I always dreamed of having four kids and being able to stay at home with them. When that dream came true I was pretty sure I was gonna rock the whole stay at home mom thing. But in reality, most days ended with me feeling disappointed at how little I accomplished in a day.
I was always behind on laundry, my house was never clean, bills were piled up, papers never got filed, beds never got made. I didn’t clip coupons; I didn’t cook from scratch. I rarely visited my son’s preschool parties and didn’t volunteer for anything at his school. I didn’t practice “self-care,” I never read novels, heck, I couldn’t even get through the parenting books that were supposed to tell me how to do this mom thing better.
I was disheartened at the end of each day. I mean, I’m here all day, why can’t I get these things done? I was convinced I was a failure-a failure as a mom, as a housekeeper, as a cook, as a volunteer. Plus, I wasn’t even contributing financially. It all seemed like proof that I was absolutely not rocking the stay at home mom thing.
It wasn’t till a few years later that I realized I was dead wrong. I wasn’t a failure. I was just trying to do too much.
I was talking to a friend who is a teacher in a daycare and you know what she does at her job? She takes care of of multiple kids. Kind of just exactly like I did when I was home with my kids all day.
You know what she doesn’t do when she is working?
She doesn’t plan out her family’s meals for the week, make phone calls about the broken dishwasher, steam clean carpets, do laundry, catch up on personal emails, clean bathrooms, or dust.
Wanna know what she does do?
She feeds the kids and cleans up after them, she changes their diapers and helps them learn to use the potty, she does crafts, she helps them learn to share, she sings songs with them, she takes them outside to play, she puts them down for naps, she loves on them. That is her job. She also does administrative tasks like communicating with parents, but that happens before and after school or when her assistant is tending to the children.
Guess what, stay at home mom: that’s your job too-to take care of the kids, to love on them, to play with them, to teach them, to feed them. That is all that you need to do at your job today.
If you get anything else accomplished in your day, consider it gravy.
You don’t need to get it all done. I mean, some of it really does need to get done, like paying your bills, but that doesn’t need to get done right now.
Treat your day at home like a job because that is exactly what it is. Focus on the most important task: taking care of the kids. And remember: my friend who works in a daycare doesn’t come home from work with a meal cooked from scratch and a couple of baskets of clean and folded laundry.
This post originally appeared on Perfection Pending under the title: Dear Stay at Home Mom – You Don’t Have To Do It All