This gal- Stephanie Totty of FroggyAndTheMouse.com- who I’m honored to have contributing here, has seen me through this entire motherhood journey, mostly by way of online friendship. I’m thrilled to bring her fresh perspective here. I adore her honesty, and I know she brings a valuable voice to this blog, especially as she shares a little about her journey as a mom who (happily) works out of the home.

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Have you ever wanted something for so long, that one day you wake up and can’t remember why on earth you wanted it in the first place? That was me with kids and wanting to be a SAHM.

Wait, I can explain.

Lots of kids grow up thinking, ‘I want to be an astronaut’. Or, ‘I want to be a teacher’. Or, ‘I want to be a rodeo clown’ (whatever, it looks like a fun job). But not me.

I grew up thinking, “I want to be a mom.”

As I got older, and realized that money does not, in fact, just appear in your bank account or grow on trees, I I still wanted to be a ‘soccer mom’ … and that I would ‘find a husband who made enough money for me to stay home and be the most awesome mom ever’.

Ha. HAHAHAHAHAHLOLOMGHA.

When I eventually met the love of my life (who happens to be amazing, and who also works retail), reality set firmly in. As we were both art history majors we both had jobs that were just that – jobs.

But somehow, I still clung to this romantic idea of the ‘amazing full-time mom’ gig that would eventually happen. We would get married, he would get a promotion, we would buy a little house and have sweet babies that I would take care of full time. Then, life happened. The husband did get a promotion, and we did buy a house – but we were not making enough money for me to stop working.

Then we had a baby – and he was amazing. But you know what else came with him? Hemorrhoids. Sleep deprivation. Mood swings. Breast-feeding battles. It was like the husband I were thrown into a lake of ice water and all of a sudden knocked out of this rose-colored dream we were living, and reality set in.

The husband got exactly 2 minutes of leave once our son was born, so I was home all by myself for the bulk of my maternity leave. And while I was spared full blown PPD, there was a good case of baby blues thrown in for good measure, along with just being plain bored out of my skull. I sat at home all day with my sweet baby, and thought, ‘Oh GAWD, I can’t take one more hour of a crying baby all by myself’.

I wasn’t exactly excited to leave my three month old and go back to work, but I wasn’t crushed either.

Even though I didn’t like my job all that much, getting back into a routine was a GOOD THING for me. When my second was born – I felt the same way. I craved the adult interaction, I needed the routine, I missed my alone time. It was amazing to both my husband and myself how much of a better mood I was in once I started back to work and had the opportunity to miss my kids.

Just over six years into this whole ‘raising small humans’ thing – we’re probably at the point financially now where I could decide not to work if I didn’t want to. There would be some major sacrifices, but we could make it work.

Now, six years later I now have a legitimate career, and actually love my job – I look forward to getting up and going into work and contributing to a company that I care about. My oldest just started first grade, and the youngest is thriving in pre-k. They’re both smart, and happy, and let’s be honest, have a way better time at their respective schools than they would at home with a surly, and stressed-out me.

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I am a much better working parent than I ever would be if I was at home and with them 100% of the time. Are there times that I miss being away from them? Do I sometimes hate that I can’t be the ‘room mom’ or the field trip chaperone? Absolutely.

But me realizing that I’m doing both myself and them a favor by working out of the home is probably the best thing that ever happened to our entire family.

And sure, it’s hard. Getting kids up and out the door by 7am, a full day of work, 2 hours commute, kid pickup, dinner/baths/homework/family-time, and then bed to start it all over again the next day is HARD. It’s a freaking beating – but you know what, the end result (a happy family unit) is totally worth it.

My biggest piece of advice to all new families is not about baby gear, or parenting techniques, or old, stupid lamentations (“sleep when the baby sleeps!” – ugh), it’s this:

Figure out what works for you and your family, and then do that. Then ignore all the haters – because your kids? They don’t care what people on the interwebz or your mother in law thinks – they only care about YOU.

16 thoughts on “I Grew Up Thinking I Want To Be A SAHM. Then I Grew Out Of It. {Contributor}”

  1. Thanks for the honesty. I’m a few months back at work after having my first and was shocked to realize that I really do love getting out of the house to work. A lot of people reacted poorly when I was a bit too honest about enjoying being back on the job. I felt like I wasn’t putting on a good enough show of missing my son (who I adore) or sobbing at the cruel financial realities that presumably must require me to work. Any time I admitted how great it was to have some adult hours back in my life people found it very cold.

    1. Thank you for the comment! I’m right there with you, Courtney – there is so much pressure these days for women to want/need to be involved in every.single.second. of their kids’ lives … and sometimes I think we forget that we need to have our own as well. You go on, rockin’ your balance between work/home/kids!

  2. Great advice 🙂 I thought I wanted the career and the kids. I went back to work when my first was 6 weeks old, he went into childcare. It took me until almost his 2nd birthday to work out that I wasn’t enjoying working and being away from him. I stopped my full time work and launched myself into a home business. I still get the adult interaction with my home business and don’t feel isolated but I do get to sit on the floor and play Lego and sings songs with my kids when they want me to. I got so much flak from my decision when I first made it, had many people offer me jobs – they just didn’t get why a professional in a great job would make this decision. Love your end quote just totally sums it up.

  3. Aw. Your my new favorite blogger mom. I hate rosey colored portrayals of parenthood. It’s so far from that. Wish I’d been told this before I had my first.

  4. Oh man I love this. I am always telling people “do what works for you.” Being away from my girl everyday makes our daily reunions so sweet. And I cherish the time I’m with her because I’m not a frazzled mess.

  5. Yes, thank you for your honesty. I understand both sides of it, as I went through both. My boys are 2 and 4 right now and for me(and my family) staying at home is the only job I could imagine having right now. They are only this young once and I don’t want to have that feeling of missing out again. I think once they both start school I will be going back to work, so reading this makes me feel a bit better about that! So true about whatever works for you. I can’t stand judge mental people who think that whatever works for them should work for everyone! Do what works best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY! Don’t get me wrong… There are plenty of days that I think I should go back to work like, YESTERDAY, but at the end of the day, we are all happy as could be just the way it is! 🙂

  6. This! Thank you! I don’t know how SAHM/WA do it! They are amazing, I just don’t have it. I am a much happier mommy when I get to miss my kids a little and hopefully I will always have the flexibility to sneak out of work for the important things and a field trip or two. This works for us and that is enough.

  7. I love this. There are days I feel guilty about going to work when I know we could figure out a way for me to stay home, but then I think about my sweet girl looking up to a woman who holds her own in a 98% mail dominated industry and I feel proud. When I come home I am excited to kick off my shoes and run through the sprinklers with her fully clothed or just the fact I get to miss her while I’m out kicking butt. I respect the heck out of stay at home Moms but it is nice to finally read something championing those of us who have found another way. I love this blog, and your non judgmental way of celebrating and supporting us all, no matter our choice

  8. That is really great you’ve found what works for you – I think every mom should! If we just listened more to ourselves and not everyone around us, we would figure out what makes our family happy.
    I guess I’m the complete opposite of you, well, not that I don’t crave adult interaction – but I’ve found it in unexpected ways. I work from home part-time, but my wedding photography business is quickly turning into a full time job. I also homeschool the kids while hubby is away for 3 weeks each month. I absolutely love it! I love the interaction I get with adults when we meet with other homeschooling families in our area AND I love planning school around our life instead of planning life around school. The flexibility suits our lifestyle very well. Our kids and I loathe routine and I know it wouldn’t work for us, we would be miserable, but I do admire those that make it work and thrive in it. We are all so different as parents and it is important to find whatever works!

    1. That’s fascinating to me! Thanks for sharing. I always feel like homeschooling would feel super isolating, but I never considered that families probably meet up quite often.

  9. The way our society is now, SAHM is a very alone-type job. Not many people are cut out to work alone all the time. Then take those that also are good with kids and you got a teeny slice in a Venn diagram.

    Now, if I had a posse of grown-ups to hang with, work with, as we cared for our kids? Maybe I would thrive then. I really need co-workers, says the extrovert.

    Also, isn’t writing/blogging a solitary endeavor? Maybe that’s why there are more Sahm blogs?

    1. I would love a mom commune. 🙂 There are definitely aspects of the sister-wife life that appeal to me, except for the sleeping with my husband part. I find that blogging is not solitary at all because I’m so connected with other online moms throughout the day.

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