

    I am 57 yrs old and have been married for 31 years. There has not been a day go by that I have not cried inside to stay at home. When the children were little, I begged and begged my husband to find a way.

    My children are in their 30′s now, however, I still beg to be a stay-at-home wife.

    I have been an accountant for a developer for 26 years. I do my job on auto-pilot. My income would be a big loss if I retired.

    We are completely supporting my oldest son who has panic attacks and cannot work. He lives with us and never goes anywhere. We are helping my youngest son and his wife pay part of the mortgage on our previous home that they are living in now.

    So, I cannot imagine being a stay-at-home mom. I will tell you this, however. What you are doing is more important than anything!!

    Sometimes, I was able to take a vacation day and you should see my children’s faces when they came home from school. There is no way to compare a boss’ pat on the back to a child’s happiness.

    Have lunch with your ex-coworkers sometime. You definitely need a break.

    It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job, however I think you need time for things you enjoy.

    Housework is never done. You can always look around and see something that needs to be done.

    I have many drafts on my blog called “The Perils of Working Outside of the Home.” They are just drafts and I have been too tired lately to work on my bog.

    Again, what you are doing is so important. Treat yourself, however.

    Hugs, Jan

  22. says

    I have so many thoughts right now–things I want to say to you. I just asked God to give me words. Here are some of His: “Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts. We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders…” (The Message)
    Also, maybe consider homeschooling in the future. I think a lot of people see that as drudgery that just adds work to a schedule, but I much prefer it to having to get up early, pack lunches, and basically live by a certain school’s clock. It’s so…freeing. There are no permission forms, no constant field trip fees, waiting in the pick-up line thinking “I could be doing like 100 different things right now besides idling in my van”–whatever, just something to consider.
    And…I also want to say that The Waltons was not a reality TV show. Like, those were actors. With sets, and directors, and editing, and paychecks. You know that, right? That’s not like this big secret, right?
    Right?

  23. Anonymous says

    Hi! First time to your blog…wow. You raise a valid point. I do, however, totally agree with Anonymous Sylvia. I was a SAHM, 3boys….your pat on the back will come when your contempories tell you what great kids you have and when you are able to realize that you’ve helped raise three wonderful young men! (all in their 20′s). Hang in there, it only gets more rewarding!

    Donnamae

  24. Mary says

    I was laid off two weeks ago. I had a wonderful idea of everything I could get done that I had been ignoring because I was so busy working. Now I am paralyzed because I am overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. I am just doing the basic housework I always did, just quicker. I am going to start in my closet now, I was just taking a short break when I read this, lol!
    Mary

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