After having either 3, 2 or 1 child(ren) with me for 5.5yrs, dropping Kobe off to preschool feels like a step into the next level of my life. Granted it’s only two days but it’s two days I haven’t had to myself in half a decade.
5.5yrs I have spent devoting my life to raising my kids (a choice I was privileged to make and am able to do so by my hardworking husband), but no one really told me how intense the stay-at-home mum role was.
When I say it was a 24-hour, ’round the clock, no sick or annual leave days role with high intensity, demanding bosses who can shit on demand the minute you put them in a car seat, tantrum over not being allowed to ingest dishwashing tablets or make you feel like a failure daily because you can’t do Elsa braids, I’m not bullshitting. It’s not for the faint-hearted.
I started out with all the right ingredients. Laidback, easy-going, patient, calm and with a great sense of humour, but three kids later, I’m more on edge, sweaty, unhinged, hairy and with a liver in trauma. Rhian says that going to work is like a holiday to him so that should put it into perspective what raising my three kids is like for you.
But being a stay-at-home mum is all about what you make of it. It will be tough regardless, but you can definitely do things to ensure you don’t go insane. Lower expectations of what your house will look like. If you have two or more kids, you’re gonna need to embrace the mess. Personal space, you’ll never see her again.
Kiss goodbye to sleep-ins and don’t fret if you look like Hagrid on a bender for the first year (or maybe that was just me). Link up with other mum friends. Join a mums’ group (and if you don’t have one, start one, like I did). Other mum friends are going to be your saving grace when it comes to being a SAHM.
Getting yourself out of the house even when it feels impossibly overwhelming will ALWAYS pay dividends in the form of great naps and you’ll feel better for it, too. Socialising with other mums will keep your head above water but only the good mums, the supportive, not competitive, fun mums. Do not hang with anyone who makes you doubt your parenting style or makes you feel bad about yourself and then ride each day as it comes.
I don’t want to say you’ll have good and bad days because every day is a ‘lil bad and every day is good. Tantrums happen consistently, sleep deprivation is always a regression away and some sort of sickness is always just around the corner. In every 24 hours, you’ll have feelings of groundhog day, overwhelm and fatigue but you’ll also have pockets of laughter and smiles, moments where your heart will feel like it could burst open with oxytocin overload.
Every day, there will be an incentive to keep going. To keep choosing to show up for them, however hard it may get. That’s the power little ones hold. They will test you to a point you didn’t think possible to come back from but then they’ll wrap their arms around your neck, nuzzle into your neck and fall asleep and you’ll be overcome with love and emotion and want to encapsulate every single second of that very moment and you are right back there.
Some days, you’ll laugh, cry, throw shit and be riddled with guilt and other days, things will flow, washing will get done, dinner will get eaten and everyone will get along and even though days might feel similar. No two days will ever be the same.
And now look at me, one in school, one in preschool three days and my littlest baby has just started going for two. A whole two days to myself? How will I cope without them? What will I do with myself? Just kidding, I’ll be doing whatever the hell I want. Shopping, eating, day drinking, whatever tickles my fancy really!!! I HAVE EARNT THIS RESPITE.
So, to all the new mums who are just entering into their motherhood role, take everything in your stride and with a grain of salt. Ask for help, accept the help, don’t compare, don’t compete, run your own race but, most importantly, try to always find the sunshine in each day. It’ll always be there, just in ways you won’t expect.
Laugh at the things you can’t control and work through the things you can but remember that these little people are only little for so long and the never-ending days fly by so quickly that you’ll end up regretting wishing them away like I did sometimes.