Maybe it’s because of super moms on the internet. Maybe it’s because we went to school for 4 years and spent thousands of dollars on an education for a career that we no longer have. Maybe it’s because the default emotion of mom is guilt. (Or hey, super dads on the internet and dad guilt.) But for whatever reason, when you’re a stay at home parent, there is this need to do MORE.
That’s why so many of us blog and try to work from home and get trapped in pyramid schemes. You cannot JUST be a parent. It’s not even an outside pressure thing. It’s an ego thing.
I don’t know how many times I have sat down at the end of the day and said to myself, “I am pooped but I have no clue why… I have nothing to show for my day! The house is messier than when I woke up this morning, I didn’t even cook – I fed the child Mac and Cheese and leftovers. And I mean, I only have one friggin’ kid… there is no excuse for this!”
Shhhh….. listen to me, and listen to me good. Screw it. Screw all of it. Those super moms on the internet probably snapped fifteen hundred pictures all in one nap time and have been squeezing them out slowly over the past three months. That career will be there one day. And that guilt? Chuck it. It’s useless. If you weren’t a stay at home parent it would be guilt about not being with your children and if you weren’t a parent well you’d have guilt from Aunt Lucy about, “When are you gonna settle down and have a family?”
So here it is. My 100% made up stay at home parent guide.
Don’t wake up with your kid
I’m serious. Nothing good comes from being “on” before your ready. Let the baby coo quietly in their crib. Let your preschooler spill cereal all over the floor (that’s why you got a dog after all isn’t it?). And if you absolutely, one hundred percent, must physically get out of bed, because I don’t know, Netflix is down and it’s the end of the world as we know it, sprinkle some little people or legos or whatever it is your kid is into across the floor and lay down and close your eyes and say things like, “mhmm. wow. yup. zzzzzzzzz.”
Leftovers are gold
No lie… I make a lot of shit from scratch. It’s a lot of work, don’t do it. But if you do… double everything. Muffins. Bread. Pasta. Soup. Making single chicken breasts are for suckers- you roast an entire bird and eat like a king for a week straight. Freeze whatever you can. I freeze pancakes. If my kid has pancakes for breakfast every morning for a week, it’s not because mommy has been extra attentive, it’s because she’s been nursing those babies so she doesn’t have to parent and make him eat a diverse breakfast selection.
Don’t do anything while your kid is asleep
That is your time. If you can’t get it done during “working hours” it doesn’t deserve to be done. I have been forced into this by necessity- my kid sleeps the same amount as me and doesn’t nap (SOS), but I’m wondering why I did laundry and cleaned while my kid was napping in the good ol’ days? Put on the radio, strap little ones to you and give bigger ones their own cloth for “dusting” and spend an hour giving the house a once over. Plop your kid in the middle of the laundry pile while you fold– or hell, don’t even fold! Then, after the four hour ordeal that is bedtime, put up your feet, eat the good snacks and zone out with whatever guilty pleasure you have until you pass out yourself. You deserve it.
Don’t do it all
People love to say, “you can’t do it all.” YES YOU CAN AND YOU CAN DO IT ONE HANDED. I know that personally, I am surprisingly competitive and nothing makes me want to do something more than someone telling me I can’t. However, not doing it all doesn’t mean you can’t do it all, it just means you have badass time management skills. Think about it: the biggest CEOs don’t do everything themselves. Okay, maybe Elon Musk does but didn’t he sound a tad douchey after firing his assistant? I mean I get it, I am him- I refuse to delegate. If you want something done right, you do it yourself! But knowing that you have the option to delegate, and the option to say no, is very freeing. Think long term and ask yourself: is this worth it? If it’s not, ditch it.
Find the joy
I like to complain and make jokes about being with my kid all day everyday, but the truth of the matter is that it does have a positive side. There are times where I really genuinely like my kid. Not love him, because of course we all love our kids, but there are times when he’s my favourite person to be with. Allowing myself, or some days, forcing myself to find moments of laughter and happiness reminds me that it’s not about the food or the clothes of the perfect house, it’s about my time as a mom and his childhood. And it’s the best motivator.
So forget the parental guilt, it’s everywhere. And find ways to make stay at home parenting your own. You deserve it.