Life as a stay at home mum

Mum (me) holding J's hand

I have been a stay at home mum for almost 8 months now and have absolutely loved it. So much so that I could happily continue in this role forever more. However, since that is not going to be the case in a couple of months I wanted to write about it now while I had the chance.

 

Having read Why Parenthood is Nothing Like I Imagined by The Unmumsy Mum this morning I felt inspired to write this post today (even though I have a long list of posts that I either need to finish or actually write). I tried really hard not to have an image of motherhood prior to J’s birth. It was a bit of a journey to get to his arrival and I couldn’t allow myself to jinx it by imagining all the wonderment that being a mother was finally going to bring. My sister passed away shortly before she was born and I was really scared that this would happen to J, so I protected myself as much as I could by banishing all exciting and wonderful daydreams before they could really take root.

However, once J was here things weren’t quite as straight forward as I may have imagined if I had let myself –  the immense lack of sleep, inability to breastfeed and awfulness of silent reflux (you can read more about that here) meant that having a newborn was tough. To be honest, at the time I didn’t really notice, I was so wrapped up in the love for my little miracle that I didn’t realise that many newborns slept happily in their pram while their mums drank coffee and discussed the pros and cons of breast feeding, or slings, or soothers. Other than the constant worrying about J and his reflux and eating issues the only thing that really got in the way of my bubble of happiness was the thought of returning to work.

 

Mum (me) and J

 

To me returning to work was a necessity that I was absolutely dreading. I was a teacher and there are many aspects of that role that I loved, but it is also an extremely stressful career choice, especially with the way the education system is at the moment. I knew that I personally couldn’t be a great teacher and a great mum (Other people can of course, but I have never been good at multi-tasking). I had worked all hours under the sun pre-pregnancy and I was stressed and exhausted from it. I now had my bundle of joy and I didn’t want to give that up for anything. I loved spending time with J, even if it was at 3am and I hadn’t slept all night, even if I was covered in vomit for the 8th time that day. I was sick at the thought of having to let my baby be looked after by anyone else; of missing out on the wonderful moments like the first time he walked, or ate, or talked. The first time he clapped, or kissed, or jumped.  This dread really put a damper on my maternity leave and I felt the weight of returning to work on my shoulders the whole time.

 

My husband got a new job during my maternity leave which meant we could afford for me to take another year off work to be with J. The final straw was when we were referred back to the hospital for his inability to eat without being sick and I handed in my notice. Suddenly I was to be a SAHM. I had to go back to work for 4 weeks, but then I was free to be at home with J. I was over the moon! I imagined me putting him to bed and then baking a dairy and egg free cake for us to eat the next day; I imagined batch baking lots of healthy and nutrious meals; I imagined J walking nicely down the road holding my hand; I imagined driving to Wales to stay with one of my closest friends and her little boy just 6 weeks older than J.

 

To be honest, I’m not really sure why I imagined any of these things. I should have known better. J was not eating anything when I became a SAHM. He was still waking at least 4 times a night. I can’t cook (even pizza I have to get my hubby to check if it is cooked!) or bake, although thanks to Mrs O’s egg and dairy free packet cakes I am suddenly a much improved baker! J hated the car and would scream on any journey over 5 minutes and would refuse to hold hands when walking anywhere as he could do it by himself thank you very much! Really where did I get these imaginings from??!!

Best thing about being a mum J laughing

 

As it has happened though, I am happier with my life than I have been in years. I have been lucky to be in a very happy relationship, have a good career and a lovely house, but there was something missing and that was my J. Now my life is much fuller and as a result I am much happier.  People always comment on how happy J is. My mum says it is because I am also smiling and laughing with him. I don’t know if that is true but I’d like to think that my happiness means that he is happy too.

 

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15 comments

  1. Beautiful post! I’m so terribly sorry to hear that about your sister though!
    I think every parent has ideals of expectations, but when the little one actually arrives it’s always a step away from chaos! You are a fantastic mum and I agree with what you’re own mum has said! 🙂 xxx #BigPinkLink #TribalLove

    1. You have a wonderful ability to make people at ease and comfortable in your presence, what an amazing environment to grow up in. J is a very blessed little boy. X

  2. He looks happy and this was a lovely post! As someone who has been both a working mum and a SAHM I must say I prefer to be at home. Although now my boy is getting more independent, I’m starting to get broody!
    Lovely read
    #Bigpinklink

  3. I would hate having to get up every morning and leave my smiley early morning Mini! It would absolutely break my heart so I am happy that I have the opportunity to stay at home! Little J certainly does look happy! xx Lucy xx #triballove

  4. I had very unrealistic ideas about maternity leave too – I basically thought I could do the same things I always did, just with a baby. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My maternity leave was really rewarding time, but it was also loads of work and really, really hard. I’m just back at work and trying to come to grips with how to balance my work life and family life. It’s not easy, and I imagine I’ll still be trying to figure it out for a while. I miss the Popple’s wee face when I’m in the office! #DreamTeam

  5. Lovely post! I’m a stay at home too and had loads of ideas of what we would do. Well as you can imagine we do half of it. But if the kids are happy and i’m still alive then i treat that as a good day. #DreamTeam

  6. Aww J looks so very happy, you’re doing a wonderful job! I had similar misconceptions about what life as a SAHM would be …I’m not sure why really. I couldn’t imagine how a day could be so busy and that I would struggle to find time to cook her a meal, due to her short naps. Sometimes I long to go back to work but my previous career was similar hours to teaching and I just know I can’t make it work and pick E up from nursery at 5:30. Such a thoughtful and loving post, thank you for linking up with the #dreamteam

  7. It’s so interesting how things change isn’t it? I always knew that I wanted to be a SAHM and I’ve been very lucky and managed to do a job where I can work from home. As they get older and do more things out of the home, I am finally able to do a bit more and dedicate more time to work. I know I’m one of the lucky ones though. Thanks for joining us at the #bigpinklink

  8. I think you are rightful, happy mum’s make happy kids. For you that is being at home and when mine were little I felt that too. Now I am learning to let go a little as mine are tweens and I am taking on more work! I think what makes us happy changes over time. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

  9. I am married to an ex-secondary school teacher, so I can totally understand that it would be incredibly difficult to split yourself between your career and being a mum. It’s so lovely that you have a super family unit and you are all so happy, long may it continue!

    #ablogginggoodtime

  10. I went back to work full time after having a year off with my first baby, but I was already 3 months pregnant by then (that went down well, lol!) so it softened the impact of going back to work.

    I’m now off again with 2 under 2, having had 6 months at work. I can honestly say the first 11 weeks so far have been amazing but really hard, mainly due to the small age gap. I feel so grateful I can be at home for another year, especially with my 20 month old toddler, but it’s really hard work compared to having just one, and I do miss some of the structure and grown up conversations I had when I was at work.

    I plan on going back to work next April but I now have the experience now of knowing that both me and the kids will be absolutely fine once we get into a routine. I also know I missed out on so much in those 6 months I was working, so I’d like to try and go back part time (ideally 3 days) next time. I guess we all figure out what works best for us and our families somehow, whether that’s full time work, full time SAHM or a combination of the two.

    I’m so pleased to hear you’ve enjoyed your extended time together at home and hope you continue to find a happy balance. Xx

  11. So sorry to hear about your sister. I gave to go back to work in 2 months. I have been off for 8 months and have loved every minute of it. The sleepless nights have been hard but it’s so rewarding being a mum. I’m dreading going back to work full time but needs must. I would kill for the opportunity to be a stay at home mum xx
    #tribalchat

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