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Nobody said marriage would be easy. And you certainly don’t hear people tossing around phrases like “it’s all rainbows and butterflies” when describing those first few years of parenthood. I’ve been married for 8 years, and a mother for 4 and a half of those years. The first 4 years of our married life were full of self-discovery and growth as individuals and as husband and wife. Then, just as we were getting comfortable in our new roles, our first child was born, and life became a series of chaotic days turned to months turned to years that sent us down the path of self-discovery once again.
Somewhere in the midst of young married life and the freshness of motherhood, I found myself transforming into different versions of myself on a daily basis. I was a “domestic in training” going into our marriage. And now, 8 years in, with a few years of motherhood under my belt, I can look back on the questionable things I did in the beginning and laugh – mainly because I am still doing some of them now.
I am a stay-at-home-mom with a passion for photography, writing and micro-fashion. I am fueled by daydreams and caffeine. And I run a household of chaos with my work-from-home husband, 4-year-old son, 2-year-old daughter and special needs cat. The days are long, the chores are endless, the house is perpetually messy, and coffee is always on the grocery list. But I love every single minute of it. I really, truly do. And I have no shame in my game.
These are the confessions of a stay-at-home-mom:
- During our first year of marriage, I used to buy a box of frozen, fully-cooked Tyson chicken, heat it up and serve it once a week. I told my husband it was my grandmother’s secret recipe. He looked forward to the perfectly crispy, juicy chicken all week long.
- When the kids are being exceptionally loud and rowdy, I will sometimes tell them that the cat is sick and loud noises will stress him out. I inform them that he needs peace and quiet to get better. This little white lie usually gives me a solid 2 hours of calm, quiet kids, tiptoeing around the house. It’s funny though, I could tell them I’m not feeling well, and it doesn’t seem to phase them. But for the cat, they rally.
- Somedays, when I have absolutely reached my limit and have turned into a “mombie,” I tell my husband I have a stomach ache, and sit in the bathroom for 20 minutes. I literally just sit in the bathroom, painting my nails or flipping through a magazine and decompress.
- I always try to make sure my kids have fruit, vegetables and a protein with every meal, but often find myself hiding out in the pantry, eating string cheese and stale Halloween candy while they complain about their meals because I just don’t feel like preparing any more food for myself.
- Happy Hour is not reserved for when the kids are in bed at night, since they don’t usually go to sleep on their own and often end up in our bed. If a random afternoon nap or iPad hour happens to take place, that’s when I have a glass or two of wine, because nights around here are chaotic and I like to enjoy my wine in peace.
- While many moms have a stockpile of necessities in their basement for natural disasters or emergencies, I go into full prep mode when I hear of a stomach bug in my area. If anyone around me gets hit, I immediately stock up on Clorox wipes, go home and wash a supply of extra towels and blankets, and prepare and hide “barf bags” in all of the bedrooms and behind the couches. Hell hath no fury than a mom exposed to the stomach bug.
- In the early days of babyhood, my husband and I would take turns eating meals and holding the baby. I would always tell him to eat first, because not rushing through my meal was much more important to me than eating it hot. He got a hot meal, and I got to take my time eating mine lukewarm, because I knew he wasn’t waiting impatiently to eat while I ate mine.
- Throughout any given day, I usually run up and down the stairs at least 10 times, taking laundry to the bedrooms, using the bathroom, etc. Every time I go upstairs, when my task is complete, I jump into my bed. My kids have radar when I’m not in the same room with them, so usually, these moments only last for a couple of minutes, but they are like mini blissful power “naps” without really napping.
- I had the house to myself for 6 hours last month for the first time in 4 years. I could have done so many things. I deep cleaned every single room. And it felt amazing. Anyone who’s ever tried to clean the house with a toddler will understand.
- I tell the kids we are out of anything I don’t want them to have: cookies, juice, batteries for toys that have “died”… On occasion, the iPad and TV are “broken” as well.
- Sometimes I will spoon feed my fully capable 2 year old her entire meal, because it’s easier than cleaning up her post-meal messes. The same goes for potty training “butt wiping” and cleaning up the playroom. They are totally able to do these things themselves, but I only have so much tolerance for tasks I will have to clean up myself after they attempt them first.
- In the early years of our marriage, my husband knew when he traveled for work, it was always a good idea to come home with a token souvenir for me – a t-shirt, a small piece of jewelry, some gourmet candy. Now, he knows not to come home unless he has a bottle of wine in one hand and a Big Mac in the other. Clearly, my priorities have changed over the years.
- I look forward to bedtime from the moment I wake up, but when I finally get the kids to sleep, I stay up and watch Netflix for hours. I always regret it in the morning, and then I do it again the following night.
- I long for a day – or even an hour – by myself more than I have ever longed for anything in my entire life. But then when I get it, I miss my kids. A lot. I check in on them often and beg my husband to send me pictures of them when I’m out with the girls.
- Before kids, the perfect Friday night consisted of dinner, cocktails, a late night movie and sleeping in the entire day afterwards. Now, the perfect Friday night is made when we get the kids to bed early (before midnight), open a bottle of wine and watch the last 4 episodes of The Walking Dead (which we’re behind on because the kids NEVER SLEEP.)
Photo credit: Marley Layne’s Closet