It’s crazy to believe, but I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for two months now. In some ways, it feels like the time has just flown by. In a lot of other ways, I can’t believe it has only been two months. Most jobs will have a review within the first 90 days to make sure the employee and employer are a good fit for each other, so I thought it might be appropriate to have my own review.
I got off to a little bit of a rough start. I think the problem was that I was a little unclear about the job description. What does a stay-at-home-mom do? I found myself torn between varying priorities. Since Nick started work the day after we moved, I felt like it was my responsibility to get the house unpacked. I also felt overwhelmed by all of the boxes, so it felt urgent to get things organized. At the same time, Milo was cutting his first teeth. He was extremely snuggly during this process, which made “getting things done” very difficult. And frustrating. At the end of the day, I felt like I had accomplished nothing. All I did was hold Milo all day. But that was the “mom” part of the job, it just felt so foreign.
Once I got a handle on what I should be doing (taking care of my son first, house second) things started to run a little smoother. Milo and I would take time for a walk every morning, we’d play together in the living room, and then as he napped I would do my house work. The next challenge was the voice inside my head: the one telling me to earn my keep.
It was a phrase I would use with some of my Starbucks employees. If a person felt too entitled to their job and didn’t do much while at work, I would tell them to earn their keep. I didn’t need to keep them around, so if they didn’t want to participate in the work they wouldn’t have a job. I began to fear that I wasn’t earning my keep. I was focusing so much on Milo, but that’s a job that doesn’t really have tangible results. Nick wouldn’t come home from work and see how I was helping Milo cope with teething or develop new skills. I began fearing that Nick wouldn’t see the value in my job; that he wouldn’t think I was earning my keep.
I had to come to terms with the fact that the job of stay-at-home-mom is unlike any other job. The boss, my child, can be very demanding and his expectations can vary day to day. Which means my expectations have to vary day to day. Flexibility is the key to being a stay-at-home-mom and it’s something I will always have to keep practicing.
But l love getting to spend the days with Milo. Watching him learn and explore is the most fun and fascinating experience. We have our routines, like our morning walks, but we also have a lot of diversity in the day. One day I’m baking all day, another I’m cleaning, or we’re out shopping. No two days are ever the same, which I really enjoy.
So while this job has its challenges and at times I feel like I’m not cut out for the work, I believe what I’m doing is valuable and like any other job there is a learning curve. We’ll see what the next 60 days brings.