I have to admit that, before I became a stay-at-home mom, I had some preconceived ideas of what that job would be like: dinner on the table by 6PM, time spent making crafts and cherished pieces of artwork with the little ones, the house completely organized and just general peace and order all around. Needless to say, I was in for a rude awakening when I actually got the privilege of becoming a stay-at-home mom. I would describe my days now as beautiful chaos. As much as I try to have some semblance of order in the home, it doesn't usually work out that way. Many people have asked me what it is I do all day since giving up the boardroom for playdates. Here is my reply:
I raise kids for a living, and though there's not any financial gain involved, the emotional gain is priceless.
I didn't give up my career. I changed careers. Taking care of children full-time is just as much a career as going to an office every day. I work just as hard, if not harder, at raising my kids as I did as a full-time employee. I chose not to work outside of the home. I did not give up my life. I did not give up my identity. If anything, I added to it. It is not all "crafts and art projects," however. Our house has become a free zone. That means there is less of a structure or schedule, and the environment is open to change at any time (and it usually does). Any moment can be a teaching moment. Consequences are handed out and rewards given. Picking up toys turns into a fun game (most of the time) and tantrums equal a "think about it" moment. I now have the time to interact with my children in every setting, not just in the evenings after work. It's wonderful and challenging all at the same time.
I'm CEO of the best nonprofit organization in the world
A stay-at-home-mom usually does everything from planning meals to cleaning up after them. She also gives baths, drives carpools, plans birthday parties, handles the finances, does the grocery shopping and makes sure there is enough toilet paper at all times. She honestly is the chief executive officer of her home.
I do that stuff now. Before I quit my job, my husband and I shared a lot of the household responsibilities. We were both working and knew we both needed to pitch in. Now that I am home, I feel it is my responsibility to run the house. This is nice for us, as a whole. A lot of the things we "let go" before because of lack of time are things I now do. I cook more often. I clean obscure areas (like baseboards) that I forgot existed, and I handle all the aspects of running a home. The best part is, now, when my husband is home, we can just relax and enjoy our time instead of filling it with housework and errands. I am in charge of prioritizing and organizing my family members' lives, and that's a pretty big responsibility.
I am a counselor, cheerleader and referee all at once
People who think stay-at-home moms are just wasting their educations really don't know anything. I received my Masters in Psychology—and believe me, I use it all the time (and not just for reverse psychology). I am the one my kids come to when they need comfort, encouragement and when there is a problem. I wipe away tears and give the best hugs. I give my kids the confidence to get back on the playground. I listen to "both sides of the story" before taking the toy away and giving a lecture on sharing. On a daily basis, I use skills that I never used before I had kids. I cannot think of any better use for my education than using it with my children.
I am a student in the class of life
More than anyone else in my family, I have been the one who has learned the most from being a stay-at-home mom. Besides developing some serious Lego skills and being able to sing every word of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme song, I have learned patience, compassion and, most of all, love. My kids' sweet actions are constantly teaching me how to be a better person. Their honesty and pure love are testaments to me that I am the one who is truly blessed to be spending each day with them.