8 Surprising Things about Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

Magnolia in the city

I took this picture. I had fun doing it.

Here comes Mother’s Day. And I’m approaching my one-year anniversary as a Stay-at-Home-Mom. Time for a little reflection.

If anyone had told me I’d one day willingly quit my job to stay home full-time with young children, I’d never have believed them. But sometimes life surprises you, and that’s a good thing. Now that I’ve been at it a while, here are a few of the things I’ve found most surprising.

  1. I’m tired of talking! — Of all the things I might have imagined would be most challenging in being home with the kids, I would not have put this at the top of the list. But by the end of the day, I’ve answered hundreds of questions, I’ve admonished, cajoled, and repeated the mundane a million times. Amazing how exhausting *just* the communications aspect of parenting is.
  2. I don’t have many good mom friends. — I thought once I quit working, I’d become part of the (sort of intense, to my mind) group of local stay-at-home moms in my South Slope ‘hood. And I do see them more frequently and know them better. But the thing is…. We don’t have much in common besides being home with the kids. We’re friendly, but no close bonds have been made. Ah, well.
  3. My daughter is a brat. — I love her, but…. I used to think before I had kids that if you were consistent and set up clear boundaries, they would behave. hahahahahahahahaha! Now I know that free will and individual personality play into it. Both of my children sometimes misbehave, of course, but I’m home with my daughter way more — she only attends school two mornings a week. She occasionally — OK, maybe more than occasionally — kicks, hits, doesn’t listen, and/or screams unpleasant things when she doesn’t get her way. It’s embarrassing. We’re working on it.
  4. I don’t miss working. — I assumed I would, but I kind of don’t. I’m a writer and editor and, now that we have Shiny Brite and I can write what I want when I want, that feels like enough for now. My days are busy and full. I do sometimes miss the exchange of ideas with colleagues, but meetings? Deadlines? Cranking out as much as you can as fast as you can? Not so much.
  5. My house isn’t as clean as I thought it would be.Chrissy and I are both neatniks and, I have to say, the house is generally in pretty good shape. But I imagined it’d be close to spotless with me home. Didn’t work out that way. I do what I can, and I stay on top of household chores, but the place is by no means dust-free and there’s always one more thing to be done in the bathroom.
  6. I don’t mind doing the laundry. — Of all the household chores, I find this one least irritating. I even kind of like it. Folding things just so. Stacking in neat piles. Returning small items of clothing to everyone’s drawers — it’s oddly reassuring. Who put it there? I did. Happily.
  7. I’ve enjoyed becoming a (very) amateur photographer. — Before I was home, I used to snap pictures out of necessity — time for the moms to document an event. First birthday party! First steps! First day of school! Moments of sibling interaction and love! Check. Whew! Now I take pictures for pleasure. To make them pretty or interesting. Photography is a new way of experiencing the everyday minutiae of life with kids. And I’m liking it.
  8. I’m not *great!* at it, but I don’t suck, either. — When I first started staying home, I figured after I’d been doing it a while things would become clear: I’d either realize I was really — maybe even impressively — suited to do this after all. Or I’d realize it was a terrible mistake and I’d better go back to work before I screwed things up too badly. But as with life in general, it’s up and down. One day is good and the next is a real challenge.

I’m here for them all, though. At least for now. And that’s pretty nice.

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4 Responses to “8 Surprising Things about Being a Stay-at-Home Mom”


  1. 1 Sasha May 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

    This is sooo interesting to me! Glad it’s going well and that you’re enjoying it.

  2. 2 Debra May 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    I so enjoyed this post – being a mom, who will never have the option of being a SAHM, it’s kinda nice to hear that the grass isn’t always so green on the other side. In regards to little miss m. – she has all the makings to be an interesting, intelligent and amusing adult, her actions are just challenging to her mom. You are doing a great job!

  3. 3 Ellen May 13, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    By the way, I don’t find it surprising at all that you like to do laundry.


  1. 1 Simple Summer Goals: Fresh Lemonade + Iced Tea « Shiny Brite Trackback on May 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

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