Good Moms Don’t Nap—What I Love (and Don’t Love) About Being a Stay-At-Home Mom
Note: This hub was written in response to Cardisa's question, "What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a stay at home mom?"
I have a dirty little secret. Every morning, I rise at 5am to prepare myself for getting three kids up, dressed, fed, and off to three different schools by 7:30. I do this every weekday. And you know what I do when I get home from taking the last kid to school?
I go back to bed for a couple of hours.
On the one hand, I love that as a stay-at-home mom, I have the flexibility of schedule to be able to crash face-down into my bed any time I want to and stay there for extended periods of time. On the other hand, I can’t help but think that there’s something horribly wrong with me for actually needing a nap every morning. Shouldn’t I be showered, dressed, and perfectly shod and coiffed, like so many of the other moms running around the neighborhood? Shouldn’t I be attending those 8am booster club meetings and principal’s coffees with all the other with-it moms? Shouldn’t I be volunteering for the all-day science fair and the International Day parade and the fifth-grade graduation ceremonies?
This is the problem with being a SAHM—the very things that you love most about staying home are often also the very things that create severe anxiety about staying home. It’s hard to enjoy my morning nap when I feel that I should be doing something else—even if it’s something that I don’t want, need, or know how to do. But I do need that nap, if I want to get through the day without a migraine.
I love having the freedom to create my own schedule, to volunteer at my children’s schools or elsewhere on my own terms, and to accompany my mom to lunch with friends. I love not having to get dressed for an office job every day. Most of all, I love picking my kids up at school and hearing about their day while it’s still fresh in their minds, and taking them to their after-school activities. But creating my own schedule means choosing certain activities over others which may seem just as important. Sometimes I miss having opportunities to wear something other than jeans, tees, and one of the umpteen boyfriend cardigans I bought on clearance at Nordstrom two years ago. And waiting for my children at their extracurriculars means talking and listening to other moms describe their schedules and activities that often, quite frankly, put mine to shame.
So how do I deal with this feeling of dissatisfaction? I remind myself of several things:
- I am lucky to have this opportunity--so many moms would love to be in my shoes;
- All my mom friends--those who work outside the home and my fellow SAHMs—are having the exact same angst over their situation that I am experiencing, and apparently this is a universal motherhood thing—whatever we’re doing, someone else is doing it differently and better; and
- I need to concentrate on making the best possible choices for me and my family, based upon what I am ready, willing, and able to do—not on what everyone else is doing, or what will garner the most praise or attention, or what will benefit the school, the community, or the planet the most. What’s right for anyone else’s family is not necessarily right for mine.
And finally, I remember a recent conversation with my sister-in-law, whose mother was one of those moms who did it all and looked good doing it . I told her about my dirty little secret, and she didn’t bat an eye. “You know Mom did that every day, don’t you? She couldn’t function without her naps.”
I feel so much better now.