SAHM or 9-5er... Both suck.

Lately I have been worn out, stressed out, confused and overwhelmed, not too much unlike my first few weeks of being a mom.  FTD has gone to work full-time leaving me to be a proper Stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). Never in my life did I think I would say that. Of course I used to dream of being the SAHM who has heaps of money, drives around in a Land Rover, rocking a huge diamond  and spending my days lunching and shopping while my baby was in daycare. That was my idea of the perfect SAHM. My friends, I am not that SAHM.

I love so much being home with Ollie.  I love being around for everyone of his milestones, and always knowing where he is and how he is doing.  However, I am just not sure I am really cut out to be a good SAHM.  I get so frustrated when he won't stop fussing. I am sick of peeling his death grip off of the things he should not be touching.  I hate picking him up and turning him around every few feet because we live in such a small place.  He needs more space and stimulation.

I don't have a clue how to properly stimulate my baby. I feel like I am wasting both of our lives.  Well, I mean I should be at a proper job making enough money to provide all of the material things my son needs. Ollie should be in a day care with professionals that can teach him colors and numbers. Some days I feel like I am in WAY over my head.

All that being said, I feel an actual pain in my heart thinking about going back to work and being away from my son.  The flip side to being a SAHM is being a 8-5 working mom. Which really means, out the door to drop Ollie off at daycare by 7:30am and home from work and picking Ollie up by 6:30pm. With Oliver's current routine, that leaves me with an hour tops to play with my baby before he eats and goes to sleep.  That is just not enough time to spend with my son everyday. I feel for the moms and dads currently living on that schedule.

Where is the happy medium? I know I not only need to get back to work ASAP, I will do it sooner or later regardless of my SAHM mom feelings.  I just wish I could stop being so selfish and learn to fully appreciate every minute I have being home with my little guy.  Unfortunately, it's hard for me to fully appreciate the constant go-go-go of chasing a crawling baby. Or when I finally get Oliver to take a nap it only lasts 30-minutes, I can barely eat lunch and look for jobs.  I find myself chasing and doing my best to keep up with Oliver all day, then looking for jobs, sending Queries and writing my blog at night. I hate it! Why can't I get more done in a day?  Why is my son consuming every free minute?  How in the hell do SAHMs do it and not loose their minds?  I've fully lost the plot!

I am a proper SAHM, and have NO time for myself, and I am not sure how.  For all of those people out there (Working Moms/Dads) who think SAHM/Ds have it easy, you are so far off!  I'll tell you why the house is not clean, dinner is not made and the laundry is not washed and folded, because there is absolutely no freaking time.  And if for some reason your house is clean, dinner is made, and your shirts are pressed, kiss your woman/man because she/he is a super hero with patience that should be studied!

I wish I could be better at being a SAHM. I wish I could structure our days to make for increased learning, fun time and even some ME time. But I'll tell you right now, that shit is not going to happen, because Oliver is growing and developing so quickly his need change daily. I don't know if being a SAHM just gets easier on it's own or not.  I have a SAHM girlfriend of 4 who tells me her favorite color is 'school bus yellow.'  I get it, Cat, I totally get it.

If you had your choice, would you be a SAHM or would you run like hell to your 9-5 not looking back?

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Anonymous said...

I totally relate to this. I am beyond overwhelmed lately, and second guessing everything :( Hope things look up for you soon!!

Kate @ Daffodils said...

O girl, I feel you! My best compromise was when Cullen was a baby, I was a preschool teacher, so he went to school for 3 hours, while I taught for 3 hours, and then we got the rest of the day together. It was prefect! But then after we moved, and Bennett was born, I was a SAHM full time for the first time and seriously struggled with it. Now, C is in preschool 3 days a week and I send B to our local child development center two hours, twice a week (check out mother's morning out programs in your area, CDCs are military specific. Cullen was in a MMO program in NC). It is good for momma and baby to spend a little time apart. Good luck sorting it out!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Yeah, I find it exhausting to be a SAHM too! Luckily my Hubbs takes two shifts during the day/evening to spell me off so that I can shower, cook, and do chores! Sometimes I even get a chance to check my blogs ;)

Just today we stumbled across some info about a preschool in our area that takes babies as young as 12 months. It's for 8 hours/day, anywhere from 2-5 days/week, and it's sort of like a daycare but with an intentional focus on educating the kids using thematic units.

We are toying with the idea of sending Baby L to "school" 2 days/week so that I can get back into the classroom. I miss teaching and though I'm super excited to teach Baby L and go on field trips with her, having someone else challenge her and having her in a "class" with other babies her age is very appealing too. We are set to tour the "school" in a few weeks' time and will see how I feel about it after I've scrutinized it more closely. :D

Unknown said...

LMAO! Oh my how I know this issue. My solution with Kaely at the time (7 1/2 years ago) was to quit my full-time- travel-required-job and work part time at Starbucks. Pay sucked, but it got me out of the house, gave me money and health insurance, and eventually I worked my way back into a full-time career. But I was also single too, and didn't have to worry about spending time with anyone else either.

Now? It's almost impossible to consider paying for childcare for two children unless I was making really good money- without that- it's just not worth paying someone else to raise my child. I plan on returning to school in January, and sadly, the school grants/scholarship stuff should help provide a little extra money, and hopefully some "Mommy" stimulation and a high paying job down the road.

For stimulating Ollie? When we were in the apartment with Kaely, I lived outside, and constantly went places like parks, theme parks (okay, you know how it is here in FL- inexpensive annual passes to SeaWorld and such), and attempted playdates. None of it's easy though- so don't beat yourself up over there! I, too, want the happy medium between SAHM & 9-5.

foodpixie said...

My comment was so long I made it a blog post. Basically, I'm sure you are doing great, better than you think. Being at home with you is best.


FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Thank you. The sun came out today, the first day in 4, we went for a walk and that in itself made today better. I hope the same for you. Xx

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

In calling a mommys day out place that came highly reccomended. Thank you. Xx

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I couldn't agree more. I want Ollie to play with other babies and be more structured.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

We do try to get out as much as possible. It's the balance I'm struggling with.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I had no idea you were writing a new blog!

Unknown said...

Oh honey, I totally feel you on this one! I always feel like I'm not stimulating Isaiah enough, and it's even worse considering I'm a teacher (hubby always jokes he should be speaking 3 languages and writing poetry by the time he starts school) and I 'should' know what to do. But with the attention span of a chocolate fish, all books can be read, toys can be played with, songs can be sung and games can be played within a 30minute time span. Argh!

I'm a SAHM, pottering away with small jobs here and there. I do love it though, even if it can be challenging! I think my biggest tip for getting through it would be pick a job a day, and ignore any criticism (be it from hubby, friends or yourself!). For me, Monday is housework. Tuesday is groceries. Wednesday and Thursday are for the laundry. Friday is for errands. Bubba has so many docking stations around the place that I put him in, otherwise I multitask or run around frantically while he's sleeping. With some jobs he 'helps', like chewing on a toy in the supermarket trolley, or chomping on a colourful tee-shirt while I fold the washing. For others, it takes me an entire day to get through the one job on my 'to do' list.
Then again, Isaiah is still fairly immobile, I imagine it'll be a whole new kettle of fish when he's on the move!!

It is hard, I dunno how you swing it with writing your awesome blogs, AND job hunting thrown in the mix.
As for a happy medium... part time work? I dunno, I don't envy your position at all! (sorry, that's not much help is it!)

Things That Happen Everyday said...

Oh man do I feel your pain. When my oldest boy was born I stood home with him for 2 years. At first the thought of be a SAHM seemed like wonderful idea. I had plans of making his own food, playing with him for hours and finally being a mom. I also thought about the fancy car and endless amount of money but reality is we were broke and every dollar counts. For the first 7 months of my sons life I had no idea what time of day it was. He was a very fussy baby and slept on and off 24hrs a day. When I wasn't trying to sleep with him I was trying to catch up on other house things. It just seemed like I never had time for anything or enough time for him. Of course the mommy guilt kicks in, like I need to take him outside more, I need to read to him more and other things that we as moms drive ourselves crazy. I can tell you from experience now that I have two boys and am a working mom I kind of enjoy it. I have a routine. My job is my quiet time. No one is yelling or saying mom 100 times in a minute. I come to work do my job in peace. When I get home than I'm a mommy and I deal with all the mommy things. I do miss my kids a lot all the time. I cry sometimes at night beacause I'm not there and I know I've missed so many things in their life because I was working but I feel I'm a better mom when I'm at work. It feels that my life has a balance. When I do stay home for a long weekend I feel everything is out of control and secretly I can't wait to get back to work.

Don't feel bad when you do go back to work. Overtime you'll feel better about being a mom and a woman. We need time just for ourselves and weird as it seems my time is when I'm at work.

Claire said...

I haven't worked now for 4yrs and by the time amber goes to school it will be 8years. i'm now at the point of worrying about returning to work. i'm lucky to have the choice so many women don't have it. i know my situation is ddifferent being a military wife. but as hubby hasn't managed to stay at home for longer than 8months since we had Sam i take it upon myself to be there one constant. dad might disappear alot, there house, friends,school and surroundings might change every few years but i will always be there. with school runs, hubbys shifts and deployments i don't think any employer would have me,lol!

Katie said...

Im so thankful to be a stay at home mom. I do work about 10 days a month, but I work from home. lol. Luckily I have great parents and inlaws that are always willing to take William when I'm working, or when I need a break! While some days are tough, and long, and I have no adult interaction, I still am so happy that I have the chance, and that we can afford (barely) for me to do so.

In terms of stimulating him, yeah I agree that can be tough. Especially with William, where he really can only be awake for 2-2.5 hrs at a time or else he is so much tougher to get down. So by the time he eats, diaper changes, and go out, we have to turn around and come back. But even just going outside for walks, or to the park is stimulating (and breaks up the day!)

Its a tough job, but someone has to do it! You're doing great mama!

I also really like Shay's idea of doing one job each day. I think I will have to implement that, as currently I do nothing around the house all day (except make dinner), until I can't stand it anymore - call my MIL over, and clean like crazy! Although to be fair, William barely lets me even get dressed in the morning. I have about 4 minutes before he needs me again! Lol

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I LOVE the idea of doing a 'job' everyday. It will almost give me something to look forward to and create structure. Thanks Shay, you actually were a big help!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I completely get the work is 'me' time. I miss it. I miss using my brain and feeling like I am making a great contribution somewhere.

Unknown said...

Oh well yay! You're very welcome. We just added swimming lessons on Tuesdays too, forgot to put them in (another job, and one that stimulates bubba, hurray!)

AlissA said...

This is my third attempt to respond! Stupid phone keeps deleting my posts. I feel for you. I cried and cried the weekend before I went back to work. But I love the routine and feeling like an adult again. And not to mention James loves daycare.. The kids play with him and teach him so many things. He almost seems bored when he gets home with us. Ideally I would like to have a part time job... But until then we utilize every moment we have with him. Lots of snuggles and play time on the weekends. But no matter what we all say you need to do what is right for you.. It's hard but remember that Ollie knows you are his mom no matter what and he loves you and FTD whether you can be there with him all day or only for a few hours. I feel for you.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I think you have a very important job. Being the 'constant' your family's lifestyle requires that. It's hard finding peace in Eire situation. However when you break it down to what's best for your child... Right now I think we are both exactly where we need to be.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

I think if I had something like you 10 days a week mixed with a couple of "mommys day out" sessions a week, I would be living the dream. Ollie needs friends and so do I, we need to find that balance.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Sorry, it's Bloggers changes not your phone so much... I want to cry thinking about leaving Ollie... Damned if I do... But I know you are absolutely right about everything. One day I will have to let go. Better to start preparing now. And trying to embrace the time I have with him too. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I have been a SAHM for a year now and, while it does get easier in some respects, it is still very hard. The one thing that I have done that truly helps with my days is to plan one activity with my daughter. We either go to the park, zoo, science center, walk around the block, discover what is in the kitchen cabinets, "fill" the bathtub with noodles and let her play in it, hide items in jello and have her "dig" them out, play a silly sing-song game, read all the books we own... any activity. Just one. But put all your energy in to that time with your son. You are where you are meant to be right now. There is a reason you are home with him. It's so hard to slow down and focus on our children when we feel that there are other things that we should/could/want to be doing. As Americans, we have a go-go-go mentality. I have learned to embrace the quiet moments with my daughter and, instead of rushing around trying to "get things done", I watch her. We think that it's our job to teach our children... in the past year, my daughter has taught me far more than I have her.
As for my house... yes, it is a mess. But it's a happy, messy house.

Layes Landing said...

April you ARE making a great contribution!!!

Layes Landing said...

April you ARE making a great contribution!!!

Layes Landing said...

Wasting both your lives? What a sad thought! That just cant be true! He does learn from you I am sure.

I have no idea if SAHM or daycare is best for baby but being with him is best for me. But I am sooooo tired too! He still wont sleep and has some really fussy days where he wont play on his own. I have no family around to help me. I am lucky that I can work weekends so hubby can stay home with him.

Layes Landing said...

Things I do to stimulate my baby: (besides read books and play)

Checked out books from the library about sign language and we practice that (he does not sign, but seems interested in me signing to him)

Search any song (not children songs) on you tube with lyrics, and sing along. He quickly tells me if he likes that song or not! He especially loves these indonesian kids named Audrey and Gamaliel. No matter how bad his mood is, they get him happy with their singing! I sing along too. Which may explain why he flipped his lid with excitement when we went to the chinese restaurant and these two cute young waiters both said hi to him.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but. I am struggling with some of the same feelings right now. I am wondering what you did to feel better. I love being able to stay home with my baby who is truly the joy of my
Life but I am exhausted. I feel guilty about not getting more done around the day. My sweet girl is 6 months old and is really attached to me. She had been sleeping through the night great but now she is waking up every hour to cuddle. I worry that I have made her too dependent on me. Would she be better served if I went back to work.? But then I can't imagine being without her all day. So my question is do you feel more a peace with staying at home now?

April McCormick said...

First, I am so sorry for the delay in replying to you.

Second, honestly I have worn out days.... LOTS of worn out days. six months is rough. And you may be dealing with some teething issues if the sleep is drastically changing. hopefully all will be back to normal soon.

Yes I feel very much at peace with being home, because I will NEVER get these days back. SO much happens from 0-2, I don't want to miss a minute.

Thank you for this comment, because I will write an entire post addressing these issues, and some not so text book tricks I do to make it all seem normal, and work, even the house work!

Look for that next week... maybe even Monday!!

best wishes and please do not hesitate to email me at firsttimemomanddad@gmail.com I would be more than happy to talk this through with you!!


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say thank you, and I really enjoyed the post. Things are much better here. It is amazing how bleak things seem when you are sleep deprived. :)