First and foremost…happy 9 month birthday Aviva Zelda! Since the day you came into my life I have never been happier, more full of love or more proud. You are amazing and everyday I thank my lucky stars that you are my daughter and that I am so blessed to be your mommy. Also Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard working, deeply loving and exceptional moms out there! I wish you all a happy day filled with lots of snuggles, love and appreciation from the family you take such good care of!
So today it’s been 9 months! 9 months that I’ve had the pleasure of caring for precious baby girl. I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about what I do all day, how I do it and what it really takes to do this stay at home mommy thing. As per usual, I will share my own experience in this blog in the hopes that perhaps it will be helpful to some of you and/or make you feel like you’re not alone. It’s also my goal to put on display a little bit of the raw deal of what goes on to keep this baby taken care of and my family life/home happy and well cared for everyday.
Before I start I just want to say something I feel is REALLY important and that is this:
I believe every mother should do whatever is best for them: work full time, work part time, stay at home with the kids or any version of any of that. The reason being (and I stand by this)…happy mom=happy child. They sense our energy and they are tied to us whether we are with them all day or not so we best be the best version of ourselves FOR THEM- whatever that means. I believe it means something different for each mother.
For me- this means choosing to be a stay at home mother. I have always known I wanted to (if I could) raise my children myself while they’re little. Lucky for me I married a man who also wanted what I want and so we decided together to make certain sacrifices and certain choices to make this happen.
The three main ingredients to my stay at home mom success are:
1. Unconditional love
I wake up every morning and immediately start to organize in my head what I need to do first to set up the day so it’ll be successful for Aviva and me. A lot of this I often handle before I go to sleep and that helps: make a batch of formula so it’s ready to grab as needed, have baby food made and labeled in the fridge for the next 3 days (if it’s running low- make more food so there’s never a shortage. Baby food prep takes some time and it’s not the kind of thing you can just do quickly as needed- too much pealing, chopping, steaming and pureeing going on). I usually make her food first thing in the morning while she’s asleep or after she’s in bed at night. This may sound weird but I often make us dinner in the morning. Yep! If she’s still asleep, I do not waste one moment. I am running around this house like a bat outa hell trying to get as much done as humanly possible prior to her waking up (usually between 7-8:30am depending on how our night went). So I start making us dinner and I get that dinner ready so all we have to do at night is re-heat it. I start the laundry, empty the dishwasher, put the dirty dishes in the now empty dishwasher, check email, try to make a phone call I’ve been trying to make for 3 days, grab some coffee, make her a bottle and then…”waaaaaaaaa!” She’s up and it’s time to rock!
After she’s up it’s pretty much: feeding her, reading to her, playing with her, diaper changes, helping her with her developmental skills, feeding her, putting her down for a nap or going for a walk so she’ll nap or a drive so she’ll nap, feeding her, reading to her, diaper changes, playing with her, going for a walk, playing, bathing her, feeding her, putting her to bed. In the midst of this we go to appointments, go grocery shopping, clean the house, do laundry, make food, meet people, etc. Every day is a very full day. After she’s asleep she may stay asleep (love it when that happens) or she may wake up at night and then I’m back on for feeding her, rocking her, putting her back to sleep, etc.
Caring for Aviva is my ultimate joy. Even on days where she’s insanely fussy, needs to be held constantly, is having separation anxiety if I walk away from her for a minute and screamingly cries if she can’t see me, has had her shots and is feeling lousy, is teething badly and totally unhappy. It’s all good. I LOVE IT. I LOVE IT ALL. I LOVE HER- ALL OF THESE DAYS. That said- the aforementioned days-those are tough ones. Those are the days I’m unable to shower until after my husband gets home or after she’s gone to bed. Those are the days it’s almost 1pm and I haven’t eaten, had coffee, peed or done anything that resembles taking care of myself. That’s okay because I chose this and I would choose it again. She needs me and I want to be there for her.
This is my job. I take it VERY seriously. I’m in charge of shaping this little person into the person she will become. I am in charge of helping her learn how to eat, speak, roll, crawl, walk, to dance. I am in charge of trying to make her smile and laugh, to teach her to have calmness and also confidence. I’m in charge of her feeling safe and LOVED.
I find it so funny when sometimes people say things like “so what do you do all day?” or we were at a friend’s home and the husband commented on my being a stay at home mom and said…
“So when you get bored of hanging out drinking chardonnay all day, do you think you’ll go back to work?”
Really? Haha! I almost fell off my chair. Don’t get me wrong- a day of sipping wine (I prefer pinot noir thanks) and hanging out sounds freaking ah-mazing to me but that’s about as far from what I do all day as the eye can see.
This whole concept of being a “working mom” vs. a “stay at home mom” is kind of ridiculous to me. Essentially either way you’re a working mom. I work hard all day (and often all night) to care for Aviva. Is what I do not work? I’m a cook, housekeeper, full time baby-sitter, house manager, speech coach, therapist, physical trainer, to name a few. Let me tell you, I have had several awesome jobs and even ran my own successful business. I have done a lot of things but nothing I have ever done has challenged me on as many levels as this job. My job doesn’t have a start/stop time. It’s 24-7. I am on call for my daughter. My husband who is an eye plastic surgeon often says that my job is harder than his. I always laugh at this. He reminds me that my job requires even more focus, patience and especially love than he has to bring to work everyday. I think it’s something to think about: why do we not talk about the stay at home mom life as being a job? Sometimes I feel like society is a bit judgmental about those of us who CHOOSE this.
The way I see it is I’m the most qualified for this job. I have a bottomless pit of love for my child, I have patience as deep as the sea and I’m hella organized. Also, as a bonus- I LOVE to cook and take joy and pride in feeding my family healthy food that I prepare for us. I mean, I’d hire me to be Aviva’s 24/7 person! Heck yes.
So on that note. Here are some highlights from the hardest most emotionally challenging job I’ve ever had that is also the most rewarding, meaningful and joyful experience of my entire life…
This is me at 10pm sooooo excited to have finally showered, only to put pj’s back on. As it turned out this night was a rough one so any sleep I got was necessary. See how pumped I am to be showered?! Tada!
Here’s too all the mamas who are working hard inside or outside of the home or BOTH! Happy Mother’s Day!
With Love- Happy Mom of one 9 month old Aviva Zelda !!!!!