I want to talk to you guys about the reality that is being a work at home mom, and really just a mom in general.
When I had my oldest boy, Kayden, I had all these high expectations that I was going to uphold. I quit my job at a motorcycle shop to freelance interpret (sign language) part time when I could. I told myself that I would be able to spend every waking moment with him. Sleep when he sleeps, keep up the house to perfection, and be able to teach him something different every single day. He'd know his ABC's and count to 10 by the age of one. He'd have those amazing Pinterest home cooked, made from scratch meals every single day, and his room would look like that picture perfect magazine style nursery that every parent wants for their kids. I would see moms with screaming, demanding kids in the store and know that I would NEVER have my kid act like that in public. The list of the what my kid would never ever do was pretty dang long. He wouldn't be hooked on screens. He wouldn't talk back or whine. He would be my version of perfection and everyone would know he was my perfect snowflake.
Staying home with Kayden was amazing. I took on interpreting jobs where I could and worked from home as a financial officer for my husband's boss as well. We weren't well off, but we were making it and I was there for my kid every day. He had my undivided attention. But guess what? I still wasn't that picture perfect mom that I told myself that I would be. There was days and days that I didn't do dishes. I didn't get to make home cooked meals. He definitely didn't know his ABCs by one. Being a stay at home mom is HARD. These little humans take so much of our energy.
By the time Kayden was one-ish, I started making mox from home. Which, was perfect timing because my husband's boss closed down the part of the business that I was dealing with. At first it was just when he was preoccupied or asleep. But, business took off, and I needed to do more to keep up with bills. Eventually it got to the point that I was working all day every day. By this point, I was pregnant with my youngest, Malakai. I poured myself into my work and my focus slipped away from being all about Kayden every second, to more and more about work. How to better the product. How to make sure that everything was getting out on time. How to have fun and interact with my customers. It's not what I expected. Being a work at home mom is a whole new ball game with all new problems and challenges. We started letting him watch movies from boredom. We started feeding him microwaved food because I didn't have time to cook him something at every meal. All those things that I said I wouldn't do as a mom were starting to slip away. By the time he turned two and Malakai was born, it got to be a whole different level of crazy. Having two changes everything. The time that I had undividedly given to Kayden was now shared with Kai too. Pour on the mom guilt at this point. Now I not only had to work more than a full time job at home, but I had to be able to split this free time that I didn't have between my sons. And often, Kayden got the short end of the stick because Kai was so new and needed that special attentions that newborns need.
Kayden turned three, and I knew something needed to give. He was bored. We were sticking him in front of a screen all day just to keep him out of our hair while we worked and then we were sticking him in front of one at night because we were too tired to function. I wasn't able to give him what he needed and still be able to make the living that I needed to for my family. To be able to run my business and watch both boys, and still have time to cook or clean, or just SIT without feeling the guilt of not working or not being with the boys. So, we looked at preschools for him. I knew it was the right thing to do. My friends and family assured me that it would be good for him. But this, this was one of those things that I thought I would never ever do. I was mad and upset and guilty that I was even looking into it. I felt that only I was best for him and that I didn't want anyone else raising my kids. That moms can do the best job for their kids hands down, and that I would make him staying at home work. And I even tried doing different routines and tried different ways to make it work. But guess what? That idea that I had and clung to, the one that I swore was the only right thing to do, it didn't work for us. Kayden NEEDED the socialization. He needed the attention from peers and a teacher who's sole job was to show him things that I wouldn't have even thought about showing him. Since he's started, his behavior has changed for the better. He thrives in it. His speech has jumped leaps and bounds in just a few months. And I can now breathe without feeling that guilt that I felt before. This. This was right for us, and it was something I never ever saw myself doing.
I think that we, as moms, need to be willing to let go of these preconceived notions that we have to be perfect every second of every day. We need to be willing to change to adapt for our situations and our kids. We need to be able to recognize that life isn't going to always go as we want or envision it to be. That sometimes we need to sacrifice that attitude that we have to things a certain way or else it's wrong. Life isn't your way or the highway. This road curves and twists and turns, and if you're unwilling to let go a little and be willing to change with it, you'll only end up more frustrated, drained, and stressed than you were. Kayden and our parenting journey has taught me that even though I had all these expectations on myself and all these ideas of what we would and would never do, that they are absolutely bogus. Each kid and family is different. Each situation will change those ideas. Being open minded that change may need to happen is going to be easiest and best for everyone involved. And above all these things, be willing to forgive yourself when you need to make these changes.