There's a misconception that i would like to address. It's the notion that the life of a stay at home parent is easy. In my experience, it is anything BUT easy...
There are many things in my life that I am incredibly grateful for. One of those in particular, is the fact that I have the ability to be a stay at home mum. At this stage, I have absolutely no need or desire to go back to work any time in the near future. Some days make me want to pack up and run for the hills, but for the most part, I love being at home with the girls. For me, and my family, this is by far the best arrangement, and we are lucky enough to maintain it on one income. Sure we have to make sacrifices, but it is the best way for us, in our particular circumstances, to maintain a balanced work/family life. Each family and set of circumstances is entirely different, but for us, the stay at home mum, and working dad combo is a winner.
For those that don't personally know me, I am a former childcare worker. I used to spend my days caring for, playing with, teaching, and learning from some of the coolest little people around. In some of the centres I've worked in, there were 16 two year olds to 2 adults, or 12 preschoolers to care for on your lonesome (depending on the state and the year), it's pretty tough work. You know what's crazy? I find being at home with my two girls harder work. I think the biggest difference for me personally, is that no matter how much I loved the children in my care, I was not as emotionally invested in their little lives as I am with my own (with good reason). It also helped that I got a start and finish time to my day, a scheduled lunch break, the company of other adults, and solo toilet breaks! I was able to leave 'Work Kirsty' behind me at the end of the day, I mean, I actually got to leave my workplace and go home. Now, home IS my workplace... I am on call 24/7, I don't have a lunch break, I crave adult contact, and I CANNOT remember the last time a bathroom break didn't have an audience. On the plus side, I get to spend all of my time with two of the people that I want to be with the most, and I am the one teaching them the difference between their eyes and their nose, and why mummy's make up brush can't be used to clean the toilet (the struggle is real people).
So far today, I've changed 3 nappies, made two breakfasts (not my own yet), I've put on a load of washing (how do two tiny humans create so much laundry??) and I've managed to squeeze in my first coffee... albeit, I drank it when it was cold. It's not even 7am! I must admit, I am very lucky to be married to a man that helps me.. a lot! His nightly ritual often involves sitting and folding a basket of washing, and on weekdays, he gets the toddler up in the morning and gives her breakfast, so that I can tend to the baby... this is incredibly helpful, ESPECIALLY when I've had a bad night. It gives a former night owl the chance to wake up a little slower than is otherwise required by two miniature people. There are days where I literally say "F#%k it" and refuse to touch the housework, choosing to sit on the floor with the kids all day, but lets face it, unless we want to wear dirty clothes, and eat food off yesterday's dishes, that can't happen everyday. So here's what a day in my world will often be like...
Up to baby, sit and try to breastfeed... interrupted by toddler... settle toddler (usually by giving her my phone)... try to put baby back on the boob... baby is now too distracted, oh well, I'll just have to walk around lopsided for the next few hours... change nappies... COFFEE... load of washing on... ah crap (literally) change another nappy... oh yeah, coffee- it's cold, drink it anyway... Breakfast for the hungry gremlins and while they're eating, it's time for my breakfast (usually standing up because they'll need any number of things during this time, and it's just not worth getting comfortable on an actual chair)... Breakfast has finished... clean up the table, highchair, floor, wall, fridge (wtf, how?), throw the dishes in the sink, I'll get to them later... Kids are now happy to play together on the floor (hence, me finding the time to write this)... WOOHOO! I get to sit down and enjoy my second coffee, hot (the first coffee is to jolt me back into reality)...
Time to get changed... toddler brushes her teeth (with a little help), I go change the baby... come back, clean up the toothpaste on the vanity, sink, tap, sometimes the mirror, and change the toddler (which translates to, watch her dress herself, and resist the urge to fix EVERYTHING)... Take the first load of washing out, put it into a basket, and put another load on... often by this time, the baby is ready for a nap... sit down and breastfeed again (ah yes... not lopsided anymore!), sleeping bag on, and into bed... Ok, quickly run around and tidy up a bit, make some beds, and either have a shower OR put some gym clothes on and TRY to get about 1/2 an hour of some kind of exercise in (usually the latter...depending on what we have to do that day)... 40 mins goes too damn fast, the baby is awake... baby up, and time to feed some morning tea... OMG, it's only 9.30am!!!!
Now, I could continue, but I don't think anyone wants to sit around and read about my daily schedule for the next 3 hours of their lives. All this stuff takes place on a daily basis, but there can be any combination of about 350,000 different other things thrown into the mix. Amongst all of these routine tasks, there are endless cuddles, giggles, songs, tantrums, tears and accidents. I somehow have to manage to keep a toddler entertained, active and SAFE while tending to the baby's needs. I have to manage to translate Abbie's toddler language before she gets too frustrated and has a meltdown, AND show her the attention that her beautiful chalk drawing of the dog requires. Each part of the day, comes with an independent toddler that wants to learn how to do EVERYTHING herself, and a baby that's cutting through about 40 teeth concurrently, making her clingy and SUPER cuddly. Dinner is usually cooked in the afternoon, with a 9kg baby strapped to my chest (once a velcro baby, always a velcro baby), and when everyone else is going to bed at night, I'm praying that I might only have to get up just once through the night... In all this, I have to find time to look after myself a little, and by that I mean, use the bathroom when I first need to, instead of waiting until a time when there are fewer chances of a major meltdown or accident, and a daytime shower is a luxury... forget washing my hair and shaving my legs! Yes, I might get to pack the kids up and go out for a coffee during the day, but it's seriously not as much fun as it sounds... I'm lucky to have found an awesome group of mothers that are usually happy to sacrifice their house once a week so we can all plonk the babies on the floor and enjoy some adult conversation (even if it is all about babies), but this also doesn't mean that the kids don't stop needing mummy!
I absolutely LOVE the fact that I can be at home, there are no complaints (even if I do joke about it), I wouldn't change it for the world. Being a stay at home mum is a tough gig, it's not all about sitting around enjoying coffee and cake everyday, twiddling our thumbs while the kids entertain themselves quietly on the floor (cause that happens once in blue moon). For me it's about a choice we've made as a family unit, so that we can all have the chance to ENJOY our family unit. So, you may see me rock up with two clean, neat (haha) looking children, I may have even brushed my hair... but what you don't see, are the 25,000 other things that happen before you saw me, or the fact that my shower may or may not have been the packet variety (baby wipes) that day. Just like, I don't look at a working mum and think "Wow, it must be nice to sit in an air-conditioned office and give the kids to someone else", because I can only imagine all of the things you have to try and manage AROUND your full time job! We're all busy, we're all tired, and we all love our little darlings just as much as the next mummy.
At the end of the day, we're all the same... but different.
Behind the blog...
‘The Mummysomniac’ is a lifestyle, motherhood and most recently, pregnancy blog, founded in 2015 by Kirsty McKenzie. She’s a mum of three, blogging about the highs and lows of motherhood, with a straight forward and honest approach, as well as a little bit of humour. Kirsty is passionate about sharing the realities of #MumLife, not the cookie cutter, high gloss version