My first year as a stay at home mama. Boy, what a year!! Where do I start? I’ve never been an awesome writer. But I discovered it sounds better when I write as if I’m talking to someone, so here goes.
Every time someone asks me: “So Millie, are you working?” And I say, “No I’m staying home with the baby”, I get so many “OMG that’s great! So much time for yourself” or “That’s amazing, you are so lucky” comments.
Well no, it’s not all ice creams and unicorns.
Last time I wrote: “Staying at home has a nice ring to it, but it’s seriously NOT what you think!” Well, I stand by that.
But let me just start by saying: working mamas I salute you! I cannot imagine leaving my baby every day to go to work, but you are doing it and that’s amazing! Being a mom is indeed the toughest job there is, whether you are working or you stay at home, or whatever your case may be.
Motherhood is the most rewarding and challenging job in the world.
BEST LAID PLANS
Around this time last year, I was already 7 days into this motherhood thing. I was at home with my husband, and mom and dad who came to the US from Panama to experience the birth of my son. Looking back, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I wasn’t counting the days, but I was not looking forward to mom and dad leaving in 2 weeks.
Nothing went as planned, but everything was the way it was supposed to be.
My eyes get watery every time I remember this time, because I cried every single day for a couple of weeks. PPD (post-partum depression) is a real thing ladies and gentleman. Even though I never treated it as such, I didn’t realize I was going through it.
Thankfully I had a strong support system and was able to fight through it and bounce back quickly. But let’s backtrack a bit to that Wednesday afternoon at home, after spending 72 hours at the hospital.
I was having so much trouble breastfeeding my baby, to the point I wanted to give up. I sat down on my couch and remember bursting into tears and telling my mom, “here feed him, I can’t give him what he wants — I’m not good for anything!!”
My mom calmed me down, gave me some food and then all of the sudden I relaxed and felt my first letdown (when milk comes into your breast).
I felt such a relief that I was finally able to feed my baby. Sure I wasn’t thinking about the three weeks I spent with bloody, cracked and sore nipples. But hey, no pain no gain — we are now 1 year strong!
The days passed as I was recovering from my C section — OMG Millie you didn’t have a natural birth — well no! Did I mention, nothing went as planned? Surprise!! I cut myself in half to bring my baby into this world… how’s that for a grand entrance?
Having mom and dad at home made it so easy, because I had so much help. I had time to shower, I had time to relax, maybe watch TV or maybe eat a full meal… I had time for myself.
But once they left? I felt like Tom Hanks in Cast Away 😭.
My husband working all day every day left me with a lot of time for baby Caleb and I to get acquainted. But the first day alone I thought: man, how do I do this?
I cried every day, thinking I wasn’t doing a good job. There were many routines — but they all changed with time, and they still change. A lot of the time though, Rob (my husband) would leave early after making me breakfast, then I would come down the stairs with my diaper caddy and stay down the entire day until it was time to go to bed.
I was lucky my mom left me with enough Panamanian food in the freezer to last for that tough first month, so that covered lunch and sometimes dinner for Rob and I. And I got the hang of it after a while.
I’d take a shower — or half showers I should say, because I could hear the baby crying as soon as I turned on the water 🤦🏼♀️ which was frustrating! A newborn takes a lot a of work… a breastfeeding newborn on the other hand, takes ALL of your time.
Sometimes I would change the routine and take a shower before my husband left for work so that I wouldn’t be in the same pajamas he left me with lol, but that didn’t work either! Sometimes I’d just take showers when Caleb was taking a nap, but it was tricky as he’s always hated the crib, so would nap in the glider which was downstairs. Camera or not, I couldn’t handle being that far from him for a second. But we passed the test and we did this together!
When you are a stay at home mama, you don’t really think about things that are important to you, you just think about things that are important to your baby.
It’s like a switch: and I say this because a switch only has on and off, there’s no dimmer! Like let me dim this light so that I can light up my husband or let me dim this light so that I can light up myself… NO! It really is all about the baby.
Yes, husbands do have a hard time understanding how motherhood develops, but the best thing you can do is communicate (I learned that from my husband). Letting them know how you feel at all times is so important.
Being a mom and learning how to be a mom is different than being a dad and learning how to be a dad, especially if you, mom, are the one staying home with the baby.
You take care of a human 24/7. There are no breaks, no lunch times.There is no stuck in traffic time, no taking a shower time, no sitting interacting with other humans like you time….time time time…. we don’t have time.
We are constantly working, and it never ends.
I remember people would tell me “oh but Millie, why don’t you sleep when baby sleeps? “Well why don’t I clean when baby cleans? Or cook when baby cooks?” Right? It’s easier said than done.
There’s a lot of time management that needs to be done, but you really have no time to manage it, so it kind of cancels out. 🤷🏼♀️
It is important that we find that balance between being a mom and a wife.
It takes time, it really does! How do you take care of two kids now? Lol! For real!! Have you heard about the man flu? Trust me it is very real. The key to our relationship is reminding ourselves who we were before baby Caleb, and that he is here because of the love we share.
Regardless of how my day goes, my husband always makes it better and I love that about him. My day could be a hurricane in Florida and he still makes it feel like margaritas by the beach.
So this goes out to the moms who’ve taken the job and stayed home. Those who identify themselves with my struggles. Those first time moms who don’t know what the heck they’re doing, but they are doing it so blissfully.
Those who have 2, 3 or more kids: I don’t know how you do it! The ones who know cold coffee is the new hot coffee. Those who didn’t have time to clean dishes this morning, so they are all piled up in the sink… holla!! That laundry basket full of clean unfolded clothes since 2017. Those who take showers at 10pm to put pajamas on again… this one is for you!
You are all doing an amazing job!
I am lucky I was able to share this time with Caleb, and it’s actually the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve seen my baby grow into a smart active toddler, I’ve had the privilege to experience a lot of “firsts”, day long smiles and cuddles, day long tears and crazy bad moments.
But most importantly, all that time that you never get back. So I am blessed, happy and grateful that I was able to stay at home for this first year. I’m proud because I set myself goals as a first time mom: I said I’d stay home with Caleb for one year and I did …and no I didn’t go insane (yet).
I said I would breastfeed him for a year and I did. Everything you put your mind to, you can achieve as a mom. It may take days, weeks, months or years — but you can do it.
Now it’s time to set new goals. We are still breastfeeding strong. I would like to go back to school and become a nurse anesthesiologist one day, but I would also like to have a girl… so we’ll see how that goes.
My husband and I would like to have our own business too. So many things ahead of us. We have finally found a school for Caleb; he’s so ready to learn new things and play with other kids (I’m not ready for it). I know it will be hard to drop him off, but that it is for the best and I’m excited for him.
So 2018 is a year of independence for Caleb and I, working slowly on his separation anxiety and him becoming an independent toddler.
Mamas keep doing what you are doing. Y’all amazing!
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